Tag Archives: borough market

Step Twenty-Eight: dinner at cocoa restaurant Rabot 1745

7 Dec

IMG_0774

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.

IMG_0714

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.

IMG_0722

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.

IMG_0772

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.

IMG_0737

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.

IMG_0734

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.

IMG_0739

IMG_0718

IMG_0741

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.

Step Twenty-Five: Maltby Street food tour

12 Nov

IMG_0168

London’s street food scene is mushrooming, and for the real London foodie in the know, Maltby Street market is a must.

While Borough market has a well-established devoted following, and is famous for certain stalls (the raclette), Matlby in Bermondsey isn’t as well known which makes it even more intriguing.

IMG_0124

In terms of appearance, it isn’t the typical food market. Stall after stall line both sides of the narrow street but some back into old warehouse spaces under arches, making them look even more makeshift and quirky. The planks and old scaffolding behind the stalls look a little unstable, but traders have embraced it all and use them as shelves to prop up bottles and hang sign boards from.

IMG_0113

On the Saturday morning that we went, we had to walk single file at times – it get’s that busy. Some people were already enjoying a tipple from bartenders serving drinks from a dresser, while the other option for diners was to take their food to an eating area in an antiques shop, and sit among old bath tubs and sinks. Trendy, but without the East Landan trendos.

IMG_0129

Food options on offer – smoked salmon, pastrami bagels (ultimate Jewish soul food), hummus and beef stew, fillet steak sandwiches and more, and moving onto the sweet stuff – cookies, waffles, French tarts and the like.

IMG_0143

Apart from the food stalls, some well-established businesses have set up shop permanently in the old warehouses, like Bea’s of Bloomsbury and St John’s Butchers, hinting that Bermondsey is well up and coming in London’s foodie revolution. The eateries were already packed by the time we got there, so I’ll definitely be going back for the half-restaurant, half-warehouse dining experience.

IMG_0101

And after the nibbling and eating, we walked around the antique shops which have the most bizarre finds on offer, including a headstone for Simon Cowell that was taken from the London Dungeon.

IMG_0099

Maltby Street is intriguing, and you wouldn’t know it was there unless you were directed. It’s within walking distance of Borough market, which is where our tour, led by funnywoman and guide Emma Parker of Coutours, started.

We were led round the stalls and given tastings, starting off with our morning bread and moving on to explore the raclette, oysters and more.

IMG_0076

The tour isn’t just a case of dine and dash though. At each stop, Emma imparts her wisdom and shares the “secret history” of London’s street food. Who knew fish and chips were a hybrid creation from Ireland and Portugal, and that oysters were the first, and very cheap, example of street food?

IMG_0079

Tours are available to guests staying at Presidential Apartments, luxury suites in Kensington, with pick-up at the apartments, then heading to Borough and then Maltby.

Tour prices: £28pp for minimum two people, or £75 for a family of two adults and up to three children.

Tour times: 10am-1pm.

Call Emma on 07934781 056 to book your place.

IMG_0141

IMG_0150

IMG_0151

IMG_0165

IMG_0135