LONDON EATERIES – Rabot 1745 – A restaurant where the whole menu is based on the Cacao bean
A restaurant where the whole menu is based on the Cacao bean (the base for Chocolate)?! Is this for real? I thought this was too good to be true – or too divine for my waistline. However, not one to miss out I “painfully” dragged myself along – and wow, well does this place have surprise after surprise up its coco dusted sleeve or what? Put down that pack of M&Ms and get thee to Borough Market quick smart for some insanely inventive and totally unique cuisine!
The restaurant has been open for 2 years and is positioned on the corner of one of the main arteries into Borough market, and the perfect accompaniment to a morning or afternoons’ spent shopping. Almost like a petit four to the main course feast on the senses of borough market, if I can use that anaology. The buzzing bar downstairs is the prelude to the classy restaurant upstairs that encases you in its womb like dark walls, giving you the sense that you’re actually within a cacao bean. There is an indoor terrace that looks out over Borough Market which is also a nice aspect – somewhere you can relax and watch the hustle and bustle of the market pulsating below.
On arrival to our table we were welcomed by a few of the said cacao beans which were sat on the table for us to examine and eventually taste. A perfectly nice touch. I ate the thing whole, shell and all, which is something I was later told I wasn’t meant do – however it tasted fine to me! The friendly, waiter recommended to us some pre dinner cocktails, which we gladly agreed to try. All of the cocktails, like everything else, are based on the cacao base – and my, my they were good. I had something called a Pretty in Pink which was served in a martini glass and looked almost neon, my dinner guest had a praline soother which was sooo silky and smooth, and yes, soothing – stunning – although maybe more of a dessert option.
So to the food, for my starter I opted for the cured salmon edible flowers and cucumber gin jelly, whilst my guest plumped for the asparagus, egg, pea and mint purée. My dish was nice enough nothing spectacular, the salmon smoke taste for me could have been a little heavier, but it was beautifully presented. The asparagus dish, also presented like a work of art, however was delectable. The spears cooked to perfection and yes, well very nice indeed. My guest described it as summer on a plate – a rather pretentious description I thought, but pretty apt. We also noticed that on the table was a cacao grinder to add the raw bean grinds to our food if we wanted to. Such a quirky addition – loved it! We paired this with the house white which was a lovely Chenin Blanc – great start!
We eagerly awaited out mains with serious food envy as we watched our fellow diners dishes exit the kitchen – the portion sizes were enormous – such a rarity for London. Each dish passing us one looked like a picture of fine dining. Three cheers to the chef for presentation! I had ordered the Fillet of cod which came with white beans, tamarind and cherry tomatoes. This was again a beautifully presented mêlée of Asian flavours, however the accompanying spinach tasted a little over salted, and perhaps the tamarind was a little heavy. Otherwise, I thought, a thoroughly lovely dish. My guest’s slow roasted saddle of lamb was perfect, and he’d wolfed his whole dish down without taking a breath. His white chocolate mashed potato was an enigma though, with neither of us being able to decide if it worked or not.
Despite not being able to fully finish my main due to the generosity of the portions, we finished on a perfectly executed chocolate lava cake with ice cream, and I plumped for cheese. The cheeses were Stilton, a lovely, creamy Lancashire and fairly ordinary Brie, all accompanied by buttery biscuits and delicious fruity chutney. In short, all in all, an eclectic and well executed meal.
And thus we waddled into the night, bellies full and curiosity satisfied. I really like this place, if you do fancy straying off the gastro pub or steak path, which the places around borough market tend to do so well, you could do much, much worse than to try this place out. Despite a few little things, I found this restaurant to have put a lot of thought and care into what they were doing from inception to execution. There were a smattering of things that weren’t to our personal tastes, but really, what they are doing here they are doing well, and I would go back in a heartbeat – if only to get the final decision on the white chocolate mash! A great place to treat that chocoholic in your lives.
Rabot 1745, 2 – 4 Bedale Street, Borough Market, London SE1 9AL – 020 7378 8226 http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/restaurants/rabot-1745
Heart London 5 * Review:
Emma, Heart London Magazine