Peperina Cafe and Bistro is on leafy Dunville Avenue, in the salubrious heart of south city Dublin, between Ranelagh and Rathmines. It is just down from Morton’s supermarket, the food emporium of choice for the yummies of D6, while further along is the excellent Little Italy, where the delicious and authentic Italian foods have added a touch of La Dolce Vita to many an evening.
The restaurant is painted in a lime green, and is pretty and inviting from the outside, while inside it is casual and comfy, with bright colours, an eclectic mix of tables and chairs, with some bright cushions sprinkled about. To the rear there is a lovely terrace area, where I have enjoyed breakfast in the summer sun, and overall it is very pleasant and friendly, under the watchful eye of charming Argentinean owner Diego.
Peperina open for breakfast, and serve a range of freshly cooked food and goodies throughout the day. It is child friendly and relaxed; a real neighbourhood spot with daily regulars in for their fix of coffee and perhaps a cake. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday they open for dinner, and while this is a newish departure, it is proving very popular.
There are a choice of menus; the early bird offers two courses for €19.50 or three for €23, and there is of course an A la Carte. It's quite short, offering six and six of an array of dishes to provide choice and a little intrigue. Personally I prefer shorter menus; it shows some confidence in the kitchen, and there is a better chance of the food being really good. My theory is that menu’s offering everything, and trying to be all things to all people, usually fail.
We both love our starters; I have panko coated calamari rings and just back from a weekend in Sitges, they are better than I had in Barcelona's bar Nuria, which is no faint praise. Gerard's Thai style beef salad with lime and chilli has the added crunch of roasted peanuts, and is fresh and lively, with just the right amount of chilli kick; it was a perfect summer dish.
Main courses continued the high standard, I chose chicken skewers, bbq'd with a hickory sweet sauce and served with Peperina coleslaw and triple cooked chips, with a dinky little pot of home made cannelloni baked beans. Gerard took the maritime route, and enjoyed some fresh Irish Sea bass with a slightly spicy shellfish and tomato ragout - almost a ratatouille with mussels - which was accompanied by lemon and herb crispy potatoes, or posh chips if you prefer.
We shared a dessert of lemon Posset with raspberry sorbet. Posset is one of those summer delights, and the raspberry sorbet was suitably fruity with a depth of flavour and texture so often missing.
Peperina is a cool little spot serving good food in very pleasing surroundings. There's really nothing not to like about this neighbourhood bistro; decor, menu price and very friendly service are all spot on. This one is a keeper.