Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right London’s best hot chocolates

London’s best hot chocolates

Forget mulled wine or spiced cider, the perfect – and wonderfully indulgent – drink for winter is a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

By Time Out London Food & Drink |
Advertising

January 2019: For those who want to indulge, we’ve added The Parlour at Fortnum & Mason, Le Pain Quotidien (a French bakery/patisserie chain that does things the old way), and the calming, restorative Nordic Bakery in Soho. We’ve also included a few places for all you clean-eating, wellness types: Aprés Food Co in Farringdon, Aussie-owned Farm Girl in Notting Hill, and pretty-pretty plant-filled Palm Vaults in Hackney. Finally, something completely different: Jim’s Café, a biker-themed greasy spoon down Homerton way.

From marshmallow-topped and cream-covered concoctions to seriously challenging brews (80 percent dark, anyone?), London has a selection of hot chocolates stupendous enough to warm anyone’s cockles in these winter months. We’ve tasted our way around the city’s finest chocolatiers and bijou cafés to find you the best.

Restaurants, Ice-cream parlours

The Parlour at Fortnum & Mason

icon-location-pin St James'

It’s all about cornets and coupes, sundaes and scoops at Fortum & Mason’s ice-cream fun palace, but don’t forget its ‘ultimate’ hot chocolate, served in a bespoke mug with freshly whipped cream and a magical sprinkling of its own Ruby chocolate. Cakes, savouries, boozy floats, premium teas and other treats make this beauty a shoo-in for young and old alike.

Advertising
Jael Marschner
Shopping, Specialist food and drink

Paul A Young Fine Chocolates

icon-location-pin Soho

A bubbling pot of purple-brown liquid hums in the window of this esteemed chocolate boutique. Its Aztec-style drink is made without milk, using the same mixture of Valrhona 100 percent cocoa powder, 70 percent chocolate and light muscovado sugar that is contained in the take-home bags. You can also add a spice or two from the selection provided. Branches in Islington and Bank, too.

Ed Marshall
Restaurants, French

Peckham Chocolate

icon-location-pin Crouch End

A longstanding south London fave, this little shop-cum-café – just off the foodie strip of Bellenden Road and run by French chocolatier Isabelle Alaya – is adorably cosy, with ramshackle furniture, botanical wallpaper and rows of dinky sample bowls along the counter. It also sells some of London’s best hot chocolate (all from £3). The outrageously delicious salted caramel number is the biggest hit. On the more exotic side, cardamom and nutmeg or matcha green tea add zing to mugs of white chocolate.

Advertising
Jael Marschner
Restaurants, Cafés

Rabot 1745

icon-location-pin South Bank

Hotel Chocolat makes a play for street cred at this slick café-restaurant, and its hot chocolate is very good indeed – a cup of well-balanced, savoury-edged elixir guaranteed to warm the cockles (add a shot of St Lucian rum if you’re feeling extra chilly). In summer, the iced chocolate does the trick, but also try the versions with salted caramel or hazelnut.

Hot chocolate at Rococo, London
Ed Marshall
Shopping, Specialist food and drink

Rococo

icon-location-pin Belgravia

You can drink a mug of hot chocolate in Rococo’s chic Belgravia shop, but we prefer to grab a takeaway cup sprinkled with fragrant spices from its lovely little Seven Dials store. Either way, take time to gawp at the chocolate lobsters, alligators and Roald Dahl bars dotted around. Magic for the young ’uns. Further branches in Notting Hill, Chelsea and Marylebone.

Advertising
Restaurants, Ice-cream parlours

Ruby Violet

icon-location-pin Kentish Town

Superb ice cream and sorbets are Ruby Violet’s stock in trade, but this charming parlour also takes its hot drinks seriously. Intense shots of delectable hot chocolate are made from catering favourite Callebaut (the menu outlines its ethical trade credentials) and served on dinky vintage trays. The longer version (with hot, foamy steamed milk on the side) also has plenty of oomph.

Restaurants, Cafés

Said

icon-location-pin Soho

Bless this Broadwick Street branch of a long-established Rome chocolatier with its gorgeous piled-up displays, lovely presentation jars and hot chocolate bubbling from little cauldrons behind the glass counter. Customers are welcome to sit in with a cup of this thick, high-quality cocoa-rich stuff and admire the interior, which features an entire wall decorated with shiny metal chocolate moulds.

Advertising
Ed Marshall
Restaurants

Verde & Co

icon-location-pin Spitalfields

Order hot chocolate at this bijou deli/café and watch the whole process unfold. First off, a generous quantity of single-estate chocolate is steamed directly with the milk, then it’s served in capacious cups with extra hot milk on the side for anyone who finds the experience too dark. OK, prices may raise a few hackles, but the results are worth it.

After more than just the hot stuff?

More to explore

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...

Advertising