Oh Deer, Oh Deer: A Guide to Eating Game in Manchester

Rabbit & Hare

You might be sensing a running theme here, but when I was little I also didn’t want to eat rabbit. For pretty obvious reasons. I had a fluffy Angora rabbit called Toffee when I was a kid, and for years to come, I couldn’t bear the idea of someone, or something, gnawing into her tiny, fluffy little back legs.

Fast forward fifteen years, my moral compass melted into an empty void of nothingness and I was quite happy to get my teeth stuck into Thumper without batting an eyelid. The reason for this being that hare and rabbit are delicious – and I hate to say it but – it does taste a lot like chicken.

Historically speaking, us Brits have eaten a lot of rabbit in the past – mainly because they plentiful, nutritious and easy to hunt. But they seem to have fallen a little out of favour in the decades following the Second World War.

Sure, top end chefs are unafraid to cook up a rabbit loin or two, but I feel many restaurants steer away for fear that customers are still a little on the squeamish side. But don’t get me wrong – you do see it occasionally, especially in the cooler months.

If you want to eat rabbit, you are going to have to look to Mediterranean cuisine. A good place to start would be the Valencian Paella over at Tapeo and Wine. Paella is made with rabbit and chicken traditionally speaking, so not only is it a great entry level dish it is also authentic. Top marks.

My favourite way to eat rabbit is in a slow cooked ragu with a bit of pasta. Last weekend I tucked into a banging plate of Rabbit with Pappardelle with Sage and Hazelnuts from La Cucina at Mackie Mayor – but I believe this was only on for that weekend only…so, sorry about that.

What I can offer you, however, is a recommendation from the The Pasta Factory which is similar to the one I tried at La Cucina but available all year round.

The Agnologtti Piemontesi (no I didn’t sneeze on my keyboard) is a delectable concoction of wild rabbit, pork and beef pasta parcels served with parmesan and cabbage tossed in sage butter. This dish is certainly one for the meat lovers out there- and a great way to give rabbit a try for the first time. Belissima!


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