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Food

Feature, Food, London

Rabbit Restaurant, Chelsea

November 21, 2014

A new it restaurant called Rabbit has recently hopped onto the Kings Road in Chelsea and already has a line of fans out of the restaurant’s stable door entrance. Rabbit is the latest creation from brothers Richard, Gregory and Oliver Gladwin, who source wines and produce for their various London restaurants from their family-farm and vineyard, Nutbourne, in West Sussex. If you like the Gladwin brothers’ hit restaurant The Shed in Notting Hill, then Rabbit’s complex ‘wild British food’ nose-to-tail menu should be next on your foodie hit list.

I take my hat off to Rabbit for going the extra mile to create a cosy Sussex in Chelsea vibe. The rustic wooden décor with colourful art, iron tractor seats and taxidermy fox tails really transports you away from the big smoke into the rural countryside. Leave your sky high stiletto heels and leather trousers at home – you will look the part in a winter Barbour, an oversized sweater and country wellies here!

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Rabbit’s menu keeps you on your toes by changing on a daily basis, as does the restaurant’s signature tipple, the Rabbit Daily Loosener (£9), which is created with seasonal changing ingredients. The menu is divided into ‘mouthfuls’, ‘slow cooking’ and ‘fast cooking’, and encourages tables to share; 2 to 3 dishes per person is recommended.

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We raised our glasses with a sophisticated Nutbourne Sussex Reserve (£6.50 per glass) and mulled over what to try from the menu. The fresh out of the oven warmed bread-rolls with dried shallot infused butter were welcomed. Don’t fret if you’re a vegetarian, as there are a large number of non-meaty dishes to choose from.

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After making big decisions with the menu, we bypassed the ‘mouthfuls’ portion of the menu and selected two starters. First up was the labneh with chorizo, crisp bread and kale (£7.5); it was so delicious I easily could have eaten a large bowl as a main dish. The chorizo base is perfectly complimented with the crispy kale. Highly recommended!

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We also sampled the hearty red grouse with wood sorrel, rosehip and heather blossom (£6), which was thoughtfully prepared and had great flavour.

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The real game changer dish on the menu for me was the lamb chips with lemon, parlsey and harrisa (£8), from the slow cooking portion of the menu. The warm seasoned lamb paired with a crunchy exterior and tangy dipping sauce is true genius. This dish is not to be missed!

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It seemed only right to order rabbit here, and there were so many variations of rabbit to choose from including: rabbit ravioli, rabbit stone bake, rabbit ragu and Spatchcock rabbit. Apparently rabbit is considered to be one of the most sustainable meats, as it can be consumed in its entirety – you learn something every day right? Remembering my pet bunny Buster from my teenage years, I let the boys dig in to the rabbit ravioli with bone marrow, pasta al dente, pesto sauce and hedgehog mushrooms (£9.5), which is apparently a show-stopper.

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Last but not least, we feasted on the wild mushroom ragu with black summer truffle, celeriac and sage oil (£11.50), which was another creation that was so good it was tough to share. This is the perfect comforting treat to warm you up on a chilly winter day.

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I’m rather ashamed to admit that we were too full to try any puddings or cheese – further reason to come back for more feasting on this foraged farm food. I visited Rabbit during lunchtime and the restaurant was packed, so it will interesting to see how different the atmosphere is in the evening.

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Overall, I found Rabbit’s concept refreshingly creative and fun. Chelsea’s new country bumpkin eatery has a delicious menu to choose from with prices that aren’t too ‘hare raising’ (pun intended). I’ve been rabbiting on about this place to all my friends and will definitely be back for more!

Feature, Food

BLONDON’S Summer Superfood Salad

June 30, 2014

At the risk of sounding a bit pathetic, one of the things I miss most about America is the extensive range of salads available no matter the season! Just try comparing your average salad menu in London to say the salad selection at The Cheesecake Factory and you will see what I’m talking about. I don’t usually like to mix sweet and savoury foods, but I recently constructed a fruit filled chicken summer salad based on one of my favourite American salads, Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken salad. It’s healthy, easy to prepare, credit card friendly, and is an ideal lunch or dinner for those warmer summer days when you want something light yet filling. It is so refreshing and healthy, you can’t help but love it. Here are step-by-step foolproof instructions on how to create my Summer Superfood Salad:

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Prep time: 30 minutes; serves 4

Summer Superfood Salad Ingredients:

– 2 cups of cooked boneless chicken breast

– 2 cups kale

– 1 cup watercress or lettuce of choice

– ½ cup crushed almonds

– 2 cups of grapes, halves

– 1 cup fresh blueberries

– ½ cup light or regular feta cheese

– 1 ripe avocado

– a pinch of chia seeds

– a pinch of sea salt

– juice of ½ a lemon

– a pinch of chilli flakes

 

Start with watercress or lettuce and two cups of kale. I lean towards watercress as I find it’s a nice balance paired with kale for a salad base.

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Next up, add two cups of washed halved grapes. Halving the grapes with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors is probably the most time consuming step of making this salad, but halving the grapes makes the salad extra juicy and is well worth the fuss!

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Pour in two cups of halved grapes on top of the base of the salad. If you’re trying to channel your inner domestic goddess, then neatly place the grapes in a corner of the salad – this step isn’t necessary whatsoever but will add to the final effect. You’ll see for yourself soon enough!

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Then add one cup of ripe blueberries adjacent to the grapes in your salad. It’s starting to look rather colourful, isn’t it?
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Now for a dose of heart healthy and natural fat carbs, add a half cup of crushed almonds to the salad. It should be pretty easy to find crushed or chopped almonds in a supermarket, but if all else fails then whizz whole almonds in a food processor briefly or crush them with a rolling pin whilst inside a sealed bag for the ‘crushed’ almond effect.

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Add the half cup of crushed almonds to the other corner of the salad.

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Slice up half a cup of feta cheese into neat small blocks. I was trying to be extra healthy due to the fact that bikini season is on my doorstep, so I opted for light feta cheese.

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Toss the feta cheese blocks next to the crushed almonds in the salad.

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Avocados are one of my favourite fruits. They are filled with antioxidants, a variety of vitamins and are a good source of fiber. I used an avocado in this salad as a creamy and healthier alternative to dressing. Make sure the avocado is ripe otherwise it will make mushing it up much more challenging.

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Cut up the avocado into small pieces in a mixing bowl – watch your fingers as avocados can be slippery!

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Add a dash of sea salt for extra flavour…

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…followed by a pinch of chilli flakes for extra kick in your salad. As you can see, I LOVE chilli and tend to go overboard in the spice department. Add as much or as little as you wish.

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Then cut a lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice onto the avocado and spice salad dressing mixture…

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…it should be looking like this:

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Using a small fork, stir and mush the avocado mixture as best as you can, so it almost resembles a more runny version of guacamole.

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Add this creamy mixture to the centre of your summer superfood salad, which should be channeling the colours of the rainbow by now.

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I have joined the chia seed fan club recently and can’t help but sprinkle them on vegetables, stir fries and salads as much as possible. Personally, I find chia seeds to be rather tasteless , but they give you energy, add a nice crunchy texture, and are a great source of antioxidants and omega-3.

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Sprinkle a small layer of chia seeds on top of the salad.

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Last but not least, add two cups of cooked chicken to the salad. I prefer to use a rotisserie chicken for extra flavour and to save the carcass to make home-made broth, but feel free to use your cooked chicken of choice for the salad.

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This eye-catching salad is great for sharing. If you’re having people over then I recommend placing one cup of chicken on each side of the salad, so you can let guests serve themselves to whichever parts of the salad tickles their fancy. Be warned, this dish is a crowd pleaser and will make your friends think you can cook!

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Even though this salad always looks far more fancy when you arrange it in the bowl by ingredient (as pictured), I find it tastes best when it’s all mixed up together, so I typically ruin my picture perfect salad within minutes of creation. If you’re prepping this salad for your next meal, remember that it also tastes great chilled.Whether you’re entertaining on a budget or just want a quick and tasty health-conscious dish this summer, this superfood salad is always a hit. Happy summer salad-ing!