Bunnychow review: Hop along to Soho for hearty South African street food
Update: Bunnychow in Soho is now permanently closed.
The newest street food trend to come to London is Bunnychow, which has set up a permanent stop in Soho. Fortunately, you’ll be glad to know there are no bunnies on the menu. Rather ‘bunnys’ are freshly basked buns, which have been hollowed out and filled to the brim (and then some) with hot fillings. Bunny Chows originated in the Indian community in Durban, South Africa, in the early 1940s, with the concept of the dish being a hearty and filling meal that could be eaten on the go without plates or cutlery. Bunnychow, the brand, came to London in June 2013 with the food truck serving in Brixton, before a standalone restaurant opened in Soho in September 2014.
Having recently been redesigned to incorporate more seating for those who want to eat in, I paid a visit last week for dinner. The establishment is open all day, with its breakfast bunny having recently been named ‘Most Innovative Breakfast’ at the Breakfast Awards. My sister and I arrived at 6.30pm for an early dinner in between bar-hoping. At the beginning of our meal, it was fairly quiet given the time, but as our meal progressed, it started heaving with diners looking for a speedy and filling food fix.
The venue is fairly small, with wooden interiors giving an informal and warm feel. The staff were incredibly friendly and explained the Bunnychow concept as we mulled over the menu. There’s four different types of buns (supplied by the London Bakery Company), including a gluten-free one. Once you’ve decided on your bun, there’s a choice of five different fillings. You order at the counter and can either takeaway or have it served at the table after just a few minutes wait. We chose a counter-style table facing out on to Wardour Street, a great spot to people watch while you eat. Rather handily, there were also hooks on the walls so you could hang our coat up.
I opted for the white bread Veggie bunny, which came filled with Cauliflower, Chick Pea, Potato and Spicy Durban Sauce. My sister decided on a wholemeal Chakalaka Bunny (Spicy Chicken and Tomato, Raita and Mango Chutney), which is inspired by the spicy relish from the Jo’burg townships. The top of the bunny loaf is sliced off and you can decide to tear it apart with your fingers and dunk the bread like a soup or use a fork. We both ended up doing a bit of both and we got a little messy. Fortunately, all bunnys are served with wet wipes so you can clean your hands afterwards. We both really loved our meal, they were so filling and tasty. The combination of flavours is really quite different to anything I’ve tasted.
In addition to our meal, Bunnychow recently introduced a range of fresh juice cocktails, alongside their beers and cider. The five different juices, with names inspired by South Africa, can be drunk virgin or you can add gin, rum or vodka to make it a cocktail. We ended up trying the Madiba’s (Grapefruit juice, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) with rum added, which were refreshing and delicious.
Overall, I would highly recommend Bunnychow as a good place to stop for food if you’re on the go or on a break from work. Although technically a fast food establishment, the cuisine is healthy, nutritious and filling. And with Bunnys at just £5 each, it is incredibly good value.
- Bunnychow, 74 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0TE. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. Open Mon-Wed 8am-10pm, Thur-Fri 8am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 10am-7pm. For more information, visit the Bunnychow website.
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