Welcome back, ladies!
I went on an extended weekend trip to London this January, because you know I can’t miss the January sales. Yes, I spent every waking minute on Regent Street or Oxford Street, and it was amazing. But this post isn’t about shopping, although still a kind of self-indulgence. My mother had booked a lunch appointment in advance at the esteemed L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, situated in Covent Garden. The restaurant is one of 12 French gourmet restaurants by Joël Robuchon, located respectively in New York, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Paris, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Montreal, Shanghai and, of course, London.
Joël Robuchon, who sadly passed away last summer, was the most decorated Michelin star chef, with a whopping 31 stars. He was also widely known as the Chef of the Century, which he was appointed by Gault Millau, the respected French restaurant guide.
Today I will share the experience with you, and at the same time, evaluate if it’s worth the visit and, not to mention, the price tag.
As we walked in, we were greeted by a young woman in a very luxurious foyer. She took our coats and after waiting a couple of minutes, we were shown to our table. We were seated at the bar, which seemed a little disappointing at first, but actually turned out to be quite interesting. The upside being, we had our waiter at hand at all times, seeing as he was always on the other side of the bar. We were also very entertained by watching all the chefs doing their thing in the kitchen, with the occasional whoop of “Oui chef!”.
First up, appetizer!
Delicate foie gras royale, parmesan emulsion and vintage port reduction
Even though we were only booked for 3-courses, this beauty was served to us before our starter. It consisted of a deliciously creamy foie gras, with some kind of parmesan foam on the top. I know the foie gras industry is absolutely terrible, and I honestly hate supporting it. But with that said, it tasted great.
Starter, coming up!
Smoked salmon tartare, marinated cucumber with gin and tonic granita
I know that gin and tonic granita looks ginormous, but trust me, it wasn’t that big. The salmon was probably the most underwhelming dish of the evening. That doesn’t mean it was bad, just that it wasn’t as good as the others. I guess I was hoping that I would be completely blown away, seeing as it’s the first Michelin restaurant I’ve been to, but honestly, it tasted like any other great salmon tartare. The highlight though was the little gin and tonic, which was basically a G&T flavoured sorbet. Amazing.
The main event (no, I’m not drooling).
Caramelized quail stuffed with foie gras with a side of truffle mashed potatoes
Let me tell you! This bird made my day. The silky smooth foie gras centre and the crispy caramelized skin, along with the amazingly flavourful sauce. It was simply exquisite. And not to mention the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted (I think it was basically 50% melted butter). If you’re a truffle lover, these mashed potatoes are what dreams are made of. And I know what you’re thinking, don’t worry, we got a whole extra bowl of it on the side.
If I close my eyes and think hard enough, I can still taste it.
Okay, back to reality. Dessert is here.
Almond cremeux with ivory chocolate and pomegranate sorbet
This was a bit interesting. Okay, let me just back up. Because we were booked for a lunch deal, we had a reduced menu to choose from, which is great if you’re on a budget. So the choice was this or some kind of fruit jazz. And I was craving something sweet, and low and behold this plate of assorted fun arrived. The little white chocolate balls were kind of like ferrero rocher, but of course, they weren’t (surprise). And the sparkly red blob was a sort of bubble with some delicious liquid in it. I mean it was all an adventure, and it tasted excellent.
All in all. If you’re fond of excellent food and service, then this is the place for you (I know this is not some shocking revelation). I will say, if you’re not loaded with cash, I would definitely recommend going for lunch rather than dinner. We, or rather, my mother ended up paying £132 for three 3-course lunches including three glasses of wine. That’s not half bad, considering how amazing the food was.
However, if you’re a picky eater, then don’t bother with the cheaper lunch alternative, because as I recall the choice was between two or three different dishes for each course, and chances are, that they may be to your liking. You can still dine there at lunchtime without the shortened menu, but it is a bit more costly.
I hope you enjoyed reading along, and that you consider paying L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon a visit!
Until next time xxx