LONDON | Bunnychow Soho has been bringing the South African street food tradition of a “Bunny” to London since September last year. The City Lane was invited to learn what this South African street food institution was all about at their casual dining spot located in the heart of Soho.
The idea for the Bunny came from Durban, South Africa in the 1860s. When Indians migrated to South Africa to work on plantations, they invented a filling lunch option that was transportable and durable. They quickly realised that traditional roti would not hold up all day and substituted bread loaves to create a meal that could go the distance.
Fast forward to 2013, when Bunnychow owner Atholl Milton started selling bunnies from a food truck in Brixton before moving to a popup at BoxPark Shoreditch and finally, the bricks and mortar Soho store in 2014. The store front is sleek and the counter operation is very efficient with fast, friendly service.
Diners can personalise their dinner selecting the base, filling, and topping – options include flavous such as mutton curry, spicy chicken, veggie, or pulled pork. It’s not just authentic flavours on offer either – one of the most popular menu items at breakfast is actually a “full English” bunny, a fusion of the traditional full English breakfast with a South African twist.
We arrived at 6:30pm and things weren’t to busy. By 7:00pm however, the restaurant had filled out and once you read through our write up you’ll see why. There were plenty of people getting dinner after the gym or meeting friends. In fact, if you had tickets to show in the West End, this would be the perfect spot to grab a quick, yet satisfying meal pre-theatre. Bunnychow offers a variety of global flavours to select from depending on your mood and preference. You could easily be in and out within 30 minutes.
To start, we nibbled on some Biltong, South Africa’s version of cured meat, beef jerky etc. It provided a nice protein hit and is great if you’re on the go.
For the main event, we sampled two different bunnies. On the Bunnychow website the Bunny is described as a little loaf, crammed with big flavours, and the lid. Looking at the picture below, you may be thinking that the bunny looks small but it was densely packed and extremely satisfying. If you are looking for a to cut down on carbs, there is a bread free option available.
Piri Piri Pork Bunny (£5.00)
For our first bunny we choose the piri piri pork bunny with pickled slaw in a brioche bread bowl. It was very satisfying to be able to eat the hollowed out artisan bread bowl. The pork was packed with flavour – a subtle spice hit from the piri piri sauce and really tender.
Chakalaka Bunny (£5.00)
For our second bunny we chose the chakalaka bunny – a white bread bowl filled with spicy chicken, and topped with nachos. We definitely appreciated the Indian origins of the bunny with this one. It was equally as delicious as the pork bunny we had just tried, with the nachos providing an interesting (if perhaps not completely authentic) textural contrast.
Monkey Gland Wings (£2.50)
Not appreciating how substantial the bunnies would be on their own, we shared a side of monkey glad chicken wings. These were very tasty and don’t worry, there aren’t any monkey glands involved – it’s a tangy South African fruit and spice sauce! The menu features some other tempting sides such as Bobotie meatballs, spiced South African risotto, and Piri Piri lamb ribs.
Drinks (£2.50 – Non Alcoholic, £7.00 Alcoholic)
To wash down the meal, we each had a fresh, home-made juice. The juice options have appropriately South African names like Green Mamba, Madiba and Invictus. We opted for the “adult” versions by adding a shot of alcohol to the drinks. Booze on offer includes gin, spiced rum, white rum or vodka.
We love London for its dining options that span the globe and Bunnychow is yet another example of just how diverse the food in this city is. At the end of our meal, the only regret we had was that we hadn’t heard about Bunnychow sooner. If you can’t get to Soho and you want your bunny fix, you can get Bunnychow delivered to your door via Deliveroo. Also keep an eye out for the Bunnychow food truck which appears at various events and festivals.
74 Wardour Street
London W1F 0TE