I met my friend Dorothy for lunch last weekend. Dorothy has been to Rabot 1745 previously, but it was my first visit, although I had heard about it from an email I’d received from Hotel Chocolat. I’d heard good things about this restaurant and was quite fascinated by the chocolate theme so was very happy when Dorothy suggested going there.
The first thing for me was that the restaurant is in Borough Market. I haven’t been down there for years, and it is much changed since my last visit. The market’s website (which is worth a visit in itself, http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk) describes the market as “London’s most renowned food market,” and I can certainly see why, with it’s featured recipes and featured traders. What an excellent way to get people to know what’s going on and to engender customer loyalty. We didn’t have a good look around the market on this visit but I think we may have to meet earlier next time, just so that we can do that. Another blog post methinks.
When we arrived at the restaurant we received a hearty welcome from the maitre d’ as we walked up the stairs. It was a lovely day and we were given the choice of sitting inside or out of the terrace. We chose the terrace. They initially seated us under an outdoor heater but it was way too hot for me so we moved down a bit, to a corner table, overlooking the market. It was really a lovely place to sit, better than the first table as the market was really buzzy on a Saturday lunchtime and I could get a good view of what was going on.
We had a delicious meal topped off with a rather lovely South African Chenin Blanc, although I have to confess to not being able to finish my main course (as it was just chicken that I left, it made a little treat for my girls when I got home). I didn’t even consider dessert. Our waiter was very charming and somehow, we ended up talking about cats and showing him photographs of them (Dorothy is also a cat slave).
All in all, a very civilised way to spend a lunch time. I’d very happily go back there again. It wasn’t overly expensive either. How come a company that makes luxury chocolates went into the restaurant business?
The idea for the restaurants started back in 2010 when the founders of Hotel Chocolat had finished restoring the Rabot Estate Cocoa Plantation in St Lucia, and whilst having a little tipple of the local rum, they decided they would build a hotel and restaurant in the grounds of the estate.
Two years, and no doubt several rums later, the first restaurant, Boucan, opened in St Lucia. Although some of the dishes do contain chocolate (in Rabot 1745, they do a white chocolate mash, which I wish I could have justified trying but my main course had sweet potato) the founders are very keen to say that the food is not all about chocolate, it is about cacao.
Rabot 1745 opened in 2013, around the same time as they opened their flagship restaurant in Leeds. Hmm, two more restaurants for me to try then.
© Susan Shirley 2016