After much procrastination I finally made it down to much-loved neighbourhood restaurant, Four Hundred Rabbits, in Crystal Palace, which is known to serve one of the best pizzas in the capital. They focus on using the best fresh and seasonal British-sourced produce for their innovative and frequently-changing pizza topping combinations.
Pizza may not be the first thing that springs to mind if you’re unfamiliar with the name, but of course there is a story to how it all came about …
“We love fermentation. The Aztecs also revered the process and worshipped both a goddess of alcohol and a god that discovered fermentation. According to Aztec folklore these two got it together one night and created many offspring known as the 400 rabbit gods or centzon totochtin. These rabbit gods lived the good life, constantly going to parties and getting into mischief, alcohol was involved more often than not. At Four Hundred Rabbits we celebrate fermentation and two of the best things it has given us, pizza and beer. We think eating and drinking with friends and family should always be fun, and about good times. Much like the 400 rabbit gods did.”
We started with a selection of snacks: 400 rabbits pickled cucumbers, Moon Green pork and chilli beer sticks, sliced iberico chorizo, and one of my favourite things to nibble on, roasted padron peppers sprinkled with Maldon sea salt.
I particularly liked the sourdough bread topped with anchovy, garlic and rosemary – their award-winning sourdough is proved for 48 hours and then cooked at around 400 degrees in their wood-fire oven for a deeply flavoured and light yet slightly chewy base, which was definitely up my street.
Of course I didn’t forget to flip over the menu to their drinks section to check out their amazingly good valued cocktails – £4.00 Negronis? YES PLEASE.
Moving onto the mains, I definitely could not miss out on checking out their latest specials, created in collaboration with renowned Tredwells chef-patron, Chantelle Nicholson, the latest in their successful series of monthly specials, highlighting London’s vibrant food scene and the talented chefs and producers. The two exclusive pizza offerings take inspiration from the New Zealand born chef’s signature dishes and recipes from “Planted”, her sought-after first solo cookbook.
We went for the meaty speciality that featured Chantelle’s original lamb jam, homemade kimchi, crème fraîche, lemon balm cress, San Marzano DOP tomato and Fior di Latte mozzarella. A twist on one of the favourites on the menu at Tredwells as well as popular pizza topping ‘nduja, the lamb jam celebrates the Kiwi heritage of the creative chef who also oversees operations across all of Marcus Wareing’s restaurants. I love my spicy food, and have always loved ‘nduja, a spicy, spreadable pork salumi from Italy, that tends to elevate dishes for me.
For the toppings, they use the best tinned tomatoes money can buy: San Marzano DOP tomatoes are more premium compared to standard San Marzano tomatoes, grown exclusively in the San Marzano region whilst adhering to a strict criteria. They give an amazing balance of acidity and sweetness that makes them worth the price. They also use Fior di Latte mozzarella as opposed to buffalo mozzarella as the higher fat content enables it to meld better with the tomatoes under high temperatures.
We didn’t try the second limited edition collaboration pizza, but it sure sounded good too: roasted cauliflower puree, datterini tomatoes, cauliflower florets and leaves, zhoug, and lemon coconut yoghurt; reflecting the ethos of Chantelle’s recently-published “Planted” cookbook that showcases fantastic and tasty food all made using flavoursome plant-based ingredients.
Instead we decided on another meaty option, topped with 35 day aged Longhorn beef mince which had added flavour from the the extra ageing, accompanied by green chillies, onion, tomato and mozzarella.
For dessert, there were six seasonal gelato flavours to choose from, all sourced from Gelupo, which has always been one of my favourite gelato places in London. You can have these as a DIY sundae of upto 3 scoops with the option for extra toppings, or a single scoop together with a salt caramel brownie.
Four Hundred Rabbits’ collaboration specials with Chantelle Nicholson will be available on the menu until Friday 29th June inclusive to dine-in at their restaurants in both Crystal Palace and Nunhead, to take-away (for collection) or to deliver (via Deliveroo).
Diners looking for a lighter option can enjoy a half-size pizza accompanied by a side salad for just £6 during the daytime on weekdays at Four Hundred Rabbits’ relaxed Nunhead restaurant, whilst their great value Tuesday #HopSociety deal allows guests at both all-day venues to tuck into any pizza alongside any draft beer for a £10 meal package.
If you’re a loyal customer or live locally, you’ll be glad to hear that visitors can also take advantage of Four Hundred Rabbits’ loyalty scheme (because who doesn’t love the perks of eating out!) and earn one point for every pound they spend at the restaurants, with rewards including free pizza, wine and desserts. Full details are available on their website – those looking to collect reward points can sign up directly here: https://breedlike.400rabbits.
Check out their website via this link for more details, and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to keep up-to-date with my food adventures and travels.
The Cheekster, signing out x
* The meal was complimentary, a word of thanks to Four Hundred Rabbits, and fellow eating machine, Jonathan Hillson.