Tag Archives: chocolate

Step Twenty-Eight: dinner at cocoa restaurant Rabot 1745

7 Dec

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Step Twenty-Three: eat cake at Swedish bakery Bageriet

10 Sep

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Cake. Chocolate. Muffins. More cake. Sugar in general. I LOVE all things sweet. So when I heard about the new Swedish bakery that’s been hiding in Covent Garden, I immediately dashed to it.

When we walked in to Bageriet (meaning bakery in Swedish) on a mid-Friday afternoon, the cafe was empty besides the solo smiling Swedish waitress at the till, and a fully stocked counter of treats. Just how I like it. We had the place to ourselves and it really felt like sanctuary.

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It took about a good five minutes to decide what to get after asking for recommendations – this was my day off, I wasn’t going to be rushed – and we finally settled on the raspberry and coconut tart and the brioche muffin with gianduja chocolate.

Now I’ve never tried gianduja, but it’s kind of like Nutella, only better. The brioche was flaked with almonds and had a gorgeous silky chocolate centre, while the tart was just out of this world. Fresh coconut shavings mingled with bittersweet raspberry chunks, on a crisp tart base. Served next to my bowl of tea on a cold, hungover day – perfection.

It was hard to choose though. I was also keen on the gooey coconut pyramid, the dinky chocolate balls, the vanilla custard hearts, the cute raspberry caves and the traditional apple pie. Most of the counter display really. Bageriet prides itself on its cinnamon buns, so that was another option too.

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Just as we were leaving an elderly man came in and bought two carrier bags worth of goodies, and it sounded like he had made Bageriet his local. He left, and then about a minute later came back just to try the savoury sandwich cake, because it was just so intriguing and you can’t really not try it now, can you?

Princi in Soho is still top of my list for desserts, but I have to say Bageriet, which opened just a few months ago, is creeping up there too.

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The details:

Location: 24 Rose Street, Covent Garden tube.

Opening times: Mon-Fri, 9am-7pm. Sat, 10am-7pm.

Prices: sweet treats from roughly £3, hot drinks from £2.

For the full menu and to read the pastry chef’s story, click here.

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