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Introducing… Pepo


The folks behind wildly successful restaurant Horticulture have opened a brand new drinking and dining den this month which takes a unique scientific approach to dining and drinking! Styled as a neighbourhood lounge, Pepo is situated next door to its sister venue and carries a distinct hidden speak-easy kind of vibe. Their ‘Pornstar and Platters’ tagline promises unique cocktails, delicious shareable food and an unrivalled atmosphere. We spoke to owner Mike Hesketh to find out more!


Pepo’ is an interesting name, what does it mean?

It was inspired by my nephew when we were on holiday, he kept saying “pepo” when he was playing hide and seek! But when I looked more into it, a ‘pepo’ is a multi-seeded soft fruit with a hard outer rind, part of the passion fruit family, so we set upon the task of cultivating the menu around fruits overall.




Tell us more about the location

We discovered that Don Vitos, which was an Italian restaurant next door to Horticulture, had a hidden doorway from our restaurant in Horticulture through to Don Vitos that had been bricked up in the past, so we revealed that section of the wall and set upon creating more space by taking certain walls out and opening up the space. We’ve turned the existing kitchen into a bar and kitchen area, and renovated the whole space to bring back some of the history of the structure.

What’s the décor like?

You can expect reconditioned fireplaces, exposed brickwork and heritage herringbone floor, which marries quite well with the Horticulture flooring. We’ve done it in a tasteful manner which has kept the history and heritage of the 150-year-old building in place.

What’s the overall vibe?

Opulent but relaxed. We’re trying to do things similar to Horticulture; it’s opulent with soft furnishings, but more relaxed in terms of industrial features, modern art, exposed brickwork and steel beams. Overall it’s very late lounge, New York hotel or loft apartment kind of vibe.



What makes the drinks menu special?

We’ve taken a scientific, fruit-based approach to our cocktails. We’ll have an independent Pornstar Martini menu, which includes seven variations of the Pornstar Martini using detailed scientific methods to stimulate the mind as well as the taste buds! For example, we’ve got one called the Naked Pornstar which is a clarified Martini and is perfectly clear, as we use a scientific method to take all the colour out of the fruit, but it tastes exactly like a Pornstar Martini. We’ve also got seven different pepo fruits, which include the likes of dragon fruit, melon and pomegranate, plus other seven other types of fruit categories like berries. We’ve got an exciting, experienced and enthusiastic team behind the cocktails especially, and they’re set to be mind-blowing!

And what about the food menu?

We’ll be harnessing the same values of the food from next door in Horticulture, so we’ll be using locally sourced fresh ingredients, utilising unique methods to make sure the food is phenomenal. We’ve designed some of the tables to include an up-stand in the middle, meaning they’re ideal for sharing platters, and everything is locally sourced and fresh, and a vast amount of food to share between two people!

At Horticulture we categorise the menu between Earth, Land and Sea so you have a good balance of meat, fish and earth-based produce, whereas at Pepo we’ve got four platter boards which are themed around the Americas, the Middle East, the Orient, and a vegan option, so there’s something for everyone. The Middle Eastern platter features dishes like imam bayildi, slow-cooked lamb and salads, while the Americas one features an Argentinian chimichurri steak, jerk prawn skewers, southern fried chicken plus fresh salads, onion rings, guac and fermented salsa dip with tortilla chips.

What we wanted to carry across from Horticulture is that sharing and relaxed dining experience, which enables people to have bits of everything over the course of their dining experience.



Do you need to book a table?

We’re encouraging booking tables, and you can also book seats at the bar. We’ve got a large, deep bar where people can sit on high comfy seats and speak to our experienced mixologists and bar tenders and see what they’re doing. We’ve trained everybody to carve ice, and if you‘re at the bar you can see the level of detail we’re going to.

Where can people find out more?

Online at www.peponewcastle.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/peponewcastle and Instagram at www.instagram.com/peponewcastle


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