The scene The evidence that Dalston’s lifecycle as hipster hotspot du jour is reaching its nadir is mounting: White Rabbit is the first genuinely cool, pleasant restaurant to open in the area. This is bad news for Dalston’s hipsters – who hate genuinely nice restaurants, opting instead for dives, because, you know, they’re like, real and stuff – but great news for everyone else.
White Rabbit’s spare industrial interior remains just the right side of tryhard, and the lowish ceilings, and glimpse of kitchen in the corner, give it an intimate feel.
The grub White Rabbit, we’re informed by our waitress, makes absolutely everything on its menu from scratch (bar any cured meats), and encourages a sharing plates approach to dining (think big tapas with fewer dishes). The daily changing menu is broken into three sections: barbecue, wood oven and stove.
Each dish arrives as and when it’s ready which turns the meal into a mini banquet of several overlapping courses. This is fine for two, but could soon become tedious if you’re a bigger group.
We’re softened up with an almost movingly good chunk of homemade sourdough and whipped butter before our sardines with chimichurri arrive, followed by artichokes and pork loin, then steak and salad.
Each dish is delicious and original, drawing together flavours I’ve seldom encountered together (think back to those sardines and chimichurri). The only blot on an otherwise unblemished meal is the side salad, which is sodden and salty.
Behind the bar Were I to return I’d be inclined to opt for a beer given the diversity of the dishes and the Meantime London Lager on offer is a treat. Wine starts at £16.50 for a bottle and while the list dwells in Europe, it’s not extravagantly priced.Bill please Starters from £2.50; sharing plates from £8.50; desserts from £5.50.
Verdict Exactly the kind of place Dalston needs: exceptional food served by knowledgable staff in a relaxed atmosphere, and in a way that means you can try loads of different dishes and not feel like a naughty little piggy.
15-16 Bradbury Street, N16 8JN
Station | Dalston Kingsland