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|Address:||13-15 West Street, London WC2H 9NE|
|Tel:||020 7010 8600|
|Price: £81.00||Wine: £32.00||Champagne: £79.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-2.30pm 5.30-10.30pm|
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L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon is absolutely sublime. The centre of attention is and has to be the food and its preparation. Both in the upstairs “cuisine” and the downstairs “comptoir” (the original bar dining on high stools) the team in the kitchen is on full display to the diners. The professionalism, dedication and perfect results are nothing short of inspiring. There is no shouting and throwing as some biritish TV chefs would like us have believe. Here a zen-like approach is evident and the result is a pleasure to behold: a perfectly tuned haute cuisine power house, working as perfectly as a swiss chronograph. It is said that many of the ingredients are brought from France and as a result the quality of the igredients speaks for itself.
The next layer which makes this restaurant probably the best in London, is the friendliness of the staff and the apporachability of the cuisine. The waitresses and waiters are there to discuss dishes, mix and match tasting plates, starters and main courses and then the somelier will help in adding the perfect wines to one's choices. Be prepared to be surprised here, as this is a great place to discover new and wonderful wines.
There is a mother-ship branch of this restaurant, as many readers will know, in Paris. However the fact that the team are maintaining these levels of cooking and service in London for the past six years speaks volumes about the dedication of everyone involved. Mr Robuchon is said to have wanted to remove some of the stuffiness from haute cuisine dining with the concept upon which the Ateliers in Paris and London are based. It has worked. There is a slight Japanese whiff about seeing the skilled chefs at work and the wonderful tasting plates which are ideal to share, remind of very good reastaurants in Spain, but the overall restaurant with its team, its food and its service is one thing: modern french cooking at its best.