This better not be mid-strength!
I've never done a restaurant review before. Partly because I don't really know enough about food to make an informed comment (although I do know what I like) but mainly because people who review restaurant are usually arseholes.
I eat out regularly, perhaps once a week, almost always within walking distance of my house (there are a plethora of places in my immediate vicinity - Windsor, Prahran, St Kilda) and almost always with the Missus and the Kid.
On Friday night perhaps we made the mistake of venturing too far from our immediate locale to a mid-priced Italian bistro. In short, we crossed Commercial Rd into the fashion (shithouse) end of Chapel St. The South Yarra end. The yuppy end. The tourist end. (My Windsor bias is showing).
I should've been warned off by the phone call I made to enquire about opening hours.
Me: Hi. What time are you open tonight?
Guy on Phone: Mate, we're open until 10.
Me: Yeah, but what time do you open?
Guy: Whaddya mean?
Me: I'm not sure how to phrase it any other way.
Me: Will you be open at 6?
Guy: Of course!
As if I was supposed to know.
Me: Should I book?
Bad signs. But we went anyway.
We were the first to arrive - fair enough, it was only about 6.15. For some strange reason, they were playing techno house beats, loud. Sure it was Friday night in Chapel Street, but it was just past 6 and we were a family of three, clearly not about to head out to a club, drop Es and throw back shots of Sambuca. I would have preferred old style Italian music, even a live piano accordion player. Perhaps a hurdy gurdy and a monkey
I immediately ordered a Peroni, then took the kid to the toilet up greasy old rickety stairs which threatened to give way. Upon returning to the table something unacceptable had occurred. The waitress had brought me some sort of light or mid-strength beer which was also low-carb. It was labelled Peroni, sure, but was not real beer. It was some sort of Italian Pure Blonde (the very worst beer ever made). An abomination. I didn't complain. I never complain before the end of the meal for fear of the spit. The Missus, incidentally, had received the same thing.
Then I ordered penne and spicy meatballs. Instead of penne I received spaghetti. No big deal and the meal was pretty good and certainly spicy. The Missus ordered a medium rare porterhouse steak and received a well done porterhouse steak. Not a trace of pink to be seen. So much for chefs being precious about steak.
The Kid, fortunately, received his cappricciosa pizza and apple juice without incident.
So, in summary, of the 6 things ordered, 4 were wrong. The blame would lie partly with the waitress, partly with the chef and partly with the manager (for even stocking mid-strength, low carb beer in the first place).
Luckily the food tasted good and the staff very friendly. The place is called The Old Pepper. And I give it 5/10.