What? Occupying a rather enviable space, half way down the Kings Road, Rabbit is the second restaurant from the Gladwin Brothers (Richard, Oliver and Gregory). Following on from The Shed in Notting Hill, Rabbit continues the guy’s foraged, seasonal approach to cooking. They’re bringing a taste of the countryside back to London, for all those who have swapped fields for finance and Barbours for brief cases, although you don’t see many of these in 2017, let’s bring them back I say.
New? Nope, the second restaurant from the Gladwin Brothers, Rabbit opened back at the tail end of 2014.
Where? 172 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4UP, www.rabbit-restaurant.com
On the Menu: Making the most of British, seasonal dishes, the menu starts with mouthfuls of crab beignets with squid ink emulsion before moving on to sharing plates (which are divided between slow and fast cooking) you’ll find: Baharat spiced cauliflower with mint yoghurt and pickled raisins; cod cheeks with braised salsify and langlois butter and red leg partridge with basil pesto, sloe jus, pickled girolles and dandelion.
The Look: Don’t be deceived by how small it looks from the outside, the initial narrow entrance and first few tables giveaway to a much larger room at the back. White washed walls are joined by exposed brick, corrugated iron, colour prints, retro adverts, rough wooden counters, wooden floor boards covered with slightly moth eaten rugs and shelves hold bottles of wine, jars of spices and the occasional stuffed pheasant.
What We Ate: Don’t think the menu is being modest with its section of mouthfuls, they are just that, glorified canapes but heck are they good. We started with the mushroom Marmite éclair, where the saltiness of the Marmite is met with a glorious, rich, silky smooth confit egg yolk. The ham hock bite with red onion jam on crispbread is a safe option, but one that is still good.
I think I have quite possibly found one of my favourite dishes in London, something so simple, yet executed perfectly. A thick disc of goat’s cheese, pan-fried and then topped with honey, thyme and whole almonds. It was one of those dishes that is bittersweet to eat, each mouthful is so good and yet you know that with each mouthful you are almost finished. Such are the tragedies in my life. Onion squash gnocchi was served with a pungent Tunworth cheese sauce, you’ll want to mop up every last drop. In the fast cooking, you’ll find an excellent dish of fallow deer with a parsnip puree, earthy red cabbage ketchup and pear and garlic chives, a wonderful mix of fruity and meaty flavours. A must to order are the venison cigars, made from chunks of venison wrapped in a crisp pastry with tarragon mayonnaise and pickled rapeseeds.
The Kings Rocky Road is rich, almost too rich – share it between two. It’s also not as you expect rocky road to be, no biscuit, raisin or marshmallow, just dense fudgy cubes of chocolate. If you don’t want something sweet, then there is a generous cheese board with a particularly good Brighton Blue cheese.
What We Drank: We started with a daily loosener served in a glass Wellington boot, made from Smoked Freya woodsmoke birch spirit and ginger beer. If you prefer something more floral and delicate then you have the Twinkle, try ordering that without feeling just a tad ridiculous. Of course, the Twinkle was created by bar man Tony Conigliaro and is a mix of Champagne topped with Elderflower liqueur. We rounded off with a peaty whisky, aptly named the Peat Monster.
Go With: The Schoffel wearing, raspberry-trouser sporting brigade were out in full force. Clearly, it’s popular with the locals and those who have moved to London from the depths of the countryside. Go with someone who misses home or someone who needs to be educated about where food actually comes from.
Final Word: Heard about The Prince yet? It’s the foodie destination, West Brompton has been waiting for with: two bars, an enchanted garden and four restaurants, one of which is Rabbit. Make sure you order the roasties with cheddar and gravy – far better than any chips.
Rabbit: 172 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4UP