Chocolate Fish

Just another lovely Wellington coffee...

Just another lovely Wellington coffee…

Years ago I spent the day with my friend’s boyfriend driving around Wellington’s coastline. We were both alone in a new city and were getting to know each other. Said friend’s boyfriend is now said friend’s husband and thank heavens he’s still talking to me because I made a real faux pas on our way to get coffee at Chocolate Fish, a Wellington institution.

Chocolate fish has moved locations since that fateful drive and I doubt that D will ever go with me there again as he spent the afternoon sulking into his diet coke, the sulking of which one still takes full responsibility for.

Not a bad view!

Not a bad view!

We were talking about aspirational plastic surgery. Like what you’d get done (or would you even consider going there) if you had the means to pay for it. D (who happens to be exceptionally good looking, HI D!) said that he’s always fancied a chin tuck. I stupidly said that I used to think I needed a chin tuck but then lost loads of weight through running and didn’t need one anymore. D went silent. I went “BUT YOU, you would never need one as YOU LOOK GREAT!”

And while he unnecessarily counted calories, I scoffed down what must have been a fantastic bit of cake as I’ve wanted to go back ever since that day in February 2007.

So much good fish!

So much good fish!

I had heard Chocolate Fish has moved to Shelly Bay, the old Air Force base which my dad has fond memories of. I was a bit nervous to go there in fear of shattering a great memory of its old location but Mr Man and I picked a super quiet Monday morning after dropping the kids at kindy (life was so awesome when we were in between jobs~) and had a lovely little brunch there.

Just one of its many seating areas

Just one of its many seating areas

Apparently on the weekends Chocolate Fish is mega busy (in a good way, there’s so much space in this cafe its not funny) but we were the only ones there, hence we got some very fresh seafood for our brunch, Mr Man choosing this unique scallop, bacon and black pudding burger, me going for classic Kiwi whitebait fritters. Plus the usual flat whites which still have yet to let us down anywhere in Wellington.

Mr Man's burger

Mr Man’s burger

Whitebait fritters

Whitebait fritters

Mr Man’s scallops went great with his black pudding and bacon (but bacon makes everything good!), offset nicely with a salad that included shavings of pear alongside. I loved my whitebait fritters, happy with the ratio of a lot of whitebait to not too much in the way of egg overkill.

The view was gorgeous, we were even happy to endure the wind in our hair while eating some really fresh seafood. If we weren’t trying desperately to avoid receiving a gluttony badge then brunch would have been followed by one of their yummy looking cakes, but cake is just going to have to wait for a second visit so the kids can ride some of the many bikes supplied for them, isn’t it?

Lots of baked goods...

Lots of baked goods…

Chocolate Fish can be found at 100 Shelly Bay Road, Mauapia, Wellington 

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Ed thoroughly enjoys his ramen at Shoryu Liverpool Street

Shoryu Liverpool Street

Shoryu Liverpool Street

The thing about living and eating in London is that everyone seems to know the very best place to find a particular cuisine.

Now, whilst these ‘best’ recommendations are all very well meaning, it does mean it can get confusing as to which really is the greatest.

Now, with Shoryu, I make no claim to say it is the best in London as it is actually the only Japanese ramen house I’ve actually been to.

My review is based more on the fact that I’ve been there over and over again.

Nice cold beer

Ice cold beer

I encountered the Regent Street branch quite by chance when I was hungry on a Sunday afternoon in the centre of town.

I was presented with a great big bowl of steaming broth, perfectly flavoured and packed full of thinly-sliced pork.

On different visits I tried different styles of ramen until I reached the point where I now order the same dish over and over again.

My tip – go for the chicken curry ramen with thick noodles – you won’t be disappointed.

Chicken curry ramen

Chicken curry ramen

As sides, the Shoryu buns and gyoza are also excellent.

Having visited Shoryu’s new City branch, just behind Liverpool Street Station, I was compelled to write in glowing terms.

Slightly posher than its West End counterpart (there are also restaurants in Soho and Carnaby Street which I’ve not been to), the City outlet is a lovely place to sit and eat – all wooden furniture wrapped around the central kitchen.

Again I had the curry ramen and it was just as tasty as on Regent Street.

Oh and if you fancy a drink, go for the frozen Kirin beer, served with a -5 degrees frozen whipped top in a chilled glass.

Could this be the best ramen in London? Well, possibly. But I don’t really intend to go anywhere else to find out.

Steaming bowl of ramen

Steaming bowl of ramen

http://www.shoryuramen.com/

Shoryu Ramen, 33 Broadgate Circle, London EC2M 2QS

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Filed under City of London, Eating, Food, Gentleman loves cake, London

We majorly get our brunch on at Scorch o Rama

IMG_4172

With a menu like this it was going to be a very good morning…

 

Oh Wellington, you beautiful beautiful thing. You welcomed us jet lagged over tired raggamuffins with open arms and for some reason suggested we drive out and get lost somewhere in your bays… But thankfully that random detour resulted in us having THE BEST BRUNCH EVER.

Kiwi icon...

Kiwi icon…

I’m not kidding. On this tiny little bay somewhere along the coast way out past where Peter Jackson lives, is this AMAZING CAFE. IT’S AMAZING. IT IS AMAZING.

Scorch o Rama - what sits inside is a lot of people enjoying some spectacular cafe food~

Scorch o Rama – what sits inside is a lot of people enjoying some spectacular cafe food~

Nothing has ever compared to it and I’m worried nothing ever will…

On our very first proper day in this city, Mr Man and I ditched the kids and went for a drive. We told my olds we’d be back in an hour or so… Three hours later, bellies full, we re-emerged in their house with a whole bunch of family waiting for us. But we didn’t care. I had just eaten the most spectacular French toast, had two exceptional flat whites and Mr Man barely said a word apart from some food happy mumbles while he had gobbled down what he said were the most incredible eggs (The Babe Benedict as known on the menu).

Amazing French toast - certainly the best I have ever had anywhere~

Amazing French toast – certainly the best I have ever had anywhere~

Babe's Benedict

Babe’s Benedict

Scorch o Rama is set in this gorgeous little bay. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t playing nice with my photos that day but even on a grey mucky day, Scorching Bay is truly lovely.

A meh photo of a beautiful little bay

A meh photo of a beautiful little bay

I could go on and on and on about this place but I won’t. The decor is bright and fun. The service was excellent. The coffee? Perfection. And oh that French toast… THAT French toast… marscapone, berries, maple syrup, thick toast, extra bacon… a recipe for one very happy belly and a reason I’ve now downloaded the Couch to 5K running app to get me back to burning off brunches.

Well worth getting lost in Wellington’s bays for and well worth the expense ($55/£22.50 for the 2 of us but we had massive meals and 4 flat whites between us). Nothing else, though still good everywhere, has compared yet. Scorch o Rama, you certainly have set the standard.

A very happy lady...  and cute dog doing a photobomb.

A very happy lady… and cute dog doing a photobomb.

Scorch o Rama can be found in Wellington’s Scorching Bay. You’ll see the cars parked along the beach front before you see it, but I can guarantee it is worth finding a spot and walking back. 

Scorch o Rama, 497 Karaka Bay Road, Wellington, New Zealand

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Filed under Brunch, Coffee, Food, Wellington

La La Land…

America - home of the truly awesome.

America – home of the truly awesome.

Lady Loves Cake is about to turn into a tale of two cities – the world’s coolest big capital aka London, and Wellington, the world’s coolest little capital that punches well above its weight in terms of fun. But before we move forward, let me tell you about a little excursion I took to California where we stopped for a week to break up the flight between these two most excellent capitals…

Having both been to Los Angeles multiple times, we decided to just use this as a stop to chill and just enjoy ourselves – sleeping, eating, keeping the kids busy, sleeping and eating. That’s how we roll and it worked for us once again.

Good motto!

Good motto!

Mr Man had done his research before we left. He knew I’d have Shoreditch withdrawal so made sure we found decent coffee when possible and specifically looked for hipster hangouts.

We found that in the form of Pasadena – the land that hipsters go to retire or join the mainstream. It’s a cool suburb and one that definitely kept us occupied. Though I don’t see us visiting there time and time again, it worked for us this time, however, as Londoners used to walking everywhere, in car friendly LA we certainly got some spectacular looks as we pushed our kids along Pasadena’s massive boulevards without another pedestrian in sight for miles. Apart from a ride from the airport to Pasadena in a lovely SUV courtesy of Blacklane* we did an awful lot of walking but despite the looks, loved soaking up that Southern California sun…

This is what I call an excellent retired hipster joint:

Jones Coffee

Jones Coffee

Jerry Seinfeld took Jay Leno there in what could be viewed as Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee‘s best episode. We knew we had to find Jones Coffee as soon as we saw this:

http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/jay-leno-comedy-is-a-concealed-weapon

The coffee was good. They understood my need for a flat white, even if they did call it my hipster drink. They also did a blueberry muffin like no other… I like America and I like their blueberry muffins. God bless America and its lovely buttery blueberry muffins.

It was certainly the best caffeine-based drink we had in LA, but it took us FOREVER to walk there from our hotel. Thankfully it was a chance to soak up the lovely sun. Hello sun, I love you and missed you and now I miss you again.

We came precariously close to buying this entire set...

We came precariously close to buying this entire set…

We did a whole lotta stuff to keep our kids busy, but Lady Loves Cake is here for the old wanna-be hipster that never made it to hipsterdom (I like Boden too much) to discuss hipster places so we won’t go into keeping toddlers busy in LA (it is ace for them though). Have I said hipster too much?

The next place I got my hipster coffee was from this excellent coffee joint:

Intelligentia Coffee - the best flat whites in central Pasadena~

Intelligentia Coffee – the best flat whites in central Pasadena~

Hipster printed coffee cup and tiny spoons included. We even met a nice guy in Intelligentsia with his baby  daughter and he was so delighted to see us “club members” that he nominated me treasurer of the society of thirty-somethings who drag their children to coffee joints.

Excellent coffee again (for America, ha ha!).

Before we set off for LA Mr Man and I had planned a whole week of blog posts for you on all the independent places we ate Korean, Mexican, Pizza etc… but we kept ending up in the bland kid-friendly chains, mostly because we had no car and walking anywhere turned out to be a lot further than Google Maps let on.

But we did a LOT of shopping. I am well stocked up on J-Crew who happened to have a sale on, Forever 21, Apple goods (ok, just a new iPhone 6 but it is SO GLAMOROUS AND AWESOME) and Kate Spade, where all one could afford was a case to cover my GLAMOROUS AND AWESOME iPhone 6 which is actually now covered with a wearable Mophie battery case because the iPhone battery still sucks big time… hmph.

BLC at the Tar Pits - I though this was the skull of a direwolf but this is actually a coyote...

BLC at the Tar Pits – I thought this was the skull of a direwolf but this is actually a coyote…

Random but cool exhibitions at the Tar Pits

Random but cool exhibitions at the Tar Pits

Some of the millions of remains they've found in La Brea Tar Pits...

Some of the millions of remains they keep digging up in La Brea Tar Pits…

Then there was this amazing day thanks to my friend Ginger who I met Couchsurfing in her San Diego abode many years ago, long before we had kids (hers are proper California lads, SO CUTE!) and were all wannabe hipsters, Mr Man and I at the beginning of a 10 week trip of being backpackers who totes thought we were the only ones doing what we were doing then blogging about it…

Ginger came up from San Diego and took us to the La Brea Tar Pits in Downtown LA then onwards to see her wonderful uncle in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica

We hung out on the Pier, ate corndogs and limeade, then Uncle G took us to his favourite restaurant, a tiny Mexican family run business called La Fiesta Brava.

Best salsa ever.

Best salsa ever.

This is what you call an outstanding burrito

This is what you call an outstanding burrito

La Fiesta Brava is currently at risk of closing thanks to evil developers who want to make the most of Google moving into the area and turn the building into a yuppie hangout. This is a shame because they did the best Mexican food outside of Mexico that I’ve had.

Those were the highlights of what was a bodacious time in Los Angeles. It was chilled, super fun, I got to see Ginger again, and our bellies were always full. Plus, I got to shop at Target like three times… which was the best thing ever.

Target

Target

*Blacklane operate in cities all over the world, including London, LA, New York and Auckland. They gave us a free airport pick-up but compared really well price wise against similar companies when I checked them out. The driver was lovely and waited for ages while we cleared immigration, the car was swish and the service overall fantastic. The hotel we stayed at insisted we use their service to get back to the airport at the end of our stay but Blacklane were overall cheaper, more comfortable and felt way more trustworthy – I would use them again and definitely recommend them. 

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Filed under Cheap Eats, Coffee, Eating, Food, Moving continents, Mr Man, Shopping, Travel, Warm places

GLC grapples with his pork addiction at Bierschenke

A decent way to begin the evening

A decent way to begin the evening

I was always going to like the City of London’s bratwurst-and-beer shack that is Biershcenke, but when I discovered they import over a ton of meat from Germany each week, my love was effectively sealed.

Let me start with an important statement:

Hello, my name’s Ed and I’m addicted to pork.

It’s been a long road getting to a point where I’m comfortable to admit this, but the signs have been there for many years – my almost pathological obsession with ham sandwiches; happily using an entire pack of bacon in a single butty; gobbling all the crackling on a pork joint in a single sitting; spending four agonising months curing my own ham; owning a cookery book simply entitled ‘Pork’ which takes pride of place on my bookcase…you get the idea.

Pork shank

Pork shank

The basic premise of Biershcenke is simple – it’s a cavernous, München-style beer hall, just around the corner from Liverpool Street in the heart of the City, serving up great platters of traditional German sausage and schnitzel alongside glass tankards of Bavarian beer.

It’s light, spacious, set over two floors, decked out with the long tables and benches you’d expect, and dotted with TV screens quietly playing some obscure football matches (on this night it seemed to be whatever the German equivalent of Scunthorpe vs Preston would be).

Schnitzel and chips

Schnitzel and chips

And these long tables proved excellent for a food bloggers’ meetup, organised as expertly as ever by those nice people at Zomato.

Around a dozen of us (including some brave vegetarians) were to experience huge platters made up of various items from the extensive menu. (What’s the German for Smörgåsbord??).

The welcome was particularly welcoming – a large glass of Bierschenke Weißbier – that’s a cloudy wheat beer to you and me. This was followed with a beer tasting session with samples ranging from the light and fizzy Bierschenke Kellerbier to the dark, smoky, almost bacon-like Schlenkerla Rauchbier.

Pretzel!

Pretzel!

A basket of wonderfully soft and brilliantly salty pretzels helped the beer go down nicely, but these were quickly brushed aside when the meat arrived.

A pork shank, a whole fest of sausages, thick-cut meatloaf slices and crispy breadcrumbed schnitzels were accompanied by red cabbage, sauerkraut, bread dumplings, potato dumplings, chips and mashed potato. Pots of sweet yellow mustard and lightly curried ketchup proved perfect accompaniments to everything presented.

Two great trays in the middle of the table were quickly descended upon by the group as everyone channelled their inner King Henry VIII to devour the feast.

I couldn’t quite see what the vegetarians were eating, but frankly, who cares.

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

It wasn’t long before I was completely stuffed, but I still found room for a Bratwurst chaser.

For dessert – yes, more food – pancakes and an apple strudel hit the spot, but extra-special praise must be given to the ‘beeramisu’ – a very German take on the Italian favourite, made with Bierschenke’s own beer schnapps (which we were also to enjoy extra shots of).

And that was it. It was still relatively early as the first few of us left and waddled towards the nearest Tube.

Beeramisu

Beeramisu

London has a few German bars, notably Katzenjammers in London Bridge. While the south-of-the-river offering gives you lower ceilings and tighter space and more atmosphere, I think I prefer this new, much larger, City gem.

You perhaps wouldn’t come here for a romantic dinner for two, but as a venue to meet, drink, eat and chat noisily with friends, there can’t be much finer within the Square Mile.

My addiction still grips me.

Biershenke, 4 London Wall Buildings, London EC2M 5NT

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Filed under City of London, Eating, Food, Gentleman loves cake, London, The East End

I will never fly long haul with a toddler and baby in tow ever again.

Oh Hai! We're here to fool you into thinking we're great travel mates!

Oh Hai! We’re here to fool you into thinking we’re great travel mates!

Look at the above picture. Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths would it?

Obviously I’m the biggest champion of my two munchkins. They are ace. One of them is a legendary sleeper and while the other may wake me up three times a night and has aged me by a decade in the last five months he’s completely charming and becoming a total Mummy’s boy.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to turn this into a mummy blog – there are plenty of them out there and I could never fit in with those amazing yummy mummies who managed to lose the bulge and still indulge within a week of giving birth. I somehow manage to keep my kids clean/fed and one of them’s an excellent talker and seems to have some common sense in her so far but that’s about as far as I’ve got. They regularly wear odd socks and BLC very rarely gets her hair brushed and will never be like one of those model children from Pinterest. But they’re my bonkers little minions and I love them to bits.

I will never ever submit any of us to a long-haul flight while they are little ever again.

There is a special place in hell for us mums who could afford to pay a bit more attention to being slightly more “yummy mummy” (bleurggggh!) and that is in a tin can that somehow moves through the air, dropping you off 12 hours later.

The vessel of hell that's there for us parents who like to drag their kids to the other side of the world...

The vessel of hell that’s there for us parents who like to drag their kids to the other side of the world…

Thank heavens that hell includes a well stocked bar with unlimited alcohol these days (Mr Man’s words!). I’m not saying this just for the parents involved. I’m saying this for most people within a few rows of us. I apologised to you then and I apologise to you again now. I am so feckin sorry. I used to be that person who was horrified that people would travel with their young children and blamed the parents for their children’s poor behaviour, but let me tell you world, those parents have very little control over the demons that their cute little cherubs will turn into when confined to a seat for hours up on hours on end.

Two long haul flights in five days was a silly idea. Why didn’t we just fork out £16,000 per person and take a three month cruise to get back to New Zealand? At least then they would have had room to run around. Instead we were confined to three seats and a bassinet between four of us. Next time we head to the UK we could probably do it on foot – my two year old has enough energy in her that she’d probably embrace the challenge.

I followed everyone’s advice on making flights like this work. I even printed out the amazing Meg-Made’s guide to travelling with kids of all ages. But Meg and her daughter are angelic. I should have known months ago that BLC was never going to comply with my new found tips for on-board behaviour management. All she wanted to do was pull my head phones in and out of their plug many many times over and watch Raa Raa the Noisy Lion at full blast on the iPad, but with the headphones out of that. Meg – I’m not discounting your advice, you are a star and I just want to be you… I would also like Maddy to meet BLC and show her how its done.

None of us were amused for any of these flights.

None of us were amused for any of these flights.

I naively thought that by booking night flights both our children would sleep soundly and happily and that Mr Man and I would at least get six or seven hours of solid shut eye in ourselves! I didn’t prepare for our flight out of Manchester to be so badly delayed (sat on a plane for 2.5 hours) that neither kid would get a stretch of their legs at Heathrow and we’d hurriedly be the last four people to arrive on that next plane… meaning an overtired but under-worked BLC would have the biggest/only major toddler meltdown she’s ever had in public, and that it would happen several times throughout the 12 hour flight.

I also naively thought that by following everyone’s advice on clearing kids ears on the pressure changes that we’d be cry free from Mr Man Jr. Not so. Somehow his ears went horrid and he cried for large chunks of the flights until he eventually just went to sleep.

Then there’s meal times on a plane with a two year old…

YUCK.

YUCK.

Don’t under estimate just how many wipes one needs on one of these flights. For some reason airlines think its great to serve kids a tomato based pasta on every single flight. This greasy gunk goes EVERYWHERE except their mouths. As does anything egg-based. To the  beautiful stewardess who thought giving BLC a Cookie Time was a well meant lovely idea, I’m sure it was in your head, and it momentarily was in mine, but you then got to hear her sugar high followed by immense sugar crash – again, I am sorry. Also lovely stewardess, thank you for that third gin you brought me and kindly said “I understand you need this, I’ve put extra in it for you” wink wink nudge nudge.

After two massive long haul plus two short haul flights, I am prepared for my family to not fly further than Fiji for many years, perhaps even until they want to go backpacking around India and find themselves then run out of cash and need to borrow from the Bank of Mum and Dad. It was agony. I drank more gin on both sets of flights than I ever would on a night out, and then there was the coffee that has to match the jet lag at the other end, because one does not sleep when on a flight with a toddler and a baby nor for at least several days when one lands.

Oh coffee... you beautiful beautiful thing!

Oh coffee… you beautiful beautiful thing!

And that my friends, is a travel experience I will never do again.

Thankfully we are now in the world’s coolest little capital and there are plenty of play grounds and kid friendly coffee shops to keep us going for many years to come.

Yep, that's my brood!

Yep, that’s my brood!

This post was part of this month’s travel link up with Kelly, Emma, Rebecca and Shikha. I’ve been enjoying everyone else’s rather brilliant stories so far. 

P.S. Air New Zealand, my apologies if you’re offended in any of this, your staff were actually amazing.

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GLC checks out brunch at Hotel Chocolat

Where Bridget Jones lives!

Where Bridget Jones lives!

Before I hand you over to our favourite Gentleman who loves cake, Mr Holmes, I should probably give you a proper introduction to what’s happening here on Lady Loves Cake.

I have moved to Wellington, New Zealand – the world’s coolest little capital – and Ed remains as God’s communications manager in London and, rather fortunately, as LLC’s London editor. Essentially this is now a tale of two cities. I’m super excited to showcase the ways in which Wellington will destroy my waistline but so glad Ed has remained on board to ensure London remains the better half of LLC (in a purely platonic sense!). And now I hand you over to Ed who has been swooning over Bridget Jones’ apartment during an excellet brunch in Borough Market thanks to Hotel Chocolat.

Hotel Chocolat 

You all know Hotel Chocolat, right? Those little stores, stocked floor to ceiling with chocolatey treats that seem to catch your nose and draw you in like a pig to a truffle*.

But did any of you actually notice when the shop opened? Or when you first went to a Hotel Chocolat? No, me either.

Chocolate!!

Chocolate!!

They all just seem to have been there for, well, a while – part of our retail landscape.

Like the well-trained journalist that I am, I headed straight to Wiki to find out more.

Turns out Hotel Chocolat began life in 1988 although it was another 15 years before they got to their current name.

And, since 2006 they’ve even owned their own cocoa plantation, the Rabot Estate in St Lucia, making them the only chocolatier in the UK to do so. They even opened a hotel and restaurant there – well, you would, wouldn’t you.

The front of the cafe and shop - restaurant upstairs

The front of the cafe and shop – restaurant upstairs

The Rabot name is what I’m interested in right now as the penny has only recently dropped that Borough Market’s Rabot 1745, from where I’ve enjoyed many takeaway coffees, is actually Hotel Chocolat’s first and only London eatery.

And while the chocolate frames everything they do, there is certainly more to this place than the humble cacao bean.

Arriving an hour early and excessively overdressed on a drizzly Saturday morning, we were shown to our first-floor table, overlooking Bedale Street and the famous old Globe tavern (that you may recognise as the pub above which Bridget Jones lives).

Waiting in a shallow bowl were cacao beans, roasted on-site and ready to be husked and eaten as a very appropriate amuse bouche. Think all of the chocolate taste but with none of the sweetness or smoothness. These bitter and granular bullets are certainly not to everyone’s taste (shown clearly by the fact I ate 2 ¾ of the three beans on the table).

Cacao beans

Cacao beans

But a crisp, dry, nose-fizzing Prosecco was on hand to wash that intense bitterness away – so all was well!

And then came the Plantation Brunch menu. The temptation was to ask for one of everything, but true British reserve had us focusing on just one dish each.

Butter with cocoa nibs

Butter with cocoa nibs

Owing to too much drink and Disney on Ice the evening before, full breakfasts were quickly ordered, one meaty and one vegetarian, as well as a starter of the most deliciously plump, juicy and ripe fruit I can remember seeing.

Fruit

Fruit

The Full Plantation Breakfast was the more traditional of the two plates, with bacon, sausage, egg, mushroom and tomatoes all present.

Full Plantation Breakfast

Full Plantation Breakfast

Plantation Garden Breakfast

Plantation Garden Breakfast

The Plantation Garden Breakfast was a little bit more racy, with avocado, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and fragrantly spices lentils all making the team sheet.

Both breakfasts came with sourdough toast (doesn’t sourdough just make the most epically wonderful toast??) and butter spiked with cocoa nibs…well, it wouldn’t be right without a bit of chocolate!

What we had here were great ingredients, simply prepared and presented – why does that seem such a rarity these days?

I have to admit perhaps feeling a little regretful at not being a bit more bullish at brunch and going for something more adventurous – like the nib roast pork belly, shredded ham and cacao bubble and squeak, crispy bacon and creole chutney; or the smoked haddock nib cake, cacao gin-cured salmon, poached egg, white chocolate and horseradish cream.

Sounds good right?!

Just as we were feeling pretty stuffed, we were persuaded (pretty easily) to finish with something sweet – perhaps a brownie or some banana bread…we ended up with both – oops! Both were dense and delicious – and they defeated us. The food definitely won!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Brownie

Brownie

For tea, we were similarly reserved although in my defence I never drink any tea other than good old builders. But if you do like your tea fancy, why not go the cocoa shell infusion or the peppermint and cocoa shell.

I’m not going to beat around the bush – or potter around the plantation – here, I really, properly enjoyed brunch here. Everything felt, and tasted, just right.

Through its Rabot 1745 restaurant, Hotel Chocolat is channelling its effortless cool in a way few chain shops or restaurants can achieve.

I loved being the guest of Hotel Chocolat for brunch – it’s always a joy to be treated – but right now I will hand-on-heart promise I will go back to spend my own hard-earned cash on this little gem.

That’s easily the most ringing endorsement I can give…

*I’m not saying any of you are like pigs

Rabot 1745 can be found at 2-4 Bedale Street, Borough Market. Nearest tube is London Bridge.

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Filed under Bridget Jones moments, Brunch in London, Chocolate, City of London, Eating, Food, Gentleman loves cake, London, London cafes, Secret London