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Restaurant Review: The Rabbit Hole, a whimsical British pub

The Rabbit Hole, O&B's latest concept, is a whimsical pub in downtown Toronto where traditional British dishes meet Italian flare.

The Rabbit Hole: What’s the vibe?

After the year we’ve had, walking into any bar feels surreal at this point. But nestled in amongst the tall, grey buildings of the financial district, this whimsical Alice in Wonderland inspired pub truly feels like stumbling down the rabbit hole.

The latest addition to the Oliver and Bonicini empire, The Rabbit Hole is a swift departure from the fine dining atmosphere we expect from the Canadian hospitality giants. The pub feels familiar and fantastic all at once: equally a Wonderland to marvel at and a comfortable neighbourhood pub to let loose in.

On any given day, you’ll see all walks of life from the neighbourhood stop by: business suits, young families and old friends congregate here for a drink and some grub. And while it may not be obvious upon first glance, the Alice in Wonderland inspired touches run from inside to out. The lush (covered) patio adorned with pots of bright flowers feels like dining in the Queen of Hearts’ garden. Inside, the cozy leather and dark wood finishes may seem like a classic, moody pub at first, but splashes of colourful wallpaper and playful decor brighten up the space without feeling gimmicky.

The Rabbit Hole: What’s on the menu?

Peering onto tables full of tea-tinged cocktails and hearty plates reminds us of one fact: The Rabbit Hole, above all, is an ode to British cuisine. Chef Laura Petracca uses locally-sourced ingredients to create welcome twists on British classics, turning a menu of unassuming old favourites into exciting new bites. With shareable starters like steak tartare served on a custardy yorkshire pudding and topped with a scotch quail egg, or the heirloom tomato salad with sorrel and sheep’s cream, we’ll gladly fall down this rabbit hole again and again.

For the main course, among the classic meat pies, fish and chips and other pub delicacies, we were surprised to find fresh pasta. Chef Petracca uses her background in Italian cuisine to create some truly magical dishes. The Rabbit Tagliatelle may not come in a waistcoat, but with favas, parmesan and a creamy butter sauce, it’s perfectly dressed to our standards.

The Rabbit Hole: What else?

While a pint of beer seems like the obvious choice at an English pub, The Rabbit Hole’s drink menu reads more like a cocktail bar. The 40-some-odd cocktail program is equal parts classic and new creations, both of which are executed perfectly. Sipping on a Del Boy — a tropical neon-blue drink inspired by the iconic British sitcom character — before chowing down on a meat pie shouldn’t work… But somehow it really, really does.

21 Adelaide St W, (647) 480-6963, therabbitholepub.ca

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