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  • AARUSHI JAIN

Beary Very Chocolatey Hot Chocolate

Disclaimer : Please keep a bar of chocolate next to you as you read this or you might risk hyperventilating and dropping your sugar levels


Most of what I write on I am passionate about. I don’t choose things to talk about before visiting. I experience life and blog on what I feel excited to share with the world. This allows me to not do any prep beforehand. But to compose this piece, not gonna lie, I had to put in work - I had to come out of my sugar fast and ensure I satiated my sweet tooth itch or there was no way I could have knocked this one out.


When I was living in London in 2018, on a particularly cold evening, I walked into a coffee shop to grab some hot chocolate, my favourite warm beverage, not knowing that this visit was going to cause me a huge lifelong conundrum. Most places that sell hot chocolate tend to mix cocoa powder in warm milk. For extra jazz they add marshmallows, cream, sugar, sprinkles or even ice cream. The cafe I walked into is called Said Dal 1923 and they do not add any of these toppings, yet have you hooked on the first cup ensuring every other place’s hot chocolate post experiencing theirs feels like a compromise. Said melts actual chocolate produced in their Rome factory to make the most chocolatey hot chocolate. Imagine drinking molten chocolate, the kind you dip your churros in or dip the cakey part of your choco lava cake in. Are your lips watering yet? Well hold the drool. The cup of their hot chocolate is usually dripping with dipping chocolate, ie, extra, slightly thicker chocolate you can dip your warm chocolate in for an extra dose of satiation.


Gainduja Hot Chocolate with Triple Drip (Source : Author)

  Gainduja Hot Chocolate has a molten pudding like texture and taste (Source : Author)


Said Dal is based out of Rome, where they have their factory and a cafe. This factory exports its priced chocolate products to its cafes in Dubai, Doha, Riyadh and London (few years ago the 2 cafes present in London were renamed as Italian Bear chocolate). I’ve visited 3 of their outposts, 2 in London, one in Dubai and I’ll speak about my experience borrowing from all three. What I realised from these visits was that from the interiors to the menu to the taste, there were no differences between all three so I am safely assuming the other outlets are no different either.


   Said Dal 1923 at City Walk, Dubai (Source : Author)


RESERVATION

Since Said is a cafe, and that too on an off road In London, not the main one, despite being very in demand, there was never too much waiting. The Dubai ones had no waiting at all. So I don’t think you really need a reservation. But if you’d still like to make one, you can do so online.


INTERIORS

All branches of Said have rustic interiors. So much so that the seats don’t even have cushioning over the wooden chairs. There are picnic style wooden tables. But this is not to say the interiors haven’t been done or paid attention to. There have never been any stray nails or sharp edges. The walls have beautiful utensils and chocolate making elements on display. The bakery counter is always well done and well lit. The sofas are comfortable and seating despite being placed very close to increase capacity, never feels too tight or intrusive. The table sizes are generous and often seem good for community style sharing.


AMBIENCE

From what I’ve observed, Said mostly always has a younger (20s to 40s) age set of people. There is rarely any morning coffee or an office goer crowd. People usually come here to hang out for a cup of chocolate or to have brunch. So the vibe is almost always sweet, slow and relaxed. Both Said in London and at City Walk had outdoor seating as well though at both places they weren’t as ideal as the indoors.


SERVICE

Said is one of my favourite place, one I never skip on anytime I’m in the same city. Like a cult leader I’ve turned several people into followers and would recommend it to any open ear. But that being said, I have never liked the service at any of the Said outlets. For some reason, the attendants are always rude and couldn’t care less about your reviews or comments. They do a great job at taking the order and bringing you your order, but don’t expect extra advice or sunshine smiles.


FOOD AND MENU

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. This pretty much sums up the food at Said. Though the menu contains almost all typical cafe food as well such as pizza, sandwiches, pasta, eggs, and more, but most tables generally always only have the infamous hot chocolate and various chocolate based desserts, which to me makes sense, since that’s their best part anyways. Literally. Since the time my brother and I ate garlic knots at City Walk, we both got sick soon after. But do not let that deter you. It has never stopped me because their hot chocolate with triple drip is literally heaven in a cup. Do try their gianduja version, ie, the hazelnut one, for an even gobsmacking time. Whether you like your chocolate milky, sweet, or dark, you can pick the drips and the flavours so any and all kinds of customisation is possible. Another favourite of mine is their chocolate covered strawberries. Their signature chocolate cake is comfort food and most of their chocolate based desserts are sinful. You can rarely go wrong with anything chocolatey you choose to order at Said.


  Chocolate Covered Strawberries (Source : Author)

    Chocolate Cookie Dessert (Source : Author)

   Garlic Knots (Source : Author)


Even though I am aware of Said’s rich quality and have total faith in my taste buds, I felt very validated when my non chocolate loving friend also tried Said’s liquid gooey pudding like hot chocolate and went back for seconds. To ensure a diversified taste bud taste, my friend further took his American friend who too insisted on going back there again the next time he was in the city. For a cocoa worshipping experience, visit Said Dal wherever you can and the taste of chocolate as you know it will never again be the same.

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