Dinner at Rabbit

Rabbit Card

Rabbit is the second London restaurant run by the three Gladwin brothers (they also own The Shed in Notting Hill). The menus in both establishments change daily according to the seasons, and according to what the youngest of the brothers grows on the family farm in Sussex. I love The Shed – it’s great for vegetarians – so had been keen to visit Rabbit ever since it opened a few months ago.

Rabbit Menu

As you can see, the menu is divided into mouthfuls, and larger plates that are either slow or fast cooked. There’s a great deal of choice; surely catering for everyone.

I couldn’t resist trying the Daily Loosener cocktail, which was amusingly served in a glass shaped like a boot!

Daily Loosener

Not too sweet, despite the honey, it was perfect for dinner on a cold, wet evening, with the apple and ginger coming through nicely.

The four of us had a lot of catching up to do, so it took us a while to fully appreciate the menu. Instead, while we were talking, we ordered a selection of each of the mouthfuls:

Vegetarian Mouthfuls

The beetroot crisps were wonderful, the contrast between the crunch of the beetroot and the creamy, whipped goats cheese was perfect. I think we could all have eaten a lot more of those! I also really enjoyed the other vegetarian option, the mushroom and marmite éclair, though I do love marmite. The gherkin on the top was a great touch.

Meat Mouthfuls

Naturally I didn’t sample the non-vegetarian mouthfuls (crab bombs and a woodcock pâté), but my three dinner companions were all agreed that the pâté was rather wonderful.

The menu states that the larger plates are designed for sharing and that 2-3 per person is about right, and this was reinforced by our waitress. I can’t remember quite how many we ordered, but we went for pretty much every vegetarian option on the menu, with a couple of meat ones and one fish for the omnivores.

First up was the beetroot hummus, served with heritage carrots and yarrow:

Beetroot Hummus

The hummus was thick and chunky, and went very nicely spread on the crackers, or with the very crunchy carrots.

Brussels Sprouts

I love brussels sprouts, and was really looking forward to this bowl, most of which I’m sure I ate myself! The sprouts were served shredded as part of a salad with apple, cheddar and hazelnuts, and it was really good. Wintery, seasonal, crunchy with the hazelnuts, sweet with apple and salty from the cheddar. Yum.

While I was polishing off the brussels sprouts, the others were raving about the rainbow trout tartare, the colours of which looked stunning agains the white plate:

Rainbow Trout Tartare

I then moved onto the grilled leeks, which were served with a yoghurt dressing:

Grilled Leeks

I think this was the only dish I was slightly disappointed with, but only if I’m searching really hard. The dressing and yoghurt were delicious, and the nuts a nice addition, I just felt the leeks themselves weren’t quite as well cooked as everything else we tried that evening, and I love leeks.

Meanwhile the others enjoyed a real variety of meat dishes, including venison stogies:

Venison Stogies

Then came rabbit (of course):

Rabbit

And tempura spatchcock quail:

Tempura spatchcock quail

Duck liver with bacon and sultanas:

Duck Liver

And lamb with reindeer moss:

Lamb

I think the last dish to arrive was our final vegetarian choice, a mushroom ragù, thich and rich with truffle, served on a bed of celeriac and crispy sage leaves, which were the perfect addition:

Mushroom ragu

Look at the brilliant green of the sage oil. Amazing!

Despite ordering nearly everything on the menu, of course we still had room for pudding. The waitress recommended the Viennetta, which is also on the menu at The Shed, and so we ordered two plates of that and one of the maple syrup pudding to share between the four of us.

The maple syrup pudding was in fact three small sponges served with plums, a buttermilk ice cream and some kind of crumb:

Maple Syrup Pudding

The pudding was fine, in that it was eaten, but really the sponge was a little dry. The ice cream was good though, and whatever made up the crumb provided a nice crunch against the smooth creaminess of the buttermilk.

The Viennetta, however, was definitely one of the highlights of the meal (the photo really doesn’t do it justice):

Viennetta

It had all the necessary elements, plus a really thick, delicious caramel running through it. I think we all wish we’d ordered one each it was that good!

There are many things I love about Rabbit (and The Shed): the atmosphere is very relaxed, with wooden tables and chairs, and staff dressed in jeans and checked shirts; the plates are for sharing, but they aren’t too small, meaning it was possible for all of us to share each one; there’s a wide variety of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes; they really showcase the best of local, British produce. If I have one cautionary comment, it’s that the majority of the vegetarian dishes contain nuts, which was alright for me as I love nuts, but I know many people who are allergic. Given that we tried nearly everything, and were only disappointed with one dessert (and I think I was on my own in not being as enthusiastic about the leeks as the others), Rabbit definitely lived up to my high expectations and I’m looking forward to returning in the Spring, when I’m sure there will be an entirely different menu.

(If you want to try and recreate some of the Gladwin brothers’ recipes at home, they have also written a cookery book, which you can buy here.)

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Categories: Food & Drink

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