I visited this restaurant twice in a month and my opinion of it was the same both times. While the food was much better on the second visit, the common flaw in this well-oiled machine is the slow service.
Ambience and decor
Quirkiness, cosiness and lovely ambience is what this charming restaurant offers best. It is a good choice for a date or birthday dinner. Situated in the Thrupps centre in Illovo parking is thankfully not a mission. I loved the décor of the restaurant. Wooden tables and serving boards are a new must have design for me. They add character and a modern contemporary look without being too obvious. Ceramic rabbits can be spotted in the décor and you can see the effort that has been put in to make the place inviting. The chairs are quirky though uncomfortable if you are seated for a long time. I would have liked if there were couches in the mix as well. A strange concept is that the restaurant is separated into two distinct parts. If you are seated on the side without the kitchen and near the door you will be disturbed by the bustling of waiters transporting food and drinks from one side to another.
The menu has a good variety of options. You can choose from lighter meals of sandwiches and prego rolls, to Italian fare of pasta or pizza to a selection of meat, chicken or fish dishes. If a restaurant offers pizza on their menu they are not a traditionally Italian place.
Round 1: Contrary to the name there is no rabbit on the menu! On my first visit I had the grilled calamari which was prepared with pepper, mint and lemon zest and served with French fries. I liked that the presentation of the food was different and not just served on a plate. I expected the calamari to be mintier and the overall taste was average peppered calamari. My french fries were soggy and undercooked. I was still quite hungry after this main course. We were not given any accompanying condiments except for chopped chilli.
My friend had the penne pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. The pasta smelt absolutely divine however the sauce was quite watery and mozzarella cheese translated to balls of stringy cheese that didn’t compliment the dish well and was difficult to eat.
For dessert we shared a layered Italian custard puff pastry topped with strawberries. This dessert is served cold which I think is more suited to summer months. It was a yummy dessert that bore a different take on the usual cake or chocolate dessert that is generally on menus. I did think the portion was quite small possibly because we were sharing.
Round 2: I decided on the safer choice of pizza topped with herb chicken, pesto and cherry tomatoes. The pizza was quite tasty albeit quite smaller and pricier than the other pizza places around. My boyfriend had the red peppers, feta, olives and artichokes pizza. Wood fire pizzas are the way to go and I cannot stomach takeway pizzas anymore. I wouldn’t mind having a pizza here again but I wouldn’t make a special visit to do so. There are no medium sized pizzas or half portions for pasta on offer. I thought the serving size of the panzerotti pasta was ridiculously small. You definitely need to eat a three course meal here in order to satisfy your hunger.
The manager is friendly and generally hangs around outside. Service on both occasions was very slow given the small size of the restaurant. Getting cutlery or more drinks became quite a chore. The only waiter in the room decided to stand facing away from the customers. Reading reviews on sites most people have complained about service. Hopefully this is something that will be addressed. We got only chopped chilli on our first visit, however there is garlic and crushed chilli as well – just need to ask for it.
Food prices are a tad pricier and portion sizes smaller than other restaurants in the same class. The quality of the ingredients is good and you won’t feel like you are eating substandard franchised mass produced food.
I loved the unique take of this restaurant. The food and service are average and nothing to write home about. While the food wasn’t bad it also wasn’t wow enough to tickle my taste buds. This is a new place to try if you are tired of franchises, the current busy “happening” places or your usual dining spot.
Rabbits & Moons,