Restaurant Review: Rabbit
Rabbit is a slice of idyllic British countryside in the upmarket surroundings of Chelsea. Opened by the Gladwin brothers (one chef, one farmer and one in hospitality), the restaurant is a follow-up to their successful Notting Hill eatery The Shed. The meat served at Rabbit – the main attraction – is reared on their farm in Nutbourne, resulting in fresh, local and seasonal dishes.
Found along the smart, decadent King’s Road, Rabbit contrasts with the area somewhat. Upon entry you are taken from the extravagant location into a rural, wood-embellished setting, typically seating couples.
Our meal began with “mouthfuls” – small, flavour-laden bites that provide a snapshot of the delights to come. They were delivered, of course, on characteristically bucolic serviceware. Alongside them we tried the Prospect Ale and Hiver Honey Beer; the Hiver’s overtones of mildly sweet honey further established the impression that Barbour jackets were to be donned in preparation for hunting pheasants.
The dishes, following the popular Spanish design of sharing plates, are created to be enjoyed by more than one. You can, of course, have them all to yourself, but then, “sharing is caring”, isn’t it? In our desire to explore Nutbourne’s produce, we had lamb chips, mushroom ravioli and duck liver. Each dish made use of clever, subtle flavours that enhanced the meat’s taste and texture rather than overpowering it. Pig’s cheek and the Nutbourne veal followed, and the veal, in its light, tender state, was stunning – the restaurant’s “gate to plate” policy is highlighted in each of the aesthetically beautiful dishes.
To cleanse our palettes we tried Rabbit’s “daily loosener”, which is a citrus-infused take on a Moscow mule, delivered in a quaint little glass boot. The cheese board is a lovely combination of soft and hard cheese complemented by sweet chutney, pear and hard biscuits. Ending the meal with overpowering sweetness seems to be the way to go in Rabbit – the Magnum Vienetta parfait, which includes layers of chocolate and salted caramel, may be one that needs a cup of tea alongside it. The treacle tart with blood orange and rhubarb yoghurt panna cotta with rose were perfectly textured dishes that brought the senses to life.
Rabbit is not only an ideal location for a date, but a brilliant illustration of what can be created when one’s provenance is their livelihood. The British countryside’s delights can be sampled and admired in the heart of Chelsea.