If you work in the CBD, you’ll have probably seen the Rabbit Hole on Elizabeth Street. With one of two spherification kits in Australia, the Rabbit Hole is really worth a visit – for a cheeky drink or a nice three course dinner. We chose both.
On the Friday night, you will walk down the spiral stairs and be greeted with live music. The right hand end of the restaurant/bar is the bar and the left hand end is the small cosy restaurant with no more than 12 small tables. As you’re taken through the restaurant, it’s hard to forget where you are because the place is all decked out in cartoons of Mr. Rabbit himself.
We order a couple of cocktails right away; Tea Smoked Apple, and New + Old School sparking cocktail (the one with the spherified Cointreau jellies). Round two quickly follows and we order the Star of Anise, and the Rabbit's Elixir (carrot cocktail!).
My favourite was the tea smoked apple – smelt peaty like a good scotch, but it tasted like sweet apple. The New+Old was fun; you drink most of the champagne concoction at the start and you’re left with the jellies at the end which pop in your mouth. The carrot taste in the Rabbit's Elixir definitely came through along with the vodka, and I enjoyed it more than I thought. I don’t like the taste of Sambuca at all due to a bad experience with that involved flaming shots last year, so I didn't enjoy the aniseed cocktail, but if you’re a liquorice fan, you would probably love this.
For the entrees, we ordered 1) Seared scallops, celeriac two ways and buckwheat, and 2) Black pudding, caramelised apple tart tatin and crumble. All the dishes come out beautifully plated and you wouldn’t hesitate to give the chef a gold star for presentation. The scallop were nice, but nothing special, but the black pudding was delicious and would be a great bet if you’re usually a black pudding fan.
For the mains, we ordered the roasted 1) Kurobuta pork loin & bean family; lemon puree, sugar snaps, peas & beans, and 2) Sous vide chicken breast, roast thigh, potato three ways & passionfruit. The pork loin was one of the most tender pork dishes I’ve ever tried in my life, and if you hadn’t told me that it was pork, I probably would’ve struggled to guess exactly what sort of meat it was.
I haven’t tried sous vide chicken before – only sous vide duck – so I thought I’d give this one a go. Sous vide means placing the meat in a vacuum-sealed bag and cooking it in a water bath of 60 degrees for longer than normal cooking times, so that the meat is incredibly tender but doesn’t lose any of its juices and flavour. And the chicken was very tender too – maybe tenderness is a theme here? – and the tender texture of the meat was well contrasted with the crispy breadcrumbs coating the meat. The three-ways potato was also very innovative – the first was the paper-thin potato chip coated in perhaps a thin layer of glucose and then fried (it literally melts in your mouth); the second was the tiny sautéed potato cubes; the third was the potato mash lining the plate. I thought both the mains were extremely innovative and I was thoroughly impressed. The only thing I would change about the mains would be to make it a little bit more flavoursome, as I felt both the pork and the chicken were a little bit bland.
For the dessert, we ordered the Dark Fondant chocolate, white chocolate ice & passion fruit meringue as well as the Melon, crisp pancetta, cognac ice cream & botrytis gelee. I noted that the chef likes combining sweet with savoury, so I felt compelled to try the melon balls with pancetta, especially since it's so similar to the Italian entree prosciutto e melon.
The chocolate was very rich but delicious with the vanilla gelato, and we felt that it was even better with the cognac gelato. I loved the cognac gelato in the melon dessert, but I didn’t like the combination of the pancetta and melon because I felt that the pancetta was too thick and fatty, and it overpowered the subtle flavour melon balls. I personally prefer it done the traditional Italian way with thinner slices of prosciutto.
The entire bill came to under $180 for four cocktails, entrees, mains and desserts, which I felt was very reasonable. The sous vide chicken was only $26, and you would struggle to find that sort of price for a main like that anywhere else.
We thought that the service was great and our waiter was very attentive and made a couple of great suggestions. My biggest praise is that the menu is very innovative – and you don’t often see that sort of boldness around in the restaurant scene, and I personally think that that’s what differentiates a good meal from a great meal.
Meal: Lunch / Dinner / Bar food / Drinks
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Perfect for: A drink with friends on a Friday night with live music
Also for: Dinner or lunch with your favourite foodie friend
Hot tip: If you’re having dinner, book! I imagine it will be much harder to get a table in the coming months as the restaurant gains traction.
Must try: Old + New cocktail
Price range: $$$ Exxy
My rating: 8.5/10
Address: 81 Elizabeth Street, CBD
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