After a failed attempt to lunch at Spring St Grocer, we popped round the corner to the ever-reliable Red Pepper. It's been almost six years between posts and there've been some minor changes in that time. The restaurant has expanded into the space previously occupied by Jaipur Curry Bar, and with wooden floors and a few framed photos on the wall, it feels marginally less like a cafeteria than it used to. Prices have risen but are still very reasonable - for as little as $12 you can have a curry with naans and/or rice, stretch to $14 and you're set for a full vegetarian thali.
The menu doesn't include information on what's suitable for vegans or coeliacs, just a disclaimer that they can't guarantee allergen-free food in their kitchen, so you'd need to consult the staff at the counter to ascertain what's likely to work for you.
We both went for all-naan options from the vegetarian menu. Michael chose a chole rassedar ($12.90), chickpeas in a gingery gravy that he enjoyed immensely. My palak paneer ($13.90) had a thick layer of turmeric-yellow oil, so-so spinach and delightfully soft, fresh paneer. The naans are also excellent, huge stretchy tear drops glistening with ghee with the odd crunchy browned flake.
Portions are generous - I didn't come close to finishing my plateful and Michael was in no shape to assist. Maybe I should dabble across the chaat, stuffed naan and dessert options next time.
You can read about our first visit to Red Pepper here. Since then it's been praised by fellow veg blogger Nouveau Potato, won fans on rumblingteddy, Foodie Chatter, Sweet and Sour Fork and been enjoyed by bloggers on Curious Charlie, Where Adles Eats, Arrow Foodie, the sydney tarts..., EAT AND BE MERRY, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE(T), Foodscrazy and Adaptive Radiation.
14 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD
veg dishes $4-14