Bunnychow

Restaurants , Cafés Shoreditch
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(9 user reviews)
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Bunnychow
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Bunnychow (© Chris Orange)
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Bunnychow (© Chris Orange)
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Bunnychow (© Chris Orange)
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Bunnychow (© Chris Orange)
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© Chris Orange

Editors' note: since this review in January 2014, the menu has been extensively altered as the company has regigged itself for expansion as a snack bar chain. The dishes are now a far less true reflection of the Durban bunny chow dish. - Time Out Editors, October 2014

Picture, for a moment, Durban in South Africa. With its sandy beaches, sweltering street markets, iridescent colours and intense sunlight, the city couldn’t be more different from the duffle-coat grey of London’s wintry skies and streets. As it’s home to 1.3m people of South Asian ancestry, Durban’s also the home of ‘bunnychows’ – hollowed-out loaves filled with chilli-laden curries.

This London namesake has given the African Asian fast food a makeover. After selling bunnies from a food truck in Brixton, owner Atholl Milton has now secured an indoor pitch at Boxpark in Shoreditch.

Housed in reclaimed shipping containers, Boxpark has communal tables, beanbags and wi-fi. Joining a cluster of pop-up shops and global street food haunts, Bunnychow celebrates the improvised vibe – its narrow space is furnished with little more than a few tables, stools and a counter. Bunnies are the draw, with flatbread sandwiches and salads playing second fiddle.

Bunnychows started off in the 1940s as ‘sugar bean curries’ (made using borlotti-style dried beans), portable food for Indian labourers. Later, bunnychows included meaty masalas. Unlike in South Africa where bunnies are bought by the quarter, half or whole loaf, these ones arrive as individual round loaves. The idea is to eat them with or without cutlery, dipping the crust into the sauce and scooping up the filling as you go. The bottom crust is prized because it absorbs the saucy goodness.

The fillings served here are at the wilder end of the spectrum – few folk from Durbs would recognise the Boston baked beans or pulled pork. The more familiar mutton (cooked on the bone) and vegetable curries stay closer to familiar flavours.

The traditional mutton bunny was unavailable on our visit so we plumped for lamb meatballs cloaked in monkeygland sauce (it involves no monkey – it’s a jokey name for a tangy fruit sauce). Tender mini meatballs simmered in onion-garlic masala sweetened with mango chutney were robustly spiced with toasted cumin, turmeric and red chillies – resulting in a tease of rich warming flavours without a fierce chilli kick.

The masalas here are spot on – thick enough to seep into the doughy loaf, but without melding into the crust. A Cape Malay spin on chicken bunny scored top marks for zesty pungency. Meaty morsels and diced butternut squash, slow-cooked in a thickened broth of lemongrass, chilli and ginger, were finished with crunchy stir-fried vegetables. This rustic stew, with its marvellous mash-up of Southeast Asian flavours, worked a treat with the absorbent crumb of its bread casing.

How bunnies evolved is the stuff of legends, but whatever their past, this Bunnychow looks set to earn its crust.

Venue name: Bunnychow
Contact:
Address: Boxpark Shoreditch
Unit 55, 2-4 Bethnal Green Road
London
E1 6GY
Opening hours: Noon-9pm Mon-Wed; noon-10pm Thurs-Fri; 10am-10pm Sat; 10am-6pm Sun
Transport: Rail: Shoreditch High Street Overground
Price: Around £8 per head
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Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:1
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  • 2 star:0
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LiveReviews|9
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Adam G
1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Bunny Chow is one of my favourite lunch spots in London! Cheap, quick and tasty. 


The menu might take a second to get your head around but the staff are more than willing to take you through it... more often than not you'll find a sneaky sample to try too! 


Piri Piri Pork Bunny is my personal favourite and at a fiver you can't really go wrong. The Monkey Gland wings are also very tasty! And, if you can't get enough, try some Bunny Bites as a little sweet treat after. 

The Breakfast Bunny has seen them win awards, something on my list to try! 


Bunny Chow definitely stands out from the crowd on Wardour Street. Highly recommended if you fancy something a bit different for lunch in Soho. 

Henry C
tastemaker

Bunnychow was a revelation when we discovered it through Deliveroo. A great lunch place, whether you're exhausted from an early morning gym sesh, hungover to hell or just fancy bread soaked in a great stew, Bunnychow is the answer. £5 will get you a hearty meal without overfilling you or giving you too much carb guilt.


Originating from South Africa, the idea of stuffing a small loaf with stew is inspired. As a Vegetarian I had the Paneer Curry which was incredible, spicy, delicious and plenty of it. My colleagues also spoke highly of the meaty versions as well. This has gone right to the top of our favourite places to get lunch, and I'm already excited about my next trip.

Sheens86
Tastemaker

Chicken bunny chow packed a punch and was very filling! The bread was a bit odd, claggy and stubborn to soak up the sauce from the filling. I had the Green Tea Matcha and my friend had the Protein Wholemeal with Meatballs, out of the 2, the Green Tea Matcha was probably the nicest, regular bread would be a nice option to have. We preferred the Chicken over the Meatballs, they were a touch too sweet for us but the spicy chicken wings were on point!

Need to bang out a loyalty card, fellas!

HerFavFood
Tastemaker

At Bunnychow orders are made at the counter from a short but comprehensive menu. Diners essentially personalise their own ‘bunny’, a hollowed out bun, by selecting the base, filling, and topping. The options include mutton curry, spicy chicken, veggie, or pulled pork. There’s also the option of adding sides such as chicken wings to the meal too. 


I tried the Veggie Bunny with cauliflower, chickpeas, paneer, spicy South African sauce. I really enjoyed the taste of the filling which surprisingly reminded me a vegetable curry, especially due to the addition of paneer. My dining companion tried the Durban Bunny made of slow cooked mutton curry which was also served with fresh and bright salad topping making it look and smell immensely appealing!


Bunnychow also serve freshly squeezed juice and I tried the Green Mamba made of cucumber, Mint, Lime, Elderflower & Juniper Berries. Similar to a virgin mojito in taste, the drinks here can also be served with added spirits for a twist.


This was something new which i tried near soho... It was fantastic, great taste and value for money....

Kiki Yar

This is my favourite place, never tried such food before and i Loved it.. for £5 a meal is a bargain in Soho, and I loved "DURBAN BUNNY" and "MONKEY GLAND WINGS".. 


I strongly recommend to try this place.