Good Food Review: Rabbit, Chelsea
Jez’s Kitchen founder Jeremy Wickremer tucks in his bib in the latest of our reviews that go beyond the usual ‘tastes great, looks fab’ to highlight the good food policies and practices an eatery actually follows, not just claims in press releases.
Rabbit in Chelsea is one of three London restaurants run by Gladwin brothers Gregory, Oliver and Richard, who were brought up on a vineyard and farm in West Sussex and draw on these roots to bring us creative British tapas.
During Christmas 2011, the three brothers decided that the following year was time for them to join forces. As a farmer, chef, and hospitality professional it was a natural step for them to work together on a restaurant. The brothers’ understanding of the three key aspects of the business means that each has equal say in the outcome. They have a shared goal and look for what is good for the farmer as well as the restaurant. “To farm, forage, make wine, cook local – we are proud of our business because it’s our lifestyle,” Oliver told me.
“To farm, forage, make wine, cook local – we are proud of our business because it’s our lifestyle”
Most of their produce is sourced from within 100 miles of their restaurants, with the majority from farmers who they know by name. For example, tomatoes are grown a stone’s throw from the family vineyard by a couple named Gary and Jenny, and their lettuce comes from neighbours, Jonathan and Jill just up the hill. As the brothers say: their producers are their community.
“We make sustainability our priority in every corner of our business.” Says Oliver. From our no-waste policies to our solely British sourcing, it’s in our make up to consider all aspects of how we affect people and impact our environment. I think we’re doing pretty well!”
So what’s the food like? Once I arrive at Rabbit I order three dishes and hope they arrive quickly as it’s 3pm and I haven’t eaten since breakfast. I tuck into the 48 hour proved wild yeast bread with shallot butter. Not too heavy, not to airy, the density is ideal, with the crust having a great satisfying crunch, when combined with the shallot butter it is fantastic.
Next I turn my attention to the chorizo, labneh, crispbread and crispy kale, which is perfect in this form and the star of the dish. Finally, I move on to grilled purple sprouting broccoli, sumac, preserved lemon and ricotta. The combination works very well and the preserved lemon is a nice touch. I find myself eating with my fingers, dangling the broccoli sprouts into my mouth - yes it’s that good.
As I look around the restaurant, big slats of wood and quirky rabbit-inspired art give the place a rustic and homely feel and the atmosphere is relaxed. It all fits with the Gladwin’s approach and in the spirit of zero waste when the waitress arrives with the bill I ask for the rest of the fantastic wild yeast Real Bread to take home.