If you ask me, sourdough pizzas and craft beer is what made Hackney famous and this fail-proof combination is making its way down south of the river, to our neck of the woods. As we sit down behind wooden tables in Nunhead’s Four Hundred Rabbits restaurant, I could swear we are in some trendy canal-facing warehouse conversion in east London. We share the space with a bunch of cool kids who dye their own hair, roll up their slouchy chinos and, to the sounds of Radiohead, lazily devour their orders, slice after slice and sip after sip, writes Gabi Gheerbrant…
Four Hundred Rabbits is for those who don’t want to settle for a simple Margarita. To begin with, the sourdough base is fermented for at least 48 hours before it is cooked in a wood fired oven, making it lighter and easier to digest but with a deeper flavor and that special tang typical to sourdough.
Start by picking your star ingredient, like goat’s cheese, anchovies, beef mince or chorizo but expect new flavour combinations as traditional Italian staples mix with seasonal British ingredients to take a new tasty twist on each pizza. Or if you are feeling adventurous, the monthly specials menu delivers with original ingredient suggestions. Pork belly pizza? Shredded duck and Brussels sprouts? Why the heck not!
What does the rabbit have to do with pizza though, I ask the waiter, and he enthusiastically launches into an unheard-of tale of 400 ancient Aztec rabbit gods who lived a life of abundance reveling in alcohol, party and fermented foods.
The story is so unexpected, my first thought is that my craft beer was stronger than I thought. However, a quick consultation with Google confirms it is true. The rabbit gods were born from an unlikely, but a very sensible union between goddess of alcohol and god of fermentation. Love for the two is clearly the pushing engine behind the concept that now has established in Nunhead and Crystal Palace.
What a fitting brand foundation, I think, emerging at a perfect time to ride the trend wave of fermented foods and adding our neighbourhood to the hangout map for hipsters too cool for Hackney. Four Hundred Rabbits has got the moment right with all the right ingredients for success so watch this space.
Four Hundred Rabbits
143 Evelina Road
Phone: 0207 732 4115