BY PALOMA LACY
Children can take things literally, so when we arrived at 400 Rabbits my daughter asked, with a sigh: “Where are all the rabbits?” She looked around and couldn’t find even one.
To say she was disappointed is an understatement. How do you explain the quirkiness of some restaurant names to a three-year old? I didn’t even try but also because, I’ve no idea how this one came to being.
400 Rabbits is a small chain of rather good sourdough pizza places and this latest one at Elephant Park, makes five in South London alone by my reckoning.
I’m glad we had tunnel vision on our day trip to this new leisure destination because this is street food heaven, with more than enough choices to make your head spin.
Elephant Park, a stone’s throw from Elephant & Castle railway station, is part-park, part-retail, with an injection of leisure oomph for good measure.
While I was there, an acrobat was teaching children hoola hoop skills. Beautifully tended lawns lead on to a rock formation and fountain, which doesn’t sound like the most child-friendly combination but the rocks are flat and not particularly high so safe for climbing on.
We were there on a rare sunny summer day and the opportunity to cool off was greatly appreciated.
As lunchtime neared, we made our way to 400 Rabbits, and were greeted by the effervescent and utterly charming Luke.
This restaurant has been open since May but seems newer – you can almost smell the paint. The décor is minimalist, with an emphasis on a clean and fresh look, which to the untrained eye, may even appear unfinished.
Our host took us through the menu quickly as he could see the children in our group were hungry.
Drinks and nibbles – Nocellara olives – were out in minutes but we needn’t have worried about being hungry for long, given that pizzas are cooked in the kind of oven that heats to an unbelievably hot temperature – usually 500 degrees.
Pizzas of dreams are just minutes away when cooked this way. It was nice to see a menu that takes you on a culinary adventure.
Luke suggested we give The Rhubarb a whirl. I was unconvinced, until it arrived and I could see the joy on my friend’s face. She tucked into a topping of tomato, mozzarella, chipotle rolled goat’s cheese, piquillo pepper, rhubarb puree and fresh basil.
The pizza received the thumbs up from all whom had a nibble.
This month’s special is an even more controversial one – pizza with pineapple or without? It is a decision that probably leaves most Italian pizza chefs wondering what the English have done to their humble fayre.
At 400 Rabbits, Pancetta & Pineapple is there for the taking. It’s made with pancetta instead of ham, with the addition of kimchi and chilli, transforming this further more. Veggies can swap out the meat for This! Is Not Bacon.
The more traditional pizzas have been tweaked and renamed, which freshens them up and makes them more appealing but one remains: Margherita.
I went for The Anchovy, the addition of rosemary bringing out the sweetness in red onion. There’s also The Feta, The Beef and The Chorizo, among others.
One child in our party is gluten-free and catering for her was no trouble at all.
Many of the drinks are made using organic ingredients, including wine on tap from Borough Wines. On the softer side, kids organic juice boxes, and Dalston’s Soda – Fizzy Elderflower, Fizzy Rhubarb and Lemonade.
16a Ash Avenue, SE17 1GQ.
Nothing kicks off a party quite like a glass of fizz but imagine a barbecue with boozie bangers on the grill.
Yes, it’s now a thing thanks to Dickies. Prosecco & Apple Banger are crammed with a whopping 9.5% of gorgeous bubbly prosecco, crisp apple pieces, and orange, for a refreshing sausage that is guaranteed to delight the most refined of palates.
Bursting with flavour, every Dickie’s Banger is made using top-notch open barn reared pork shoulder from the heart of an award-winning farm in the Essex countryside.
Elegant and charming, this sausage gently seduces you with its citrus zing and boozy loveliness, making it the perfect accompaniment for an alfresco summer dinner.
In addition, Dickies has launched two other flavours to help barbecues go with a banger-er.
Perfect for brunch-time barbecues, check out the spicy richness of the Bloody Mary Banger.
Meanwhile those with a penchant for punchier spirits might like to try Tequila Slammer sausages.
Available as a 130g Jumbo priced at £4.95 for three, a Chipolata priced at £4.95 for 12, or a Big Banger Bundle at £29 for 18.
Go to www.dickiesbangers.com
Giving up dairy doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to milkshakes.
Happi Oat Drinks has launched a tasty new range of dairy-free oat drinks, in chocolate and strawberry.
All-natural, not-from-concentrate gluten, the strawberry flavour is also the first fruit-flavoured oat drink to hit the market.
Happi Oat Drinks are made using gluten-free oats milled and processed in the UK by UK farmers, and the cocoa used in the chocolate flavour is slave and child labour-free and is the same source as the chocolate used in its popular oat milk chocolate bars.
A great source of calcium and protein, the drinks are enriched with vitamins A, B6, B9, B12, C and D.
There are no added sugars in the strawberry flavour and no refined sugars in the chocolate variant, making them a healthy choice for the whole family.
Happi Oat Drinks are available in 1ltr cartons from the ambient aisle of Holland & Barrett stores nationwide and from http://happifreefrom.com, RRP £2.39.