In a week that saw London acquire its own Bunny Spa (come on, it was bound to happen eventually), I was eager to hop in on all the action at Bunny Chow (I know, I know). However, Bunny Chow, I quickly found out, has nothing to do with bunnies. It's all about about bread and curry. And that's fine - I'm sold in any case.
This unlikely combination arrives in London all the way from Durban, South Africa. Core concept: it's essentially a hollowed out loaf of bread that (traditionally) was filled with curry as a way for workers to keep their food all in one edible receptacle and without the need for plates or cutlery. Bunny = Bun. Gottit? And yes, if you know anything about the history of the humble Cornish Pasty (and who doesn't love some remedial pasty history?) then you can draw the dots and see it comes from a very similar evolutionary step in snack history.
What better location for a South African street-food joint than in the hustle and bustle of Soho on Wardour Street? The place itself is bursting with energy - funky beats (I swear I heard a bit of Fresh Prince of Bel Air - am I showing my age?!), metal bar stools, modern steel lamps, long narrow wooden tables, wooden walls (maybe don’t light a match).
As for the food - with dishes described as “Happy Bunny”, “Chakalaka Chicken” and “Bobotie Meatballs” - Bunny Chow certainly keeps you on your toes. The concept, though, is a relatively easy one and guides even the most indecisive bunnies through simple multiple choice: choose your bread, choose your filling, choose your salad and dig in. Simples. Wait, that's a different animal.
My friend ordered the Happy Bunny (a charcoal brioche) and as a filling, opted for the pulled pork and a Bobotie Salsa (Bobotie is now my new favourite word). I had a Yoga Bunny (Green Tea Matcha bread) with Chakalaka Chicken (Chakalaka is now my second favourite word) and fennel salad. Don’t be put off by matcha bread - it’s the new cool carb, don’t you know?! We also ordered a side of pork ribs, because...pork ribs.
And there they were, breaded bundles of joy, presented to us in very stylish open red boxes. It’s everything you’d imagine and hope street food to be - bright colours, an explosion of all sorts of flavours and textures, and darn tasty, wholesome food. Their motto is “if it tastes good, cram it in” (please, we're too old for 'that's what she said' jokes) and this philosophy really delivered.
My chicken was fabulous - spicy, but nothing too extreme. The pulled pork was also delicious, heaps of tender meat gushing in great quantities from the huge bun.
A side-dish shout out goes to the ribs, which were satisfyingly sweet and almost too easy to eat, as if anything can be. Coriander fans, you’ll not be disappointed, there’s a whole lot of that herb going on. And we just loved, loved, loved the fresh juices - there are all sorts of options to choose from: coconut, ginger, elderflower. Hey, it's almost like we're eating and drinking fresh produce from the sunkissed basket of the southern hemisphere. If only we WERE in South Africa. Oh well. Next best thing?
Take your friends to Bunny Chow and you’ll be the coolest kid in town. Fun, refreshingly affordable and as the servings are so hearty, you’ll be satisfied all day long (until at least G&T o’clock). Bunny Chow: it's definitely not rabbit food.
BUNNY CHOW WEBSITE