A little bit of St Lucia came to London’s Borough Market this morning. A new chocolate shop, bringing a little warmth to a rather cold spring day.
If Rabot Estate sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the name of Hotel Chocolat’s plantation on the West Indies Island. The new shop aims to bring the best of the Estate’s cacao directly to heart of London’s foodie district. But this is no ordinary Hotel Chocolat shop.
The decor is rustic to say the least. The place is furnished with tables and display cases apparently made from unfinished offcuts of wood, while barrels, packing containers and cacao sacks are strategically placed throughout.
The products on sale are primarily Rabot Estate branded – broken slabs in a wide range of flavours, stuffed into plastic bags seems to be the main order of the day. But there’s also a lot of Hotel Chocolat branded products on sale as well. Although they’re trying to create a distinct brand and image for this venture, it’s good to see they’re not completely hiding their Hotel Chocolat roots.
The Rabot Estate is also a cafe of sorts, selling a variety of simple cacao-based dishes and drinks, both sweet and savoury. The non-cacao ingredients for all the dishes are all sourced from the market itself, which is a nice touch. Everything I tried was delicious, but the unsweetened cacao tea was a particularly useful pick-me-up given the weather.
It’s the cafe-aspect that’s the most exciting for me. I’ve got a few samples of the packaged chocolate that I’ll be reviewing soon, but I think it’s the freshly prepared dishes that are going to get people coming back regularly. I’m looking forward to paying another visit in a couple of months to see how things have developed.
You can find the Rabot Estate shop on Stoney Street in Borough Market, close to London Bridge Station. Here’s a handy map, if you’re planning on visiting.