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The notion of a chocolate-filled menu might seem gimmicky, but the team behind Hotel Chocolat mostly pull it off, reimagining a Saint Lucian plantation house where roasted cacao dominates the food and cocktail lists. The look is colonial yet modern, with both floors (ground and first) decorated in warm cocoa colours. We sat on the upstairs balcony with pleasing views over Borough Market. A giant Yorkshire pudding filled with cacao-glazed pulled pork and white-chocolate mash epitomised comfort food; we also enjoyed the gloriously rich potted shrimps in spiced cacao butter. A well-balanced dish of cacao-crusted pork cutlet, with crackling, in a garden-mint cacao sauce followed, yet we were unconvinced by the dipping sauces (chocolate balsamic, cacao pesto, and nib butter) accompanying the fries. As expected, molten chocolate lava pudding, with gooey centre, was a highlight. We left choc-full, melted by “efficient and friendly” service and a Rabot Rum Sour cocktail.
When I first heard Hotel Chocolate had opened a restaurant in London, I thought two things – is this a joke and how could they possibly succeed in such a competitive industry. For that reason I’ve been ever intrigued since the day it opened, but like a lot of other restaurants, simply not got round to visiting them yet. Finally after nearly two years since it opened, I’ve made it to Rabot 1745 and I’m so glad I did, because the food here is certainly not a joke – its actually very serious indeed. While the name Hotel Chocolate has always been in my mind for its delicious praline truffles, I’ll never look at the brand...
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The justification for accepting an invitation to dine at Rabot 1745 was all about intrigue rather than any expectation of gourmet dining. I love chocolate. But a restaurant where every dish has some element of cacao sounded on paper just a little too much. Even for me. And who to invite as a plus one? Well of course the obvious example was my chocolate loving God Daughter.On the edge of Borough Market, Rabot 1745 from the outside did look a little like a Caribbean rum shack. Inspired by the old 1745 cacao estate which the founders of Hotel Chocolat bought ten years ago, there’s a cocktail bar downstairs...
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