Joburgers love Thomas Maxwell Bistro, the quirky Parkmore eatery owned by self-taught chef and owner Thomas Barker. So the news that he owns another spot – The Red Rabbit French Grill – in Bryanston, will surely be welcomed.
Red Rabbit’s menu is a slightly more robust version of the Thomas Maxwell experience. Fortunately, the restaurant’s signature mussels and chips dish as well as the duck pie make an appearance on both menus. Alongside it is a number of juicy cuts of meat, as well as chicken with truffle-scented mash, as well as changing selection of daily specials. If you’re a vegetarian, however, your options are limited. Once you’ve had the risotto and the arborio rice crusted pumpkin – which would do better as a side dish than a vegetarian main – you are stuck with salads and soups. If you’re concerned, be sure to phone ahead and alert the chef to your dietary requirements. Another small word of warning: The Red Rabbit Grill is not an end-of-the-month-Salticrax type of restaurant. Prices are (perhaps a little too) steep.
Boy, do these guys know how to put together a wine list! Attempting to boil it down to a few sentences is like attempting to describe War and Peace in a paragraph. The epic document consists of fourteen pages of South African classics alongside a few French treats. To make matters even better, Red Rabbit French Grill also has a whole list dedicated to champagnes and sparkling wines. Unless you plan to spend the entire evening reading the wine list, we recommend asking for a recommendation to go with your meal. Like the food, the wine doesn’t come cheap, with a glass of local sparkling wine selling for R68.
Service at Red Rabbit French Grill is prompt and efficient. The waiting staff is extremely presentable, polite and attentive. The chef runs diners through the specials menu and is more than happy to make recommendations based on your preferences.
The Red Rabbit French Grill is not what you might expect. Beautifully decorated and quirky though it may be, the restaurant forms part of one continuous line of restaurants in the Nicolway Centre. While this could create a nice buzz on a quiet night, it is also distracting if your table is on the cusp of two restaurants. Red Rabbit offers a romantic, private dining area called the Rabbit Hole. Be sure to phone way in advance to reserve it for a special occasion.
By Kristia van Heerden