My party was celebrating a birthday and the birthday girl was looking for authentic Italian dining options. Since it was Singapore Restaurant Week (which by the way could do with more publicity), we chose a STAR-rated participating restaurant and arrived at PepeNero (which means black pepper in Italian and also happens to be my favourite spice)!
We were lucky to secure a table because it was Singapore Restaurant Week but making reservations a few days proved to be a breeze because of the top-class customer service.
We arrived slightly early for our reservation on the day of the celebration but the hostess was very pleasant and welcoming; she seated us immediately with the brightest smile and joked around with us as well in a professional manner when we informed her that we were there to celebrate a birthday. The alfresco seating was perfect for our group; I also observed that the interior ambience would be perfect for a date.
As we settled in preparing to order, we were surprised by a special appearance of the Head Chef to greet our party. He was very warm and reminded us of a jovial and loving Italian uncle (if we had one). Chef Donato introduced us to his specially created menu for the Singapore Restaurant Week which included mains options of Linguine with Lobster Sauteed with Brandy in Light San Marzano Tomato Sauce and Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Reduction Roasted Potatoes and Artichokes alla Giudiaca. He even chatted with us to find out what were our favourite Italian food and I boldly exclaimed Squid Ink Pasta, to which he chuckled and told us that he would prepare something extra for the birthday girl.
The 3-course meal was delicious and really justified our selection of this restaurant because it is difficult to find such authentic Italian food today - you can find a place with an Italian name, Italian-speaking staff (they try) but you cannot beat the titillating spread presented to us by Italian Chef Donato. He also shared with us that only original and the best Italian produce were used for his cooking and preparation, hence the authencity of our exquisite meal. The surprise he prepared for our meal was the serving of a Homemade Tonnarelli Pasta with Squid and Calamari in Black Squid Ink Sauce for us to try. It was delicious! We were not only left with stained lips and tongues but also with a promise to ourselves to visit PepeNero again for their other pasta offerings.
The night was soon to end but not before we were fed with nectarous desserts. You know a dessert place is good when you think of your girlfriend with your first bite of the dessert...that was exactly what went through my mind! All the portions were perfect and at the end of the 3 courses we were sufficiently filled and very satisfied. But as the title of this review suggests, we were rewarded for choosing PepeNero as the dining spot to celebrate a birthday because all the kind and attentive staff presented the birthday girl with a birthday cake (just a slice of course) decorated with chocolate-written "Happy Birthday" and candles and sang a birthday song for her! Even though the restaurant donned a very semi-fine dining design and layout, this little surprise toast from the staff did not seem out of place at all and only served to cement our positive impressions of the restaurant.
A dining experience consists of many things, but PepeNero made loyal customers out of me and my party with its authentic Italian servings and superstar service.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.