Red Pepper, from the outside, is somewhere you could easily miss. A terraced townhouse down hidden Regent Street, its white exterior blends in with those other buildings around it. However, with one glance inside, you will be completely captivated with this little world of smells, noises, flavours and colours that you will never want to leave...
The delicatessen drew me in with its several oak barrels full of various types of olives and the magical chocolate counter filled with truffles and the sorts. On this floor you will also find for sale specialist foods such as gluten-free biscuits and crackers and diabetic sweets, as well as treats such as ice creams, hand-made meringues and smoked meats. On the lower ground floor is the coffee lounge which I could only peek at through the window but appeared to follow the theme of cool, classic and relaxing.
Upstairs is the bistro, split into two dining areas, which is where we were seated to enjoy our meal. It’s cosy, homely, yet still classy and modern; the perfect setting for your intimate dinner with a partner or a girly birthday meal out... In the prime location just a few doors down from the Everyman Theatre, they cater for theatre goers, even offering them their own special menu to choose from for a pre-show dinner.
Although sadly not going to the theatre, my company and I opted for the special pre-theatre menu offer of two courses for £10.95 purely for its good value. I chose the pan fried loin cutlet of pork, which came with savoyard potatoes cooked in stock with bacon and cheese, and a thyme jus. Although when it was brought out by our waiter the portion looked meek upon the oversized plate, it turned out to be more than enough as the pork and potatoes were very filling. The thyme jus went perfectly with the tender pork, and is something I am keen to cook at home!
Last but not least, the highlight of the evening and a strong contender for my personal ‘Best Desert... Ever’ award was the arrival of the lemon panna cotta, served with fruit coulis and white chocolate marbled ribbon which was nothing short of a masterpiece. Not only was its presentation upon the frosted glass serving place impeccable, it tasted beautiful and better than anything I had ever tasted before! We also shared the sticky toffee roulade which was equally delicious but simply couldn’t compete with the panna cotta – in fact, at that moment in time I was sure nothing could ever provide me with the happiness that panna cotta had given me!!
Red Pepper has it all; delicious food, calm atmosphere, excellent service, and don’t get me started on the deserts...! I would highly recommend a visit to this fantastic little establishment which will remind you exactly what gems Cheltenham has to offer.