By Eleanor Tait
Popular Cantonese fusion dining restaurant, The Rabbit Hole, situated on the corner between Hallgarth Street and Mavin Street in Durham City Centre, has reopened following interior renovations and the development of a fresh food and cocktail menu.
The restaurant originally opened in 2018 with menus and interiors intended to evoke the atmosphere of a dim sum parlour during lunch hours, transforming into a Shanghai inspired jazz-supper club in the evening. Since opening, The Rabbit Hole has proven popular with students, and garnered strong reviews from local visitors and food critics, who have delighted in its decadent interior design, authentic cuisine, and opulent ambience.
Speaking to Palatinate, Zak Newton, co-owner of The Rabbit Hole, explained the decision to renovate, saying: “It was very much driven by the demand for evening trade paired with simply rejuvenating the current offering and exploring Cantonese fusion dishes.
“Our venue is also very unique and full of character, however the number of people we can cater for has often been restricted by the layout of the building.”
Describing changes to the restaurant’s interior, Mr. Newton said: “Our old dim sum area at the front of the restaurant has been completely redesigned and fitted out to accommodate larger bookings.
“More comfortable seating has been added and larger booths upstairs allow for more social dining given the increased demand for reservations.”
The Rabbit Hole’s new and improved food menu offers a variety of Cantonese fusion inspired small and large plates, soups, curries, noodle and rice dishes, of which many are vegetarian and vegan. The restaurant’s most popular starter dishes include the “sensational” Boneless Short Beef Ribs and Honey Walnut Shrimp, as well as their highly recommended main dishes, the Clay Pot Lamb Shank Rendang and Sizzling Beef. Cocktails, such as the Singapore Sling and the Kyoto Breakfast, remain a staple of The Rabbit Hole’s offerings, with Mr. Newton describing these as “some of the most unique drinks in Durham.”
“We have lots of students dine at The Rabbit Hole. We see many first dates and returning couples.”ZAK NEWTON
Talking to Palatinate, Mr. Newton expressed a hope that customers will find dining at The Rabbit Hole an “indulgent” experience in a “mature yet fun setting”, served by “a great team, many of whom are students at Durham University.”
He further noted: “We have lots of students dine at The Rabbit Hole. We see many first dates and returning couples.
“It’s becoming more popular with groups of students who are celebrating and want to enjoy a fantastic meal but not break the bank! Quite a few lecturers drop in too.
“We are keen for Durham students to discover The Rabbit Hole and give us a try.”
Co-owners of The Rabbit Hole, Zak Newton and Sam Gadd, are the directors of ZEN UK Holdings Limited, a company which runs several other popular Durham-based venues. These include Whitechurch Free House located on Church Street Head opposite the Bill Bryson Library, Asian restaurant, Zen, on Court Lane, and Tango, which has recently relocated from its position on Elvet Bridge, to its new home at 39 Saddler Street.
The Rabbit Hole is open from Monday to Friday, 5:00pm to 9:30pm, and on Saturdays and public holidays for lunch hours from 12:00pm to 4:30pm.
Image: Eleanor Tait