Fat Rabbit (Rideau Centre)
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Foods from Fat Rabbit
2019 May 13
Now they've been open a little longer, I was curious to see if any of the wrinkles have been ironed out. Not really!
The menu is still hard to read during the time it's displayed. More of the dishes were labelled than last time but still not all. Service was still awkward and stiff. It's honestly surreal how the serving line manages somehow to be simultaneously rushy and inefficient. You may want to visit just to see what I mean.
The lack of labelling really gets to me. How hard is it to slap a clear label onto every dish so people understand their options? Also, the proteins and vegetarian items desperately need prominent symbols or colour coding of some sort.
On both of my visits the manager projected an air of annoyance, even while he was helping to serve customers. It must be difficult to run a successful shop when all your employees and customers are incompetent. 😝
And the food? It was still the best part of the experience but less wonderful than on my first visit. This time I got the "double" size (~$15) with 2 "carrot proteins" and 3 sides. This was a lot of food! The spinach side was really great, the lentil/bean thing was pretty good, and the spiralized zucchini "spaghetti" was regrettably bland. My two "carrot proteins" were both dry chicken breast. The flat crispy cutlet had good texture but not a ton of flavour, while the jerk chicken was awesome on the outside but hard and dry on the inside.
We noticed that the occupancy level of the tables at this new restaurant was significantly less than that of the adjacent food court. Not a promising sign after just a few weeks in business. The food fills a gap and there's no reason this business can't survive with some relatively small tweaks. But will they tweak in time?
2019 May 4
This brand new food court concept restaurant opened less than two weeks ago in the Rideau Centre food court. A second location in Toronto is set to open very soon. The folks behind this are Toronto restaurateurs Hemant Bhagwani (Amaya, The Fat Beet, Leela) and Chef Trevor Lui (Kanpai Snack Bar).
First of all, I have to say that the food I ate was truly delicious. It's slopped out into cardboard boxes (even if you eat in) and contrary to the rest of the food court they only have plastic cutlery. But it was really tasty!
The menu screens are utterly confusing to look at. The only interesting part keeps disappearing when you're halfway through trying to read it. So let me get you up to speed. You can go with 3 choices (˜$12) or 5 choices (˜$16). 1 of the 3 or 2 of the 5 choices can be proteins.
Here's where it gets arduous. The proteins aren't labelled explicitly and not all of them are obvious. The foods are grouped in two sections: one cold and one hot. Sides and proteins are distributed amongst both sections. Also, you don't know what all the choices are until you reach the end of the line. Ideally, you'd stick your head in and preplan the details of your order before getting in line. Or, they could post all the options on their plentiful screens (fingers crossed that this was the intent and they just hadn't gotten around to setting it up yet).
Another quirk is that one of our group asked for *both* greens and noodles as their base. The employee complied but then was corrected by his manager, who said "they can choose just one" in a stage whisper. Of course, we all asked to have a bit of each because greens and noodles should not be mutually exclusive items. The manager sighed and resigned himself to giving us a little of each. Not a fantastic introduction to this place...
But let me get to the food! Slopped into a cardboard box, this isn't going to win any awards for presentation (see pic). I opted for the 3 choice meal and it made for a nice light lunch. My protein was chicken breast—a rather dry and unremarkable piece served with the most delightful and addictive Asian-themed chimichurri. My sides were both delicious too. I opted for the "spicy Thai" salad dressing and said yes to various garnishes of beet, water chestnut, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
All in all a great meal with some strange quirks that hopefully will get figured out. It was definitely good enough that I look forward to going back!
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