[London] Rabot 1745 is a unique cocoa theme café and restaurant that provides sanctuary for those looking for the comfort and welcoming ease of chocolate.
This is especially after walking through the busy Borough Market, squeezing past large groups of people sampling produce and indulging in various bites of street food fair.
Set up by the founders of Hotel Chocolat, this place premised upon cocoa, an experimental eatery opened in 2013 to introduce the cacao gastronomy of the West Indies to British palates.
This relationship comes through in their sourcing, for it is from Saint Lucia that they grow their cacao and in Borough that they roast their beans.
Rabot even has the aesthetic of a Saint Lucian plantation house, albeit I imagine, significantly more pristine and decorous.
Their Rabot estate, from which the name of the café is inspired, dates back to 1745 and thus expresses to be the oldest cocoa estate in Saint Lucia.
Largely wood panelled and with interiors sedate with myriad shades of brown, it almost seems as if the whole place is edible – a monument of and to chocolate.
The versatility and intrigue of Rabot is made immediately clear as soon as you enter.
While some dive into the various dishes that use cocoa as a spice in cuisine, others treat the place as a café, drinking warm chocolate and chatting over chocolatey confections.
Almost everything within seems to grab your attention: from the staff members working deftly with products, the liquid chocolate rolling in a large vat, the dark roasted beans in trays under the counter, to the incredible piece of chocolate craftsmanship in Iggy Coco that sculpture of a large iguana, Rabot gives true meaning to the phrase ‘feast your eyes’.
Sitting on one of the high tables I enjoyed the lively atmosphere of Rabot with a delicious classic hot chocolate (£3.50), creamy and smooth, offering a persuasive light silkiness that prevents you from finding it too sickly.
Their millionaire’s shortbread (£3.00, SGD6.34) that arrived invitingly to the counter when I entered was impossible to pass up. The brittle chocolate on top was of the perfect thickness, providing that hard contrast to the soft gooeyness of the caramel and the crumble of the shortbread.
While I tend to visit Rabot more as a café, you will find its terrace is a pretty spot to grab dinner or indeed a drink from their bar.
It is that special place for chocolate lovers that warrants a visit when in and around the Borough Market area.
Rabot 1745 Borough Market
Borough Market, 2-4 Bedale St, London SE1 9AL
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm (Everyday)
Google Maps – Rabot 1745
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* Written by DFD’s London Food Correspondent Leander Dias SaltyCritic. Leander Dias was born and raised in Dubai, a burgeoning city with diverse food culture. Since moving to London to read for his English MA at UCL, he has utterly immersed himself in the local food scene, writing extensively about everything he eats everywhere he goes. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.