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Restaurant review: White Rabbit, Daslton, N16

PUBLISHED: 15:46 28 August 2013 | UPDATED: 15:46 28 August 2013

The lamb belly was a tender treat

The lamb belly was a tender treat

Archant

»Surprisingly the White Rabbit has been around for more than a year ­already, tucked away behind the chaos outside Dalston Kingsland station.

The team behind the laid back café/restaurant wanted to hone their product and entice the locals in before spreading their reach to London diners at large – and it’s worked, because N16 has a lovely little eatery on its hands here.

In typical Dalston fashion, the decor is a mixture of stripped walls and reinforced steel joists adorned with cushions, throws and stylish bric-a-brac.

It was bustling and vibey on our Saturday night visit, with an easy mixture of hipsters, dining couples and drinkers enjoying the excellent cocktails.

The menu, of a vaguely Mediterranean and north African bent, is a slightly confusing ‘‘small, medium and large’’ arrangement which always leaves you wondering how much to order.

When they first opened they only offered sharing platters, though later revised this. But the best way to tackle the food here is order a few things and stick them in the middle of the table – a fun and sociable way to eat.

We picked several small plates; the thin cured strips of Iberico ham were peppery and scattered with almonds, while the creamy burrata, with a lemon rind kick, was delicious.

From the mid-range dishes the lamb belly was wonderfully tender and garnished with a smooth miso baba ganoush, while the flaky hake came with a finger-licking paprika aioli; creamy and firey.

A special mention should go to the spaetzle – a kind of Germanic gnocchi – gorgeous little beasts, flavoured with a hint of truffle, which avoided the stodginess of their larger cousins.

Our big plates were also very good – the pink duck full of dusky flavour with some cheeky Szechuan peppering, while the onglet steak was cooked to perfection, succulent with a hint of charcoal and drenched in a rich, satisfying jus.

The White Rabbit is lovely in all sorts of ways and may have found a niche in Dalston.

It’s got the relaxed, groovy N16 vibe, but offers a slightly more refined and up-market meal than the many wonderful Turkish restaurants in the area.


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