Tuesday, 4 November 2014


Game On!

I’m sure you are all familiar with that well known quote ‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness spooned upon them.’ No? Well, you should be, it's a fabulous quote and pretty well reflective of my joyful jaunt to dine at Rabbit in Chelsea.

Like a beacon, the light which oozed from the windows beckoned us towards the door and put an immediate halt to our hunt for Italian. Pasta postponed, we tumbled into our new hideout for the evening where, as luck would have it, a table had just become available. Fate for sure, as the restaurant was bursting at its seams!

Rabbit, as the name might suggest, specialises in good ol’ British meat and game and is a homage of sorts to Beatrix Potter who one can imagine settling in rather well with the oaky, countrified interior. The atmosphere is of the warm, all-encompassing friendly kind and you half expect a tweed clad farmer to come trudging in from the fields!

The menu is bursting with foods of the countryside. Rabbit is the brainchild of the Gladwin Brothers; Gregory the farmer, Oliver the chef and Richard the hospitality guru, the perfect triumvirate. I love the collaborative family aspect and the weird and wonderful ingredients that have been freshly foraged and sourced from the brothers' farm in Nutbourne.

It didn't take long for us to get stuck into the menu which was priced at between £8 and £14 per small sharing plate. They recommend two to three per person, which for once is actually pretty accurate and will leave you satisfied with just enough space for dessert if you so wish!

Our rustic ceramic plates lay in wait for the food to arrive, handmade and in keeping with the countryside farm feel of the place.

First to arrive was a chorizo and labneh dish, topped with crispy kale and crisp bread. As we were dipping and scooping, along came number two, a lamb and onion squash number sprinkled with sunflower seeds. This was my winner of the evening, with the lamb cooked to that perfect tender pink, subtly seasoned and not too 'lamby' (to use the very technical term).

I've always been a promoter of the 'surprise me' option on a menu and while I was fully aware of everything we had ordered, the excitement of not knowing what would come next kept us entertained since each dish was brought to the table separately.

Our next delight came in the form of venison stogey's, not (as we were sad to discover) pronounced 'stodgies'. While the root of our decision to order this particular dish stemmed from a childish entertainment at our erroneous name, we were not disappointed when they were placed infront of us. Wrapped in filo pastry, they stood to attention upon a creamy tarragon sauce and when bitten into were crunchy and meaty all at once.

The partial namesake, aka the rabbit ravioli was accompanied by lovage pesto, resulting in the standard debate of 'name something savory that doesn't go with pesto' - as usual, pesto won. The ravioli itself was rich without being too intense and the handmade pasta was melt in the mouth creamy, with wafer thin chanterelles and an extra punch from the bone marrow.

Hard at work, we looked over to see Oliver the chef plating up the dishes before they were whisked away to the tables around us.

Last to arrive was the Beef, rainbow beetroot and spinach. The explosively colourful presentation and the portions of just the right amount were particularly appealing and I was glad I'd be able to leave the restaurant feeling comfortably satisfied instead of 'heave-myself-off-the-chair' ill. (Not that I ever wanted to leave the restaurant, here's another kitchen I would be more than happy to hide in)! 

So, if you're looking for a relaxed taste of the countryside with a stylish twist then you're bound to find it here, and even if that isn't your usual style, 'hop' on over to Rabbit anyway and give it a go. The staff know the menu inside out and will passionately guide you through any elements that you haven't come across before. After such an enjoyable experience, it's time for me to 'bound' over to the Gladwin brothers' other outpost; The Shed in Notting hill and see if it matches up!

Rabbit on Urbanspoon

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