Dubbed as Britain’s first ‘gourmet chocolate restaurant’, I had been desperate to visit Rabot 1745 for a while. I am a self-confessed and obsessed foodie, so combining my two favourite passions in life – food and chocolate, Rabot 1745 by Hotel Chocolat was a must-have visit. You wouldn’t necessarily choose to have chocolate for dinner, but Rabot focuses on the ‘cocoa cuisine’ and the infusing of cocoa flavours, to master gastro delights with subtle hints of chocolate.
Rabot 1745 opened in November 2013, by chocolatier Hotel Chocolat, the first of their restaurants in the bustling and vibrant food epicentre in London; Borough Market. Renowned for its fresh pastries, freshly squeezed detox juices and international food stalls, the famous restaurant sits right in the middle of the market. The restaurant is named after the company’s Rabot Estate cocoa plantation on the island of St Lucia, which dates all the way back to 1745 (hence the name). The menu has been designed and created by Chef, Jon Bentham, having trained alongside some of the UK’s most talented chefs such as Tom Kerridge, Gary Rhodes and Brian Clivas.
So when I heard about Rabot 1745, myself and my boyfriend Ollie added it to our never-ending list of restaurants to try in the capital. One night we had a reason to celebrate, so it seemed the perfect match. As it turns out, when you think ‘chocolate’ or ‘cocoa’, you immediately picture the food to be a dessert bar or restaurant, but the idea is much more than that. Rather than using a rich chocolate that is associated with a dessert, the restaurant uses its purest form which is the cocoa bean, which you can try at the beginning of your meal; as a small dish is on every table to sample.
To start our meal off, I decided to try the creole spiced fish cakes, which are made using salmon, served with pickled cucumbers and a thousand island cacao sauce. It was absolutely delicious and I was tempted to want more. Ollie opted for the Yorkshire pudding filled with rare seared parking spiced beef, white chocolate mash and cacao red wine jus. It must be mentioned that the white chocolate mash was not what you would expect. It wasn’t quite ‘chocolately’ enough to comment on its flavour, but it definitely worked well as a dish.
For mains, we had the rare seared sashimi tuna, which was cacao and sesame crusted, served with a smoked aubergine puree, crushed limid and chilli sweet potato gratin. We also sampled the loin of venison, with a cinnamon and cacao crust, parsnip and white chocolate puree, blackberry gel and an estate dark chocolate jus. The portion size is just right, and together with a couple of sides, we were verging on full.
However, when you visit a chocolate themed restaurant, it wouldn’t be complete without a taste of the dessert menu. There was only one dish we had set our hearts on – as it was the official BAFTA dessert. This dessert of perfection is made up of Lucia 65% buffalo super milk mousse, blueberry and raspberry white cremeaux and pumpkin seed granola. It was honestly beautiful and together we ordered their signature molten lava chocolate pudding which was of course to die for. All washed down with a salted caramel soother cocktail; a combination of vanilla infused rum, dry curacoa, coconut milk, salted caramel chocolate and chocolate bitters, as well as the praline soother cocktail, made from absolut vodka, coconut milk, praline and white chocolate.
The only recommendation I would have is to sample each other’s dishes as there’s a brilliant variety to choose from. Another thing I would point out, is that, it isn’t the cheapest restaurant in London, but if you go like we did, with something to celebrate, or with an understanding of how much you will spend, then it’s entirely worth the money. Together, we spent roughly £50 a head, which included 3 courses and a cocktail – which I say is not bad at all.
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