About Time You Tried: London’s Best Savoury Chocolate DishesBy Angelica Malin
Forget everything you’ve been told about chocolate. No, seriously, forget it. Right now.
We searched the backstreets of Borough Market, the menus of Mayfair and the heights of the Heron Tower (and made ourselves feel somewhat bilious in the process) to find the best savoury chocolate offerings in the capital. Chocolate isn’t just for dessert. Don’t wait until pudding to get your sweet fix, here’s 5 savoury chocolate dishes you have to try this month:
What: White chocolate mash potato (£4) and cacao-marinated rib eye with nib spinach, french fries, rum-peppercorn sauce (£28) at Rabot 1745
Why: If you like quirky chocolate dishes, this restaurant by Hotel Chocolat is for you. The restaurant’s name is inspired by a cacao estate purchased in 1745 in the Caribbean; and chocolate flavours run through the entire menu. Repeat: the entire menu.
Eat: Sweet twists on classic starters, such as cacao balsamic, cacao-cured salmon and cacao guacamole. For mains, try the ‘Choc Au Vin’ chicken with cacao red wine sauce, or, get this, a Mac n’ Cheese in cacao nib pastry. For pudding, go all out and get the Chocolate Soup, or try the sticky toffee and cacao beer pudding. This is upside down dining as its best.
Chocolate Champion: They also do a chocolately weekend brunch menu. Cacao-glazed sausages with your fry up, anyone?
Where: 2-4 Bedale Street, Borough Market, London, SE1 9AL – book here
What: Strawberry pizza with white chocolate and basil (£7)
Why: Ok. So we’re not sure if this counts as a savoury dessert or a sweet main course, but it’s bloody amazing. The pizza at Mayfair Pizza Co. is top quality – and somehow the slightly salty dough makes this melting chocolate pizza dangerously moreish. They also offer a nutella calzone with crushed hazelnuts and marshmallows. We shouldn’t…. We want to.
Eat: Go for the double carb and get the Truffle and Porcini Mushroom Pizza (£14) as a warm-up affair. Their Florentina (£11) with a soft-boiled egg, Mascarpone, artichoke and spinach is one of the best in London. That sprinkle on nutmeg on it: total game changer.
Where: 4, Lancashire Court, New Bond St, London W1S 1EY
What: Indulgent soup au chocolat with black pepper ice cream (£7.50)
Why: This is more a savoury dessert than a sweet main course, but it’s oh so delicious. The combination of peppery ice cream and sweet chocolate is a winner – and who doesn’t like it when their pudding melts into one bowl of total chocolate heaven. Cafe Des Amis is one the classic French restaurants in Soho; it’s both patently French and cooly modern, with interesting techniques that set it apart from other French bistros in the area.
Eat: Classic French fare with that oh-so-refined touch; try a starter of Goat’s cheese with caramelised pear, and for main you have to get the duck confit with lardons and puy lentils. French, done really really well.
Where: 11-14 Hanover Place, London, WC2E 9JP
What: Chocolate & Blue Cheese Martini (£14) with Bombay Sapphire gin, dry cacao, blue cheese distillate and olive oil
Why: The incredibly creative Executive Chef at Duck & Waffle Daniel Doherty, whose first cookbook ‘Recipes & Stories’ by Octopus can be purchased here, is known for his wacky flavours combinations and interesting concepts. No stranger to the savoury chocolate dish (he once served a Foie Gras & Nutella breakfast dish, no less), this martini is fantastically strange. Featuring gin, the sweetness of cacao and just a hint of blue cheese, it’s that perfect combination of sweet and savoury that will excite your tastebuds and boggle your mind. Come for the martini, stay for the view. You can follow Daniel on Twitter here.
Eat: The Duck and Waffle, of course. Did you know they do gluten-free waffles, too? Well, there you go. They also do a Marmite cocktail with Guinness reduction and champagne, pictured above. Bold.
Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY
What: Mole Poblano (£10.95) – tender shredded chicken breast topped with a sweet and spicy mole sauce.
Why: It would be wrong to not include some Mexican food in this feature – the ultimate savoury chocolate mavericks. Mexican cuisine is famous for adding a touch of chocolate into their spicy bean and mince dishes (add a square of Green and Black’s into a Chilli Con Carne for an extra kick). At this Covent Garden restaurant they adapt a traditional mole poblano recipe from Puebla (which is made from over 16 ingredients) and add in Ibarra Chocolate and a variety of dried Mexican chillies, before serving in an Enchilada. Heaven.
Eat: Stuffed Jalapeño peppers, Tiger Prawns with salsa verde and marinated Skirt Steak with roasted tomato dressing. All washed down with some margaritas, of course.
Where: 10 Upper St Martins Lane, St. Martins Courtyard, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9FB