Monday, March 22, 2010

Très Magnifique: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

"Are we going where I think we're going for dinner tonight?!" read John's email to me on Friday morning.  "Um ..." I wrote back.  "I've just noticed that it's right next to the Ivy.  I'm sorry, but we're not going to the Ivy, so to avoid embarrassment, maybe we should meet outside somewhere."  But he had figured it out already after Googling the address and was very excited.

As I got my bonus this week (which is a joke amount compared to any other bonus earned outside of publishing, but nevertheless I'm still immensely grateful), I decided to take John out to L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, which I knew he'd been dying to try (along with Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, which I'm not interested in at all - I appreciate that you can do some creative things with food, but I have no desire to try "pommery grain mustard ice cream", for example) as a surprise.

I'm not gonna lie, the £22 (for two courses, £27 for three - we went for three) set menu offer from Toptable was a deciding factor on where we'd go (I did say I got a publishing bonus, after all) but even so, I was excited to sample the swank interiors of L'Atelier after reading rave reviews of his restaurants in Paris, New York, London (and a first hand review of Tokyo's). 

We weren't disappointed.  Sitting at the counter, we were served with smooth efficiency and able to see the "cogs" of the kitchen, if you will, where the chefs coordinated themselves with precise and almost balletic movements.  The salmon tartar starter was a true explosion of flavors and our mains (haddock for me and confit of duck for John) were equally delicious.  But surprisingly, the best course was possibly the pudding, which consisted of a layered chocolate mousse for me and a selection of six mini tarts/cakes for John, ranging from apple and cinnamon to a lemon flavor so tart we could only each manage a bite.

I wasn't a huge fan of the branding and the constant reminder of where we were dining, which was stamped on everything from the napkins to the sliver of chocolate tucked in my pudding, or the music, which evoked some kind of cheesy mid-late-90's French club music - piped into my ear much like an annoying mosquito you just can't swot.  Still, it was an enjoyable experience and we will probably go back at some point for the tasting menu (£125 pp).

Photo source


  1. Jealous - that prix fixe meal sounds wonderful!

  2. It was! Though I think if I were to go back I'd go for the tasting menu, as the couple beside us had that and it looked amazing ... just mustering up the strength to spend £125 on that instead of new shoes though ...


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