For a Friday night family gathering on the hottest day of the year thus far I was given instructions to find a restaurant where we could ‘sit in the sun’. While there’s plenty of al fresco eating in London Bridge most of it is either of the ‘eat out of a box’ or ‘suck on an exhaust pipe’ variety. So I chose to book Rabot 1745 chiefly on the basis of its balcony. While not exactly outdoors it is airy under the glass of Borough Market and gratifyingly distant from the gastronomic hordes below.
The restaurant is just one part of the operation. There is also a buzzing bar downstairs that specialises in rum and a chocolatier that sells cacao and its various products direct to the consumer. I am not passionate about chocolate, in fact I rarely even have dessert due to the absence of a sweet tooth, so I thought I would be a tough judge for a restaurant that uses chocolate in most of its dishes.
In fact the food was extremely good, both in its execution of conventional ingredients and its use of more exotic (to my palate) ingredients such as cacao, sweet potato and plantain. With dessert in mind we skipped starters and went straight into mains. I had a trio of chicken that was marinated in Bois Bandé.* I demolished it and wanted more. Fortunately we’d got some sides – green beans came plain but the mashed potato had an infusion of white chocolate truffle. Normally just the thought of white chocolate would induce nausea but while the mash was quite sweet for my taste I didn’t vom on this occasion. Which is a plus.
Wine was a crisp Viognier, reasonably priced, and while we waited for dessert we took in the atmosphere of the market as the sounds of Friday night drinker-diners filtered up to us in the iron eaves. Ok, so now comes the chocolate overload. I took a trio of mousse – three deep glasses of thick chocolate velvet flavoured with various stuff. They were all good but one would have sufficed for me. I look across the table enviously at a trio of sorbets that would have been much more to my taste.
Feeling completely in a Friday night mood I asked the waitress if they had any rum. ‘Do we have rum?!?!?’ She scuttled off and brought us a rum bible. I chose a Diplomatico at £7. After one sip I wanted the rest of the bottle. Sadly though we didn’t have all night to get ratted and I whapped it down and settled the reasonably large bill.
Passing through the busy bar downstairs we picked up some cacao nibs for home as (who knew? Not me anyway) these are the latest health thing. In chocolateyrum contentment the ride on the 141 felt like a tranquil ride through the greatest city in the world.
*Which apparently translates as ‘West Indian bush magic rum’ and hell knows we could all do with a bit of bush magic from time to time.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).