Last December I had lunch at Hotel Chocolat’s then newly-opened restaurant, Rabot 1745. It’s been on my list of things to write about since then. Oops. Now I have a renewed reason to tell you about my wonderful dining experience was, as more casual versions of cocoa savoury meals are popping up across Britain. These Cocoa Bars and Cafes are also delivered by the Hotel Chocolat brand, whose team this year are celebrating a “Decade of Deliciousness”. On August 21st Hotel Chocolat are hosting a launch party for their High Street Kensington Cocoa Bar Cafe. And I have three pairs of tickets to give away! To be in with a chance of winning you need to find the post mentioning this on Facebook and share it or find the tweet on @chocolatetours and retweet it and fill in the form below. You’ll need to also confirm your subscription to the email list (via email that is sent to you) in order for me to get a list of names from which to draw the winners from.
You can enter by post if you prefer. Send the responses from the form below to Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, 3rd Floor, 207 Regent Street, London, W1B 3HH, ensuring you include a phone number or email address to contact you.
Why do you want to come?
Well, there will be chocolate! If that’s not reason enough, there will also be Prosecco and cocoa canapés. You’ll get to taste for yourself (if you haven’t already) that cocoa (or cacao, if you will) can be enjoyed within savoury food as well as desserts, truffles and all that other good sweet stuff. I have tasted savoury cacao treats at Hotel Chocolat’s parties before and I have loved what I tried so I am sure you’ll be in for a treat at this party as well. After the success of their St Lucia restaurant (within a year it was the top rated restaurant on Tripadvisor and generously praised by food writers as well), the company’s co-founder, Angus Thirwell, was keen to replicate the delicious food in London. Angus was adamant that the restaurant should not be some novelty dining room, suitable only for the chocolate-obsessed, but to be a genuine contender for restaurant awards, including the coveted Michelin stars. Finding the right venue plagued Angus for years, leading to rumours of this impending eaterie hanging as temptation for what felt like years to those of us who had the privilege of sampling some of the savouries already. When Rabot 1745 finally opened last December I was invited me to take a guest to try it out during its soft launch. I went for lunch on a cold, dry day between Christmas and New Year and we chose a different dish each for our three courses. Within the two savoury courses, three of the four dishes were equal to anything I’ve tried in a Michelin starred restaurant. The rib of beef with white chocolate horseradish mash was a glorious, comforting dish with a perfect hit of flavour, not a skerrick of chocolate could actually be detected in its taste. My fish with cocoa balsamic was perfectly cooked and superbly seasoned. Again, not especially chocolatey, just using cocoa as you’d use salt, to bring out other flavours rather than be a too-distinct flavour on its own. To that end the restaurant also provides a third mill on each table: alongside salt and pepper is a grinder for cocoa nibs – pieces of the cocoa bean – just in case you do want to further chocify your dinner. The menu has completely changed since I went so there’s little point in me describing my dishes in more detail but I am pleased to notice that they have added warm puddings to the menu. That was my one disappointment, that a chocolate-themed restaurant didn’t have any rich, indulgent hot desserts during the winter. Now I really want to try the sticky toffee and cacao beer pudding with cacao-infused whipped cream. Or the “chocolate soup, soft meringue floating island, sliced bananas, toasted almonds, caramel drizzle”. I’ve been meaning to go back since I first went. They do a great lunch deal, but it seems for now they’ve paused what seemed like a most indulgent breakfast menu that included lobster.
Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Martini
If you aren’t able to make this party I highly recommend getting yourself to a Cocoa Bar Cafe next time you’re near one. Don’t miss the delicious in-house hot chocolate made with the chocolate conched onsite. Where can I find a Cocoa Bar Café?
- Kensington - 163 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6SU
- Edinburgh John Lewis – 7a Frederick Street, EH2 2EY
- York John Lewis - Vangarde Way, YO32 9AE
- Edinburgh - 7a Frederick Street, EH2 2EY
- Liverpool - Unit 10, 2-4 St. Peter’s Arcade, Liverpool One, L1 3DE
- Copenhagen - Østergade 13, København K, 1100
- Roast+Conch, Leeds - 55 Boar Lane, LS1 5EL
- Boston, Mass., USA - 141A Newbury Street