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Despite losing one of its two Michelin stars in 2013, it’s business as usual at this ‘oasis of calm professionalism’. Diners continue to rave about the ‘outstanding’ and ‘sublime’ dishes devised by
superstar chef Joël Robuchon and theatrically prepared in the open kitchen attached to the sleek black and red L’Atelier. Book a seat at the counter to admire and sample beautiful, exquisitely
presented small plates defined by highly intricate flavours – from perfectly caramelised quail stuffed with velvety foie gras to roast John Dory on a subtly spiced bed of coco beans and chorizo or
the signature ‘caviar’ – delicate layers of crabmeat, lobster jelly and oscietra caviar playfully served in a tin with a tiny pearl spoon. Multi-course set menus are a great way to experience such
stellar cooking on a budget, though pitch-perfect wine matches from the ‘charming’ sommelier team are worth the extra investment. Upstairs, La Cuisine is a more natural choice for big groups or
business, but you can expect ‘meticulous service’ throughout.
One of the things I love best about London is the abundance of choice. I might go and see a musical; you might prefer classical ballet; or even an experimental dance company from Montenegro. I might choose to go and see Billy Bragg playing his singular brand of political folk music while friend might prefer to listen to Adele warble on about rolling in the deep; and yet another friend might prefer to go and hear a DJ pumping out hard house tracks at a funky club. Or (purely hypothetically, of course!) I might choose to dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant while hubby will only visit steakhouses, and another friend might prefer the many and varied pleasures of KFC. But the problem with so much choice is that it often paralyses you with indecision and instead of constantly trying out new places, you end up going over and over to the same places.That’s the only reason I can think of why I have left it seven years to venture back to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon after my initial visit back in 2006. It’s been too long – it really has. Joel Robuchon is the French chef wunderkind who famously retired at the pinnacle of his career, in possession of six Michelin stars. He launched his less formal L’atelier Joel Robuchon concept in 2003 and his London restaurant is part of this venture. Just as I remembered, you are not allowed to wander off to find your table alone but are escorted every step of the way (even in the lift) – but that is probably because the layout is so confusing, with two separate dining areas on different floors plus a basement bar...
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It’s been a while…. I know… We’ve been very busy, but what’s important is we’re back and ending the year on a high, or at the very least with a large bill.guide to MichelinLuckily, due to unforeseen circumstances, the opportunity arose to have a big blow out. We decided to pay a visit to one of London’s two-Michelin-starred restaurants, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, in Covent Garden. Naturally, when visiting a restaurant of this billing, you’d be forgiven for getting excited, having big expectations and wanting to try absolutely everything on the menu. Bearing this in mind, we decided to go hell for leather and go for the £129 10 course taster menu, to try and get a good cross section of what was on offer (although I was tempted by the £49 poached egg starter from the ‘a la carte’ menu)...
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The decor and atmosphere may be warm, casual and inviting, but the food is unapologetically Modern European with attentive, knowledgeable service to match. The amuse bouche of foie gras topped with a parmesan foam...
More from The Picky Glutton »
In the past we visited L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon restaurants in Paris and London. We’ve found the experience to be equally excellent in both cities and both experiences left us wanting more…L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon London is located in the popular West End theatre district of London and the interior is pretty theatrical and dramatic indeed. The ground floor is similar to Paris St. Germain restaurant, where guests are seated around a large open kitchen and can sit at the counter. The 1st floor is a more ‘formal’ dining area and the 2nd floor is a bar and terrace area, which I imagine is nice during the Summer. This visit we decided to check out the 1st floor (more ‘formal’ dining area).
More from FoodiesOnTheProwl FoodiesOnTheProwl »
My first visit to L'Atelier was in February, and we went to celebrate my wife's birthday. L'Atelier is the London outpost of the esteemed Joel Robuchon, and follows the format and design of a number of these outposts from Paris to Tokyo. The restaurant is set up in 3 sections, a dining area based around the kitchen, a formal dining area and a bar/garden on the top floor. We sat at the bar area around the kitchen area, the best seats in the house as you can see all the dishes being cooked and assembled As my wife is a vegetarian she chose the vegetarian tasting menu, and as it was her birthday, I chose it too so we could enjoy the same dishes together. My wife had wine to match. The sommelier gave a short description of the wine, together with its origin and reason why it matches the dish.We were sat at the counter area, able to see the kitchen in action. Unfortunately we did not take any photo's, so I only have notes based on a copy of the menu they were kind enough to provide us with.The amuse bouche was a lemon jelly, with fennel foam and tapenade, and was offered the intense aniseed flavour and aromas of fennel, a hint of saltiness from the tapenade, whilst the lemon jelly was light and refreshing.First course was La Nicoise, a lettuce heart garnished with crunchy vegetables. A flavourful dressing complimented the quality ingredients, and the lettuce stood out as a key ingredient and made this a full dish rather than just the salad it appeared on paper.Next up was La Truffe Noire, a Fuji apple and chicory salad with black truffle. We watched the chef carefully assemble the dish with tweezers, placing perfectly cut pieces of chicory and a rather amazing looking Fuji apple in a ring, before dressing it in a truffle dressing and placing truffle slices on top, covering the perfect circle of chicory and apple. The truffle was fresh and highly fragrant, and went brilliantly with the exceedingly fine chicory and apple. I adored this dish, even going so far as to mop up every last bit of dressing with the last of my bread.After this we were presented La Chataigne, an open bowl, with small cubes of celeriac and chestnuts placed within was placed in front of us. The waiters then poured over a chestnut veloute. The chestnuts were sweet and caramelised, yet delicately spiced, the celeriac providing a counter note, the veloute rich and absolutely packed with flavour. This dish blew us away, a perfect balance of sweetness, spiciness and richness.The next course was L'Oeuf. A cocktail glass with an egg cocotte, topped with mushrooms and a wild mushroom cream. The very soft baked egg went perfectly with chopped mushrooms, and mushroom cream. My wife is not keen on very soft egg, but was surprised that the runny white and yolk worked so well.Following this was meant to be Fregola Sarda, the toasted Sardinian pasta, but the fregola was not available. Instead we were given a bowl of vegetables with Parmesan foam and parsley foam. This dish was a revelation, with cavelo nero, and cute little crescents of swede and turnip covered in two types of intense foams. The disappointment of missing our on another truffle dish was forgotten as the vegetables were so delicious, each mouthful of fresh perfectly cooked vegetable coated in a rich buttery foam.Lastly was Les Spaghetti. This was spaghetti with tomato sauce and cherry tomatoes. Possibly the weakest dish of the lunch, and whilst was one of the best spaghetti pomodoro's I've ever had, and flawlessly executed, it didn't quite blow me away compared with previous dishes. Pre-dessert was a shot glass of vanilla panna cotta topped with chestnut puree and a piece of gold leaf. I love the dish, it's only a few mouthfuls but the combination of creamy pana cotta and intense sweet chestnut works really well.Finally a pear dessert. This was pears, chocolate mousse, pear mousse and a particularly marvellous pear sorbet. It's not as heavy as it might seem, and the pears were sweet and provided the texture with the chocolate and mousses.Both desserts were fine ending to a spectacular meal.With 3 standout dishes of La Truffe Noire, Le Chataigne and the vegetable dish, this tasting menu was probably one of the finest I've had, especially as it did not have any expensive ingredients like caviar and foie gras, but relied on the quality of vegetables and the terrific execution and design of the dishes themselves to raise some simple ingredients into a feast I will remember for a long time. L'Atelier de JoÃ«l Robuchon
More from Edesia Is Hungry - Food of the Gods »
Lovely lunch at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. We had a seat on the Indian rosewood counter which surrounds the kitchen, and gives a perfect view on dishes preparation and the vegetal wall, then we went to the Bar & Terrasse to savour our desserts. Atmosphere of the two rooms was very nice but a little bit too much red and black in my opinion...
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