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The décor at Red Pepper is a throwback to the chintzy 80’s with faded red carpeting, bright orange tablecloths and tasselled Chinese lanterns hanging from low ceilings. While not suitable for a fancy night out, the low-key atmosphere is perfect for a casual dinner with friends – the more the merrier as all of the dishes at Red Pepper are meant to be shared.
While Red Pepper is nominally a Sichuan restaurant, the dishes are mild on spice, which means that unlike authentic Sichuan cuisine which usually involve five alarm levels of spice, the food here won’t have your mouth burning from ma la. If you grew up ordering Chinese food from your local Chinatown restaurant, a meal at Red Pepper will bring back nostalgic memories as the cuisine here is decidedly Westernised Chinese. Meals here start with your choice of table snacks, which include roasted peanuts, pickled cucumbers and Chinese-style kimchi. Red Pepper’s signature dish is the sizzling prawns with chilli sauce, which a waiter pours into a cast iron plate tableside for maximum sizzling effect. The prawns are jumbo-sized and the sauce is slightly sweet and only mildly spicy. A visual crowd-pleaser, the fried garoupa with sweet and sour sauce features a whole garoupa fish that is deboned, battered and deep-fried and served with the head and tail intact. While the sweet and sour sauce masks the delicate flavour of the garoupa, the fish is tender and fresh. Perfectly cooked dry-fried string beans with minced pork is full of umami flavour and makes a great side dish to any meal.
A limited selection of wines and whiskies is available, including the 2011 Oyster Bay Marlborough chardonnay, which goes well with seafood dishes and is affordably priced at HK$350 per bottle.
All of the servers at Red Pepper are proficient English speakers, making ordering a breeze for foreigners. While you won’t see any smiles from the waiters, the service is brisk and efficient, and the no-nonsense attitude goes perfectly with the ambience.
At around HK$250-300 per person, Red Pepper offers decent value for a tasty selection of Chinese cuisine but is best experienced in a group due to the generous family-style portions. $