Tel: +44 (0)20 7093 1414
Address: 213 East India Dock Road, Poplar, London E14 0ED
Cuisine Type: Indian/modern European fusion
Canary Wharf (JUBILEE & DLR)
Pepper cheerfully stands out on the somewhat unattractive Docklands-area road on which it is located. The chilli-shaped neon sign adorning the outside is only a small indication of the things to come on the Indian restaurant’s interior.
Eye- and ear-catching, dramatic elements are immediately evident, beginning with the spirited Indian music. You will also undoubtedly notice, as we did, a large space filled with pseudo-marble tables and chairs, surrounded by lilac walls. Yet, little did we know, the best was yet to come. As it dimmed outside, the dining tables were suddenly lit up – from within. Perhaps a bit over the top, but the creative effort demonstrates Pepper’s desire to stand out and be more than just the local curry house.
Customer service seems a priority at this establishment and you sense it right away by the sincerely friendly welcome. Waiting staff greet patrons at the door with smiling faces and diners are warmly visited tableside by the chef, Aditya Krishan, who hails from the well-known Le Meridien and Grand Hyatt hotels in New Delhi.
White, red and rosé wines are mostly European, ranging from an affordable £9.95-£19.95 – the most expensive coming from California if you feel like splashing out. For wine by the glass, choose from a lovely house Chilean Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon. Bottled beers are also available.
Generous and tasty meat and vegetarian starters (£2.95-£5.95) include paneer pakora, deep-fried cottage cheese, punjabi samosa, served with deliciously spicy chickpeas on the side andtandoori jingha, king prawns marinated with ginger, garlic and cardamom seeds.
A large selection of expertly spiced regional main courses (£6.25-£7.95) is well presented in beautiful copper pots. Highly recommended is the macchi ka salan, tender and flaky white fish cooked in tomato, onion and capsicum, and meat lovers shouldn’t miss the lamb rogan josh, quite common in Indian restaurants, but very well done here.
If your dining plans involve a group and you want to sit back, relax and have your meal arranged for you, Pepper offers a banquet menu for a minimum of four people. Choose from two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £13.95.
After supper, you will likely be pleasingly full and satiated. Think of dessert (£1.50-£2.95) more as a decadent way to cool your palette, choosing mainly from ice cream options. If you can handle a bit more, go for the rasmalai, succulent dumplings flavoured with pistachio and saffron.
Pepper is relatively new to the up-and-coming Docklands area. As more residential properties and businesses undoubtedly come in, and given the quality, affordability, ability to accommodate all sizes of groups and its handy take-away menu, the locale should easily become a local favourite.