peppes at the cardinal review

Review: Peppe’s At The Cardinal

Review: Peppe’s At The Cardinal

These gorgeous pods have popped up at this popular North Kingston spot

Giuseppe Prestigiacomo – or Peppe as he is known to most – has transformed what was The Cardinal pub into a haven for Sicilian food. Well-known among locals and expats from further afield, there’s fresh fish specials from Peppe’s homeland, authentic pasta dishes, and legendary crispy pizzas.

There’s a cosy interior and, over the years, Peppe has also updated the outdoor space, making a welcoming spot for families and friends to gather. During the pandemic, Peppe has kept evolving his restaurant to find ingenious ways to help keep community spirits up with the likes of food markets – as well as providing free pizzas for the staff at Kingston Hospital – and making the garden area into a heated spot for al fresco dining when the lockdown rules said we could finally dine with friends again – but only outside!

This winter, Peppe has gone one further to cheer up the colder months for locals and has had three festive pods installed. They’re gorgeous – and they can’t fail to bring a smile to even the most Grinch-like faces.

We settled in for a family dinner in the delightful pod, with Italian music coming through the speaker (although you can connect your phone and play your own tunes) and a portable heater keeping things toasty. These pods are study structures made up of plastic hexagons rather than the flimsy plastic numbers landing elsewhere and they don’t become filled with condensation. The staff do have to zip themselves in and out each time they enter and leave the pod but we were happy enough to help when we realised the predicament!

A good Negroni cocktail kicked things off nicely while we selected from an extensive menu. Main dishes include Sicilian sausage stew with pork belly, and specials such as tagliatelle with white truffle cream and fresh black truffle.

But we couldn’t resist our favourites – the pizzas here are a huge hit in our household, and much requested by my two boys for a birthday treat – we’ve fed a horde of their hungry friends with these incredible feasts with parents diving in too, always asking where we have got our pizzas from.

We also chose some calamari to nibble on – generous dishes of wispy batter and tender squid. I chose a tagliatelle with sword fish and aubergine – a dish I have loved on holidays in Sicily. It was excellent with a rich tomato sauce, and perfectly cooked aubergine. The pizzas were awesome, as usual, with the classic Margherita crispy and light and the Capricciosa generously topped with artichoke, salami and ham.

Service is charming and efficient, there are festive decorations aplenty, and the pod is great fun. In a bleak mid-winter, this is just the place to bring some cheer.


Domes seat between 2 to 8. £45 hire charge for 2 hrs and 15 mins via Dine at Dome. Book in advance.

Peppes at The Cardinal. The outdoor market runs Fridays to Sundays, 11am to 6pm. 174 Tudor Drive, Kingston


Read our interview with Marcus Wareing