At 10 William St, Dan Pepperell was known for cooking some of the most inventive Italian food in the country. At Alberto Lounge, which opened in December 2018, he’s once again exploring the cuisine and delighting our tastebuds.
The menu includes dishes such as gnocchi cacio e pepe, trippa all Romana (Roman-style tripe), macadamia panna cotta and house-made gelato. But in typical Pepperell style, even the dishes that look and taste entirely traditional have a few quirks in preparation. His playful approach is more Australian-Italian than straight-laced Italian.
Likewise, Alberto itself is more flexible than a typical restaurant – which is probably to be expected given it’s owned by Anton and Stefan Forte, the brothers behind Hubert, Frankie’s, Baxter Inn and Shady Pines. If you just want to show up unannounced and drink a few whiskies or cocktails, go ahead. Alternately, if you want to settle in and make a night of it with Pepperell’s food (which you absolutely should), there’s a wine list stacked with wines from Tuscany and Sicily, and many others are available by the carafe.
Local artist Allie Webb – a frequent collaborator – created a mural on the rear laneway wall, which is visible through the large glass windows at the back of the venue. Elsewhere the aesthetics are the Fortes’ modernised interpretation of a “cool ’70s restaurant”.