Bunnychow, Soho

Following a menu and venue revamp, Bunnychow have returned to their roots with a true South African flavour, all with the aim of getting you to ditch your lunchtime sandwich.

Formerly a resident of Shoreditch’s BoxPark but now in the heart of Soho, Bunnychow starts with a hollowed-out bun – or bunny, if you will – which is then crammed with curried fillings and topped off with a bread lid.

Traditionally a Durban workers’ meal, the restaurant’s original menu veered a little too off-piste for bunnypurists with the oddly named Monkeygland meatballs and Bunnychowder (South Africa meets New England?) A fusion food too far, perhaps explaining the need for a menu relaunch. The new menu promises to be more authentic and kinder on your pocket at only £5 (down from £6.50).

Though more of a lunch venue considering it’s essentially a takeaway joint, it does translate well beyond the afternoon, with low lighting and subtle red-black furnishings making it fine for a quick evening bite too.

The build your own menu is pretty easy to follow, though the friendly staff are keen to help you out. First you pick your bread (white, wholemeal, brioche) followed by your filling: either pork, chicken, veggie or mutton, i.e. the Durban Bunny. This is the one which bears the most resemblance to the original Bunny Chow; a rich curried sauce with slow cooked mutton topped off with mango chutney, crunchy poppadums and a smidge of coleslaw on the side. The veggie bunny with curried cauliflower, chickpea, and potato was equally as tasty and had a nice rice surprise at the bottom, like finding chocolate at the tip of your Cornetto.

Served in a supposedly ‘worker’s style’ metal tin, it’s a messy affair. But surprisingly, it is easier to eat than a burrito – though not quite as filling (thankfully – burritos are too heavy for lunch). As you delve deeper into the bun, you begin to tear off the sides (very satisfying!) and use them to scoop out or dunk the rest of the filling. Forks are provided for those less inclined to get messy.

To wash down your curry loaves, there’s a selection of fresh juices: the invictus made of ginger, lemon and honey was a particularly refreshing accompaniment. I did have doubts about the authenticity of the Full English Bunny, which recently won a Best Breakfast award for its innovation, but I guess this will cater to the morning clientele.

This incarnation of South African streetfood does have the potential to catch on and is definitely better value for money than other lunchtime or light dinner counterparts (side dishes of spicy rice and kale are only £1!). To quote their slogan, ‘why have a sandwich when you can have a loaf?’ Indeed.

74 Wardour Street

Tel: 020 7439 9557

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