pekopeko on Wells Street in South Melbourne is nestled in amongst a never-ending construction zone of residential towers and an industrial area not far from Kings Way which makes it convenient to visit and park if you are arriving by motorcar. It is a Taiwanese-inspired cafe that ticks all of the boxes and does not have the perceived shortcomings that I wrote about yesterday in my diatribe about Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe.
What is not to like? The first thing that comes to mind in the current economic climate is value for money. Here it would be easy to feed a family of four for $60 and experience some variety along with healthy portions on offer. With 52 options available which range from the "Peko Box" where the main dish is served with rice and seasonal sides in a large oriental box, soup bowls, entrees on plates and light meals - along with some daily specials, it is hard not to find something that everyone will enjoy. We opted for the teriyaki fish ($15) plate, crispy honey beef ($13) box and wasabi mayo prawns ($9) which was perhaps the highlight of my meal.
Given that the cafe is off the beaten path, it was not bursting at the seams and it was easy to secure a clean table next to the window and enjoy the air conditioned climate and service. A limited booze menu is available and I enjoyed a 600ml bottle of Taiwan Gold beer ($13) which provided the necessary hydration for the hour and happily accompanied the sweet flavours of the teriyaki sauce that was covering the fish, which was delicate enough to pull apart with chopsticks.
Service was reasonably attentive in this "cheap and cheerful" establishment which saw the entire customer base turnover during the time that we were there. I languished a bit longer as I was enjoying not only the beer but the air conditioning and was impressed to learn that the full menu is available as a takeaway option which is seemingly popular as four large bags of takeaway was picked up during the hour that I spent in the cafe. There is one large table that would easily hold a group of 12 and the individual tables are placed a bit close to one another to maximise space however considering that you will not be dining here all day or night, it will not put you off.
I would happily return to pekopeko either by car or by foot as the food itself is worth it.
Link to review
190 Wells Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
(03) 9686 1109
no web site
My Rating: 13.25/20
Value For Money: 4/5
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
At the time of this post, 92% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like pekopeko.