L P Hartley’s famous line seems an appropriate way in which to describe The Red Pepper. Time does funny things to one’s memory and, of course, we all grow up, but put simply, a recent visit to this restaurant showed demonstrably that in the past, “they do [did] things differently.” A 24-year history undoubtedly puts The Red Pepper into the category of successful neighbourhood locals, but over the 20 years I have been visiting the venue (albeit with less regularity in recent times), it is definitely fair to say that quality has ebbed and flowed. We left feeling underwhelmed and distinctly disappointed by the utterly indifferent/ bordering on rude attitude of our server. Since our previous visit, the venue has had a lick of paint and some of the tables have been removed. However, what The Red Pepper gains in terms of more space, it has probably lost in terms of atmosphere. There was a lack of buzz and surprisingly a number of empty tables on the Saturday when we visited. Historically, one would always struggle to find a seat, particularly at weekends. Onto the food and diners get to choose from around a dozen pizzas and a handful of meat/fish options. I chose a Stagioni pizza (four seasons) and my comrade the Parmagiana (with aubergine and herbs). Both did the job, but little more than that. Mine had a reasonably generous selection of toppings but my comrade noted that hers was somewhat greasy. Our enjoyment was not enhanced by the fact that the pizzas were almost plonked in front of us with the barest of eye contact from our server. Furthermore, our original choice of wine was unavailable and the alternative suggested was in no way similar. The meal was at least somewhat redeemed by the tiramisu dessert. In my experience and opinion, the Red Pepper serves one of the best renderings of this dish in London, beautifully presented in a brandy-snap basket, full of cream, luxury and indulgence. It was though delivered to us with similarly graceless cheer. There was no need to linger at the meal’s end, quite a strong temptation to deduct the ‘optional’ service from the bill (laziness prevented me from so doing) and a distinct feeling that we would not be returning any specific time soon.