Rabbiting on at Rabbit

As I drove in the direction of Chelsea, I could (mostly) only think of Patch English (RIP) and his sweet furry face. I presume his owner, one of my favourite readers, won’t even be able to read this review, let alone stomach the name of the Gladwin brothers’ latest eatery, Rabbit.

Rabbit Restaurant in Chelsea

But, did you know that back in the 1940s and 1950s rabbit meat was as common for dinner as chicken is today? And, crucially, it’s the meat that saved many tummies through the lean times of the Depression.

Readers – you know my eating habits only too well and it will come as no surprise to you that I got over any rabbit issues before arriving at my destination.

Rabbit restaurant in Chelsea

Rabbit restaurant in Chelsea

So, yes, those clever, posh and damn hardworking Gladwin brothers weren’t resting at The Shed (which opened two years ago). Often fully booked, attracting multi-generational Notting Hillers to share plates of seasonal farm produce, I can clearly see what all the fuss is about. But a whole new location, not a million miles away, with similar sharing plates? I was concerned and dashed South to see whether the boys are spreading themselves a little thin….

this is the front of a tractor… but now hanging from Rabbit's ceiling.. in case you were wondering

this is the front of a tractor… but now hanging from Rabbit’s ceiling.. in case you were wondering

I met Claudine Davies for dinner. A client, inspiring entrepreneur, Meeting of Minds guest and absolutely (after all these years) a friend, Claudine has appeared in previous blog posts. Moreover, an obvious guest for the evening seeing as Biondi Couture is just down the (King’s) road and anyway we had a few items on our agenda to tick off.

Claudine Davies of Biondi Couture

Claudine Davies of Biondi Couture

As is always the way with those you work with, conversations tend to focus on the urgent. But actually, it’s brilliant to ignore this for once and simply share a meal. That way you can really find out what’s going on in each other’s heads.

Rabbit's rabbit ravioli

Rabbit’s rabbit ravioli

Covering new gymwear (forget Lululemon and watch this space!), collaborations, bikini styles (her bread and butter), future plans for the Biondi own brand and, of course, holiday plans, we ate and nattered in equal measure.

venison with onion squash, honey, pennywort and sunflower seeds

venison with onion squash, honey, pennywort and sunflower seeds

As it turns out, Rabbit isn’t so different from The Shed. Majoring in British ‘wild food’, it’s a little less quirky, a bit more Chelsea but every plate as farm-to-table as it’s brother venture. The food (particularly the venison and rabbit ravioli) is blinding. There’s no doubt about Gregory raising of livestock in Nutbourne, West Sussex, nor Oliver’s talent in the kitchen. And manger Richard is … well, that Chelsea boyfriend I never managed to hang onto.

Rabbit restaurant

Oliver at Rabbit restaurant

Oliver at Rabbit restaurant

As I got home I posted a Rabbit picture on my Instagram feed. One of my followers was keen to let me know that his ‘offspring’ love to eat at Rabbit. Clearly, they never met Patch.

Rabbit 172 King’s Road, SW3 

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film review: Whiplash

Miles Teller is one lucky man. The 27-year-old who tormented us with his intensely brilliant jazz drumming last night, at the London premiere of Whiplash, almost died seven years ago in a horrific car accident. Left with blatant scars across his face and neck, the talented musician had been with his friends when their car rolled (actually flipped eight times) before he flew out of the car window. Unconscious and covered in blood, his friends thought he was dead.

Whiplash London film premiere

spot the red carpet umbrellas.. never a London premiere without a full-on down pour!

This story only adds even more drama to Damien Chazelle’s film. Focusing on the intense relationship between Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), a super-talented young jazz drummer at a prestigious music college, and Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons), his brilliant but extremely torturous teacher, Whiplash is quite a masterpiece.

Whiplash London film premiere

In fact, as the film develops, Fletcher is no less than sadistic. His tyrannical music sessions are breathtaking to observe (I literally couldn’t breathe) as you wait for his explosions to occur.

Chazelle, himself, was an aspiring drummer and the film echoes some of his own experiences. It has already won the Grand Jury and the Audience awards at this year’s Sundance Festival and Simmons is tipped as a hot Oscar favourite for his portrayal of Fletcher.

Miles Teller at Whiplash London film premiere

But it’s Miles Teller who gets my vote. His astounding performance struck such a chord (excuse the pun) with me as I often wonder how destructive ambition can prove to be. But then maybe Teller has already shown us that he is somewhat indestructible?

Whiplash will be released nationwide on 16th January 2015

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book review: Us – David Nicholls

Cast your mind back to the summer of 2009 and choose any tube journey you might have taken. Remember the orange paperback EVERYONE had his/her nose in?

There’s no doubt that David Nicholls’ One Day was an enormous hit: the story of Dexter and Emma, the star-crossed lovers, the PUNCH where it hurt and then out rolled the film (2 years later) with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.

But such success can only bring on serious writer’s block. You can almost feel the pressure Nicholls was under.

And finally he’s done it. Us is the story of a middle aged couple whose marriage is struggling. Biochemist Douglas and his beloved artist, free-spirited Connie set off with their 17-year-old son Alfie for one last family holiday that will either make or break their marriage. As the reader, you journey with them (through life as well as through Europe) taking on board their very valid issues with each other.   Probably because their grievances are so real, poignant and perceptive – the story is believable and therefore gripping.

Us by David Nicholls

However, the novel has been criticized as a non-event after One Day, pointing out that Nicholls has apparently held back any real excitement suggesting that he is desperate not to offend his readers but … I’m afraid I disagree. Not only is this a better tale but it is also full of immediately quotable one-liners: I’ve always wondered who those freaks are who don’t read novels and Well I can tell you now that married life is not a plateau, not at all. 

I’d even go as far as saying that I love the way Nicholls has told Douglas’ story; with such simplicity and yet with details which make it perfectly astute.  Cringing at his awkwardness and dull conventionalism combined with the banality of his marriage, I found I couldn’t put it down (much to the Smalls’ irritation) drawn to the honesty of this family’s dynamic.

Look out for it (once in paperback) coming to a tube ride near you…

Us by David Nicholls

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Men, Women & Children, London premiere

Last night Leicester Square was teaming with screaming teens as Ansel Elgort took selfies with fans lining the red carpet at the Men, Women & Children premiere.

The Chad Kultgen’s novel, directed by Jason Reitman, saw this year’s BFI Film Festival’s second night.   And of course red carpet means only one thing in this city… pouring rain. But once side, the excited cinema folk greeted Jason and his young leads, Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever up on the stage and then I was ready to kick off my heels and face the horrors of my social media/smart phone addition.

director Jason Reitman

But actually I wasn’t comfortable AT ALL. This comedy-drama was disturbing on so many levels. Clearly addressing the issues of troubled teenagers wired by the virtual tech world, I was struck by the anxiety all parents must face as their offspring come of age, mostly ungracefully. I didn’t really find much to laugh at here.

an amusing moment on stage between Ansel Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever

Of course, the parents (played by Adam Sandler, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer and Jennifer Garner) are more clueless than most in order to illustrate these tales of caution. But, excessive phone and internet use in place of ‘real conversation’ is a nagging worry in most of our lives and, while the film does convey this, I did struggle with the barrage of text/game/facebook messages, both on a thought-provoking level as well as in actual words.

teens in real life chat

a scene from the film where teens actually have a REAL life chat

Marriages just one-click away from an escort or an affair, teenagers seeking approval, arousal or anorexia and over-protecting of children from the possible perils of the online world are all too plausible pitfalls but does this make for entertaining viewing?

Contemporary? YES.

Relevant? YES.

Informative? YES.

But did I really enjoy the film? Was I blown away by the script and subject matter? No. To be honest I might have felt more comfortable out in the rain…

 

 

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