Red Pepper is a place I walk by pretty much every day. Situated approximately 5 minutes walk from my flat in Maida Vale, it’s astonishing that I hadn’t eaten there until a couple of weeks ago when my dad was visiting from the States. Astonishing and tragic, because Red Pepper is excellent.
The restaurant is tiny, situated nearly opposite of the very popular Prince Alfred pub, home of the Formosa Dining Room. There are – max – 8 tables, all but one empty – and with 2 servers and a bar tender on duty (during an England World Cup match, no less), it felt a little overkill. The menu is fairly standard Italian, pasta and pizza. Nothing looked too inspiring, so I’ll admit I didn’t have the highest of hopes.
My dad and I ordered two pastas that came ridiculously fast, even for an empty restaurant.
Mine, Linguine Vongole:
His, Spaghetti Marinara with Goats Cheese:
Both pastas were excellent. The noodles were perfectly cooked, not too much sauce and absolute bucketloads of flavour.
The clams in my linguine were abundant – I had nearly enough for one clam every bite. That, in London, is amazing enough. The butter, sage, oil and pepper were perfectly balanced. Usually with pastas, I end up feeling overly stuffed, but this was perfect.
We have quite a few little Italian places in Maida Vale, including the very disappointing Le Cochonnet (which I can’t even be bothered to review), but this is now my favourite. I’ll definitely be back.