Archive | December, 2013

Step Twenty-Nine: ice skating at Tower of London

12 Dec


It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Especially when you hit the ice rink.

Somerset House, Natural History Museum, Winter Wonderland, Eyeskate… even Canary Wharf has an ice rink.

I decided on the Tower of London though as I’d never been and loved the idea of skating in a moat against a backdrop of fortress walls, of a monument that was built in the eleventh century. Bet Henry VIII didn’t see that coming.


I admit I was hoping to see some Beefeaters on skates, and hear a few more Christmas tunes, but the overall experience left me feeling very festive and all warm and fuzzy inside.

Sessions last for an hour and as we went at peak time, the rink did fill up with some pros gliding around and some Bambis/Katies tripping up. The enamouring views made up for any shortcomings though.

Drinks are available to warm up after in the Ice bar and cafe.





The details:

Location: Tower of London. Tube: Tower Hill.

Opening times: everyday 10am-10pm. For booking slots, click here.

Prices: £13.50 peak times, £11.50 off-peak times.

Here until 5th January 2014.


Step Twenty-Eight: dinner at cocoa restaurant Rabot 1745

7 Dec


It’s all about the cocoa at Borough Market’s new restaurant, Rabot 1745.

At first I imagined sickeningly sweet chocolate-smothered dishes on the menu – pasta in chocolate sauce, chocolate chilli con carne, chicken in mole sauce (nothing wrong with that) – but no, Rabot is far more subtle and sophisticated.

The restaurant, founded by the guys behind Hotel Chocolat, is named after their cocoa plantation in St Lucia. The stylish decor harks back to the original look of the estate, and the animal noises playing in the bathroom transport you to the Caribbean.


The focus is on cocoa-infused dishes, with cooking techniques inspired by the West Indies. Before even looking at the menu, the friendly staff encourage you to crack open the  cocoa beans and try them in their raw bitter form. We were given a complimentary amuse-bouche to follow – a shot of creamy vegetable soup and cocoa flavoured bread to dip.


Between us, we went for the red mullet fillet and olive chickpea gnocchi, which came with a chocolate and mustard glaze and seasonal vegetables (very good), and the slow roast shoulder of lamb, basted in cacao balsamic and served with veg and roast garlic mash (gorgeous).

Other dishes I was tempted by were the cacao marinated rib-eye steak, the fresh market chowder and the alternative pearl barley scotch egg.


For dessert, I had to go for one of my all-time favourites – the Rum Baba, which came with a sizeable serving of St Lucian golden rum to pour accordingly.


We couldn’t pass up the Chocolate Genesis either, described as “the whole epic story from the beginning”. Split over two plates came truffles, pralines, chocolate bars and a shot of drinking chocolate, accompanied by coconut water to cleanse the palate after each tasting. Epic it was.


The restaurant is on the second floor of the Rabot establishment, and overlooks the bustling Borough Market and *claim to fame* Bridget Jones’ appartment.

The ground floor is home to the cafe/bar, which serves lethal rum cocktails and roasts their own cocoa beans daily, and the shop, which sells everything from cocoa pesto to cocoa pasta to cocoa gin to slabs of 70% dark chocolate.

Enough to make you loco for cocoa.




The details:

Location: 2-4 Bedale Street, Borough Market. Tube: London Bridge.

Opening times: 6:30-10/11pm depending on day. Also open for lunch.

Prices: starters approx £8, mains approx £20, desserts approx £7.

To view the full menu and website, click here.

The restaurant is also working on building a balcony to be opened for summer months, overlooking Borough Market.