Directly opposite Newmarket station, Pepper is a light-filled cafe that’s been servicing locals for more than 10 years. Don’t worry about the words “hygienic library” inscribed on the wall: they’re a historical nod to the cafe’s unusual past –a place where books were sprayed with formaldehyde to avoid the spread of Spanish Influenza.
There’s ample footpath seating and inside a long counter displays slabs of cake and focaccia. Rustic green walls and streamlined furniture give the space a carefree vibe.
The menu keeps things simple with staples such as bircher muesli and smashed avo, but more creative dishes, such as dukkah-spiced ricotta on sourdough with house-made beans and poached eggs, get a look in. Lunch includes everything from classic bagels and burgers to prawn linguini. There’s even a special menu for your vegan friend.
From Thursday to Saturday night the cafe transforms into a casual restaurant, with tea lights in the windows. A selection of wood-fired pizzas topped with the likes of mixed mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella and truffle oil make for a simple, satisfying feed. There is also a small range of pastas and salads. Boutique wines and beers such as Sierra Nevada and Mountain Goat are rotated regularly.