South east favourite 400 Rabbits is multiplying; this time hopping up in Herne Hill at the café beside the iconic Brockwell Lido. There is certainly a sweet symmetry to the idea of bringing together two local gems such as these and the reality lives up to the promise.
Those familiar with the Four Hundred Rabbits restaurants in Crystal Palace, Nunhead or West Norwood, will notice some departures. For starters, no pizzas. The brunch menu of this newly formed partnership at The Lido Café centres around the same great freshly baked sourdough that forms the base of the pizzas, yet still with the same informal, stripped-back interiors of the Café; a simple effective menu at affordable prices.
If you are brave enough to venture into the unheated waters of the lido before brunch you might feel a little different, as the inside of the Café feels just like summer. The sun streamed through the art deco windows even during our visit in mid-December while the view to the pool is framed by beautiful plush potted palms.
The décor is a soft blend of wood and easy on the eye decor while tones of blues and whites add to the beach club vibe.
It’s a friendly, fairly peaceful atmosphere despite being a haven for yummy mummies and the usual laptop freelancers who frequent many a London coffee shop.
The 400 Rabbits at The Lido Café menu shares the simplicity of its sister pizzerias. The star of the show is the sourdough bread that comes topped with everything from the standard issue smashed avocado, to black pudding and roasted plum tomatoes or smoked salmon with labneh and capers. I chose the Portuguese Eggs for a change of scenery – baked with a delicious blend of ricotta, Grand Padana, Aleppo peppers, San Marzano tomatoes and fresh basil. A very satisfying brunch dish.
For those who want to steer away from sourdough there’s some great options: toasted banana bread, oat milk porridge and coconut and fig granola. There are also daily soup and salad specials.
Everything is priced comfortably under £10, unless you want to pimp up your eggs with chorizo.
Wash down your meal with the expected extensive range of fresh pressed coffee and loose tea options, sodas and juices. If you feel like spicing things up a notch, there’s San Marzano Bloody Mary’s on offer.
Four Hundred Rabbits, Herne Hill, www.400rabbits.co.uk 0207 737 8183
Open Monday to Sunday, 8.30am – 3pm.
Cost about £10-20 a head with drinks and service.
Alison Hicks and friend were guests of Four Hundred Rabbits, Herne Hill.