Ash and Erin Valenzuela-Heeger to launch Riverine Rabbit in Birmingham early next year

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Ash and Erin Valenzuela-Heeger to launch Riverine Rabbit restaurant in Birmingham early next year

Related tags Riverine Rabbit Ash Valenzuela-Heeger Erin Valenzuela-Heeger South africa Birmingham

Ash and Erin Valenzuela-Heeger will open an ambitious restaurant in Birmingham next month that will explore the former's South African roots.

Originally created by Ash and her sister Mandy in Cape Town, Riverine Rabbit operated as a pop-up over the summer. 

The name is inspired by the Karoo Desert where the elusive riverine rabbit lives with a nod to Ash and Erin’s ongoing endeavour to support sustainable farming practices.

Located in the suburb of Stirchley in the south-west of the Midlands city, Riverine Rabbit will combine strong South African influences with seasonal British produce. 

On 1464 Pershore Road, the restaurant will offer a menu made up of 16 small plates. There will be a focus on wild game and seafood alongside a substantial plant-based offering. 

Guests can order as many or as few dishes as they prefer. On Mondays, an affordable Prix Fixe menu of four courses for £30 (with optional add-ons) will be available. The full menu will be released later this month. 

Ash began her career at the age of sixteen working part-time as a prep chef in a local restaurant, before enrolling at cookery college and then working alongside Luke Dale-Roberts at his highly-rated The Test Kitchen restaurant in South Africa and then for Brad Carter at Carters of Moseley in Birmingham. 

Erin, co-owner of Riverine Rabbit, is a materials scientist by day and will take up role as front of house manager at Riverine Rabbit by night, which will trade evenings-only from Monday to Friday.

With Ash and Erin undertaking most of the renovations themselves the interior of the restaurant will be simple and stripped back ‘allowing the dishes to take centre stage’.

The wine list is predominantly South African in origin with beers exclusively supplied by Glasshouse. A wide range of alcohol-free options will also be available.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here, to say we’re keen to open our doors is an understatement,” the pair say. “We’ve worked hard to create an informal space for our guests to enjoy our ethos and food. There’s no pressure or restrictions, we want our guests to order as many or as few dishes as they fancy, and to just come along and enjoy The Rabbit.”

Bookings will be available from 5 January 2024. 

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