Popping into town for a Christmas shopping trip at the weekend, I noticed a new restaurant had quietly opened up in Moor Lane which looked inviting enough to try out later that day.
Based in the former premises of Quite Simply Food, Red Peppercorn offers an exotic twist of tastes and flavours, blending dishes from across the world.
Its simple decor is easy on the eye and comfortable. We arrived for an 8pm booking and the restaurant was about half full – and I was pleased to see tables were not crammed into the relatively small space.
The main menu included starters such as puffed rice saladand goats cheese and date salad, while main courses included vegetarian risotto, pan fried fillet of salmon, dry-spiced Moroccan marinated chicken with cous cous, chicken seaweed with Chinese style fried rice, lamb and ground beef Chilli con Carne.
After deliberating for a good few minutes, I eventually chose the roasted red pepper soup served with sour cream, basil oil and freshly baked bread, at £4.95, as my starter.
For a main course, I looked to the Christmas menu, available until December 25, and opted for the chilli lime honey glazed salmon fillet with green beans , priced at £14.95. It came served with broccoli in sesame seeds and potatoes.
My friend chose the poached red wine pears with grilled stilton as a starter. This came with fresh rocket leaves and a walnut dressing.
As a main course, she went for the confit spiced pork belly with apple puree at £13.95, which was served with sticky glazed pig’s cheeks in a cinnamon infused sauce.
Other Christmas menu delights included turkey and both lamb and veg tagines.
Red Peppercorn also has a mezze menu which runs from noon until 7pm.
I don’t often choose a soup starter but on this occasion I was glad I did – it was delicious, with just the right blend of spicy flavours. It was accompanied by a gorgeous bread which was infused with cardamon.
My main course was equally tasty, a large piece of salmon and several finely sliced roasted new potatoes which I could only dream of making so well.
Complete with the veg it was a large plateful, making the price seem quite a bargain.
I was reliably informed – mainly by how quiet my friend was while eating – that the pork belly was equally tasty and equally sizeable.
I must admit, however, that I wasn’t overly struck by the choice of desserts.
I have fairly simple needs where puddings are concerned – something with chocolate and I’m happy.
However, in the name of research and in the absence of any chocolate I chose the marsala wine poached pears with vanilla parfait and biscotti at £6.95, while my friend selected the clementine trifle with pistachios.
While the pears were on the overly sweet side for me, the vanilla parfait was delicious. My companion’s trifle disappeared fairly swiftly so I canonly assume it went down well.
We washed our meal down with a bottle of Burlesque White Zinfandel rose wine, at £18.95.
Our bill came to just under £75 in total, possibly placing Red Peppercorn among the higher end of Lancaster’s restaurants price-wise.
However, it was certainly somewhere I would be keen to return to. Its peaceful ambience and pleasant surroundings made for a relaxing meal, and while it’s slightly on the edge of the city centre, it is in the ideal location to make the most of visitors to The Dukes.