I am a big fan of Hotel Chocolat! It’s one of my favourite chocolate brands in the UK and I absolutely adore their collection of unique chocolate delights. I have always wanted to try out one of their restaurants but now that I live in London Bridge, I just couldn’t resist! Seb and I were meeting up with Thérèse for a spot of Saturday lunch and we thought we would give Rabot 1745 a shot.
Nestled in the bustling Borough Market, Rabot 1745 is quite a unique restaurant serving up a contemporary menu inspired by the culinary traditions of West Indies and Britain. Of course the menu is cocoa-centric, it wouldn’t be a Hotel Chocolat restaurant if it wasn’t! The name Rabot 1745 actually comes from the cocoa plantation owned by the founders of Hotel Chocolat situated in Saint Lucia. Established way back in 1745, the Rabot Estate in the beautiful Caribbean islands has inspired a lot of the Hotel Chocolat branding including their collection of premium chocolates which incidentally is also called the Rabot 1745 range.
The cocoa restaurant and roastery has two distinct parts to it – a bustling cafe on the ground floor and an elegant restaurant on the first floor. The ground floor also hosts a Hotel Chocolat shop selling their very special ranges of chocolate. They also serve up some of the best hot chocolate you are going to find in town. Perfect if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Borough Market but still want to be close enough to all the action.
The restaurant on the first floor is perfect if you want to really get away from all the tourists and the noise of Borough Market – it’s the perfect little haven complete with an open-air dining space and a beautiful view overlooking the historic market. We picked a table on the terrace with the colourful Borough Market below us and browsed through the menu.
I really like the cocoa-centric menu crafted by Chef John Bentham at Rabot 1745 – it comes complete with quite an inventive selection of cocktails including the Fresh Cacao Martini and the Cacao Pulp Bellini. We decided to stick to the drinking chocolate – it would have been wrong not to order some. Rabot 1745 definitely didn’t let me down; the Rum Chocolate was absolutely divine. That shot of Saint Lucian rum in the hot chocolate gives it just the right amount of kick to make it one helluva drink.
Hot chocolates emptied, we moved on to our mains. Thérèse went for one of the salads on the menu. The Warm Quinoa, Roast Pumpkin, Beetroot and Walnut Salad with Cacao-Balsamic Dressing was beautifully presented. It was art on a plate. Unfortunately the quinoa was slightly undercooked but that still didn’t take away from this salad being quite an impressive dish.
The Chopped Rump Steak Burger with Aged Cheddar, Cacao Beer Braised Onions and Dry Cured Bacon served with House Chips and Creole Chutney that Seb ordered was just as good as it sounds. The beautifully crafted menu here just makes you want to order everything on the menu – top marks for making a burger sound like delicious poetry! The subtle hints of chocolate in the burger really do make it quite unique and the beef was perfectly cooked. Highly recommended.
We couldn’t resist ordering an extra portion of chips which is obviously fried in cacao butter. Chips fried in butter with hints of chocolate? Yes please!
My favourite dish was however the Cacao Balsamic Glazed Pork Sausages, Pork Belly and Cacao Beer Braised Onions that I ordered – it was absolutely delish! The pork belly was perfectly cooked and the cacao balsamic glaze on the sausages was to die for! I was in chocolate heaven! Again the chocolate in this dish isn’t overpowering and it manages to get the fine balance just right.
If you do want to chocolate it up, you have the option of grinding some fresh cocoa on your food. Nice little touch!
Lunch finished, we cleared the bill and left with a smile on our face. Oh and a stomach full of chocolate!
So what’s my verdict? I think Rabot 1745 is quite a unique offering; it definitely stands out in the crowded Borough Market scene. Service is acceptable and the subtle cocoa-centric menu is beautifully crafted and without being a novelty meal.
If you don’t fancy pushing through tourists, queuing up for a bite and eating your food as you shuffle around trying to breathe; Rabot 1745 might just be the answer! Yes it’s not the cheapest option but who said personal space in London was going to be cheap? Grab a table on the terrace, order one of the drinking chocolates and enjoy Borough Market from the rafters.