The name might not entice the uninitiated across the threshold, that’s true. One might suspect that it’s only salad on offer: well, that’s chow for rabbits, isn’t it? But on the other hand it could be a menu of dishes made out of bunnies with perhaps an associated gift shop selling rabbitty memorabilia such as rabbit-foot key rings and fur hats with actual rabbit ears. The reality is much less challenging.
Although the forerunner was a food truck, Bunny Chow is now a casual restaurant in vibrant Soho, London, and a casual meal from Durban in South Africa. That city has a large community of people of Indian origin. They were brought to South Africa to work on the numerous sugar cane plantations. The food is thought to be a convenient take-away dating from the days of apartheid in the 1940s. Indians and any other non-whites were excluded from restaurants but owners found a way of serving them via the back door.
Bunny Chow offers Londoners the chance to enjoy this unique food presentation. In fact it’s the presentation that is intriguing, whimsical and different. The Bunnies are either large buns or small loaves depending on your perspective. These breads come in 3 varieties, are hollowed and then stuffed with a choice of fillings. There are several side dishes to add to the experience but a lone Bunny constitutes a light meal and that meal could even be breakfast. Bunny Chow was voted winner of ‘Most Innovative Breakfast UK’ during Breakfast Week. That’s a rather nice accolade for a restaurant that’s just off the starting blocks. The Full English Bunny doesn’t cut corners. It has a hearty filling of sausage, home-cured bacon, button mushrooms, bobotie spiced beans, tomato, black pudding, fried egg. I’ll return for a brekkie soon.
Durban Bunny was my chosen dish on this particular evening, and it was served in a camping tin. That sounds a bit edgy but that presentation works with the wood-clad restaurant that has a wholesome and rustic ambiance. The Durban-inspired curry was moderately spiced and equal in quality to curry found in some restaurants with plates! This was a slow-cooked tender mutton curry with mango chutney. Piri Piri Pork Bunny was my guest’s supper. This was a bun filled with 8-hour pulled pork with Bunny Chow’s Piri Piri sauce – a flavourful preparation rather than being searingly hot.
Bunny Chow has a selection of juice blends in attractive bottles. These can be liberally laced with alcohol to produce some addictive cocktails. I ordered Green Mamba – peppermint, Earl Grey tea and lemon juice. The suggested booze was gin and the resulting mixed beverage arrived in a hefty glass mug, in keeping with the fun and friendly theme.
I didn’t know what to expect from Bunny Chow. I enjoyed the ambiance and that perfectly fits the location. It’s a casual restaurant and the owners have successfully developed the concept from the original roving food truck to a static café. It works in every regard.
74 Wardour Street
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018