Imagine a restaurant where chocolate in one form or another appears in absolutely everything you order.
Well, Leeds’ Hotel Chocolat Roast+Conch offers exactly that – so when I received an invitation to a special tasting event, I jumped at the chance (as any chocolate lover would, I’m sure).
Upon arrival, I decided to explore Roast+Conch restaurant as I hadn’t been inside it before – I’d only previously been to Hotel Chocolat shop adjoining it to buy Jake some extra special choccies for Christmas. Roast+Conch is set across two floors with a bar on each, and the decor is dominated by elegant teak wood – an obvious nod to the ingredient this restaurant champions.
I was presented with a menu of cocktails, all of which contained cacao. My penchant for salted caramel meant my eye was automatically drawn to the salted caramel soother. Containing Chairman’s Reserve Rum, amaretto, coconut milk, cocoa bitters and salted caramel chocolate, this was a the quintessential dessert in a martini glass.
Next came the canapes- small squares of banana bread topped with a light chocolate mousse, cocktail sausages with a sticky cocoa glaze and cured smoked salmon topped with an unusual and potent gin jelly. Light, fresh, delicious… intoxicating!
The cocktails didn’t stop with the salted caramel soother. Next I ordered ‘Northside’, which contained cocoa gin, blackberries, mint and lime. This fruity twist on a traditional Mojito provided a sweet, sour burst of flavour – a real contrast to the thick syrupy cocktail I’d just finished. Finally, as an eternal fan of the espresso martini, this was the next drink I ordered and it didn’t disappoint. Foamy, slightly sweet, with a hit of strong espresso.
I’ve been to chocolate cafes before, my personal favourite being the Australian chain Max Brenner. Jake and I could be found in there on many a lazy sunday devouring a chocolate fondue for two. But Roast+Conch is no run of the mill chocolate cafe. It’s a sophisticated restaurant and bar that has cleverly interwoven cacao into all of its food and cocktails.
I can’t wait to go again to try a full three courses…