After spending the best part of the last month preparing for my impending house move, a day out of London, enjoying the countryside couldn’t have been more welcome.
I met the rest of the party, including my friend Anna and her dog Lopez at Paddington station and boarded our direct train to the village of Kingham, where the Wild Rabbit is situated.
I drove down on my last visit, so it made a change to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the passing countryside on this trip; either way the journey is about an hour and a half by train or car, so an easy London escape.
After arriving at Kingham station, we made the short 5 min car journey to our lunch destination, where we were welcomed by giant topiary bunnies who greeted us at the front door.
We had made it inside the pub back in January, but the ambiance today was completely different. Back then there was a roaring fire and cosy atmosphere, whereas today it was bright and sunny and certainly time to swap the warming glass of red for something chilled and fruity!
As it was such a gorgeous day we grabbed our drinks, mine being a deliciously refreshing strawberry & basil fizz, and headed outside to the terrace to enjoy some sunshine. The village was very quiet as it was Wednesday lunchtime, however it would be the perfect weekend people watching spot, and there are even sun hats provided for some summer shade.
We were called to our table and so made our way through the cosy pub to the main restaurant at the rear. The restaurant is spacious and bright, with a homely country kitchen feel and quirky rabbit-y touches throughout.
The menu is seasonal and the ingredients mostly locally sourced. Whilst the options aren’t vast, there is certainly enough for a fairly picky eater like myself to find something to suit, and after much deliberation my options were chosen.
I decided to skip the starter as I wanted to save myself for dessert, but instead, taste some of the options chosen by my fellow diners.
Pigs head croquette with a pickled vegetable salad and crayfish was an usual, but surprisingly tasty combination, and was presented in a beautifully bright and summery way. The lasagne of crab and scallop also seemed to be a resounding favourite amongst the table with a chorus of ooohs and ahhhs as it was passed around.
Next to arrive was the pork tenderloin, confit belly and toffee apple puree which I had selected as my main. Pork is not something I ever cook at home and so it is a real treat when I dine out, and my expectations are always high. This was no disappointment and the combination of flavours and textures throughout was delicious, with the caramelised puree adding just the right amount of sweetness to the dish. It was presented a bit like a Mondrian painting and attracted more than a couple of admiring glances from across the table.
The other dish that was getting a lot of attention was Lucy’s roast duck breast with peaches and fennel. After many a taste test, this came out the clear winner and it firmly became our ‘must-order’ on all of our undoubtable return visits.
As always, dessert was right up my street and the decision here was tough – even Lopez seemed to find it a challenge to choose!
With so many tempting options, I decided to step out of my chocolate mousse comfort zone (although so alluring when accompanied by the salted caramel ice cream), and chose the Mille Feuille with black cherry and dark chocolate. The dessert both looked and tasted like a dream and was almost too rich to finish…..almost!
A perfect summery choice was the raspberry soufflé with raspberry ice cream which oozed a centre of tarte raspberry compote and was the cutest shade of baby pink.
Feeling pretty stuffed, we took Lopez for a quick stroll around the village admiring the quaint houses in the neighbourhood and taking in the much needed country air in an attempt to walk off some lunch.
We returned to our party to be greeted by pots of tea and homemade madeleines, which we obviously couldn’t pass up.
With a while before our train, we decided to make the most of the sun (and sun hats) on the terrace and spend a blissful hour chatting and basking in the beautiful August weather, before heading back to London.
With plans to return to the village imminently to take a cookery class at the nearby Daylesford farm, I will undoubtedly be making a return to the Wild Rabbit for lunch, dinner, or maybe even an overnight stay in one of its gorgeous bedrooms.
For more information visit the Wild Rabbit website >