Have you ever seen the film Chocolat? It came out half a lifetime ago, my lifetime (woman, I’m old!!!) I haven’t seen it in ages but I always think about it when I walk past Hotel Chocolat in Leeds. I love chocolate but I’ve never actually tried it in savoury food before, only plain and in bakes. Ever since the film, I’ve wondered how it would taste and finally I found out. Now, it might not be incorporated in the same was as the film but Hotel Choclat has an extended menu with dishes all including chocolate in one way or another.
When my mum came to visit we went out for food a lot (I’ve already shared our afternoon tea experience) and one of the places I wanted to try was Hotel Chocolat. I’ve only heard great things about this place so what better opportunity to go when my mum was here? As Saturday’s can get really crammed, we decided to pre book a table for an early slot. We got a fab table by the window, a booth big enough for four people but I like to spread out so it fit us perfectly. As none of us had been before we got a quick run through of what the idea behind Hotel Chocolat’s restaurant is all about and we also got to try the chocolate beans raw which they use in all their cooking. Because it’s quite bitter, it works well in savoury food and it all made sense to me then. I was worried having to get a sweet aftertaste.
To make the most of our experience, we decided to share lots of starters and sides instead of ordering two full on dishes from the main course options. We did our own tapas version so we got a good variety of dishes to try and they all worked really well with the carafe of rosé wine. We even shared two desserts to finish us off. On serving, all dishes looked very small but we were nicely fed at the end of the night so no need to worry you won’t be full after a “starter” meal here. We could taste the chocolate in all the dishes but it was in no way overpowering, just an subtle spice. Full menu can be found here and below, what we picked from it. Doesn’t it all look almost too pretty to eat?
Globe artichoke with new season broad bean mousse
Cacao gin cured salmon, gin jelly, apples and elderflower
Balsamic cacao glazed rabbit and smoked bacon roulade, poached apricots, almond crushed cacao breadcrumbs
Crispy pulled pork and cacao crust croquette, pork crackling and peppered apple, rosemary and nib marmalade
White chocolate mash & Creole spiced cheese glazed corn on the cob
Passion fruit posset, poached pineapple shaved frozen with chocolate and cacao nib sable
White chocolate, citrus and summer berry cheesecake and ginger spiced biscuit, summer berry prosecco jelly, cacao pulp-soursop sorbet
I’d love to come back to try more dishes but also their brunch menu AND café. Have you ever been to Hotel Chocolat for food? What do you recommend?