A Chocolate Experience Like No Other – Rabot 1745:
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 and an informal dining area upstairs.
We indulged ourselves with cocktails while we decided what to eat. While the menu does have a cacao theme, it doesn’t look as overwhelming on paper as the concept sounds. The cacao gin cured salmon with a tart apple, radish and endive salad that I enjoyed was dressed with piquant horseradish, softened with a creamy white chocolate.
Meanwhile my God Daughter picked the roast pear with nib infused soft goat’s cheese and cacao balsamic. It sounded good and looked excellent.
My main course of 9 hour braised lamb shoulder with a cacao balsamic glaze, garlic mash and buttered carrots was beautifully tender and well flavoured. If you’d asked me what the magic ingredient was, I wouldn’t have guessed. Despite having tasted cacao beans, which are left on every table for diners to nibble on. It adds nothing much more than a subtle earthiness, though perhaps that is down to the skill of the kitchen.
The West Indian vegetable curry tasting platter looked wonderful and comprised a range of dishes including a cumin spiced aubergine and a spiced lentil dhal. Served with cacao nib rice, it made a substantial and, judging by the empty bowls, excellent vegetarian main course.
Unsuprisingly, perhaps, desserts were wonderful. I picked the official BAFTA dessert of salted caramel cremeaux , 72% chocolate mousse and Brittany shortbread. I can’t think of a better chocolate dessert – it was rich and decadent without being overwhelmingly sweet.
My God Daughter’s molten chocolate lava pudding was made from the cacao bean in the restaurant. And served with Rabot ice-cream it looked splendid.
There is a rather excellent choice of desserts – for nothing else I’d like to go back again. Next time I’d try the Rabot 1745 Mousse collection – a trio of chocolates, each with their own complementary addition; malt brittle with the 68% milk, toasted nut crumble with the 78% dark and roast nibs with the 90% dark.
We enjoyed a bottle of Terra do Zambujerio 2009 with our food which genuinely did have cacao, leather and spice notes and paired beautifully with the food.
With many thanks to Hotel Chocolat for the chance to review, we thoroughly enjoyed the dinner.
020 3544 0680
2-4 Bedale Street, Borough Market, London, SE1 9AL