L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (London, UK)
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
13-15 West Street
London WC2H 9NE
Dining date: 5/25/12
I arrived in London pretty early on a Friday morning upon the completion of a red-eye flight from Mumbai. One of my friends was working and another would be arriving later in the morning, so I was on my own for lunch. After thorough research, I chose this place: chef Joel Robuchon’s lone UK restaurant and a 2-star Michelin.
I’ve been to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon a few times to two locations: Paris and Las Vegas. The former was one of my most memorable meals to date. While part of me wanted to try something new and London-specific, this branch drew me in. Much of it was due to the casual atmosphere and counter seating; since I was dining alone I felt much more comfortable in this environment.
While I was tempted to do the full tasting, the £125 menu translated to $200, way more than I wanted to spend. Plus, I didn’t want to over-eat; 14 courses at The Fat Duck were waiting for me at dinner. A 4-course £40 lunch option sounded like a pretty good deal for London standards, and much more manageable for my stomach. I put my hands in the server to guide me through some of the restaurant’s more popular dishes.
Seats at the counter provide a full view of the kitchen (awesome!), a staple at all of Robuchon’s Atelier establishments. I could easily see Executive Chef Olivier Limousin slice off a few slivers of jamon iberico for my first course.
foie gras cappuccino
The kitchen sent out an amuse bouche to start with. The light custard inside was pretty light with a strong foie gras flavor. A thin layer of a port wine reduction provided sweetness to complement the rich liver flavor.
les asperges blanches warm salad of white asparagus with nuts and ‘iberian’ ham
This was an interesting myriad of flavors on a plate from the rich fatty ham, sweet caramelized hazelnuts, peppery arugula and a cool mustard seed vinaigrette. Surprisingly sweet and juicy asparagus was at the center of the mix of well-balanced flavors.
l’oeuf soft boiled egg on a “piperade” with parsley oil
As expected, the poached egg was cooked perfectly, breaking apart and running over the rest of the plate with a gentle poke. To absorb the yolk, the egg was placed atop a sweet piperade of tomatoes, green peppers and onions. I thought the mix of flavors was a good one, while a little bit of parsley oil provided another dimension of flavor.
le cabillaud roasted cod bouillabaisse style; mashed potatoes; carrots and fennel with tumeric
I went with this cod bouillabaisse as my entree, and the kitchen graciously gifted two additional side dishes. The cod itself was moist and flaky, delicious when dipped into the rich saffron and shellfish-flavored sauce. I loved the mashed potatoes, something I’ve often requested at any Joel Robuchon restaurant. They’re just so rich, creamy and decadent…some of the finest mashed potatoes I’ve had. A vegetable side of carrots and fennel with tumeric was another strong side, making this dish feel almost healthy.
le chocolat-tendance creamy manjari chocolate, bitter chocolate sorbet and oreo cookie crumb
Finally, I went with this chocolate dessert. Layers of chocolate were presented in this cup, with the creamy manjari chocolate at the forefront. There were small crunchy chocolate balls dispersed throughout; I enjoyed the textural crunch but found them to be overbearing at times. Overall I initially liked the dessert but quickly found it slightly one-note and tiring.
In all, I had a very good lunch at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. I wouldn’t say it reached the highs of the meal I had at the Paris outpost, but that was a completely different meal (given that it was the tasting menu at dinner). Execution was top-notch and the atmosphere fun and convivial, it’s always fun to be able to watch and interact with the kitchen. It was an excellent start to my stay in London…dinner on this evening would be even better.
I’m so excited about your fancy London eats! I ate fish and chips and shawarma. LOL.
There’s just one (maybe two) fancy eats left. Haha I’m kinda sad I didn’t get any fish and chips though…love that stuff.
Looks like a beautiful meal Darin. Too bad the dessert wasn’t up to par. I hate ending a meal like that. My London eats were also fish and chips. LOL
Personally, I would’ve gone for some fish and chips! You’re so fancy, Darin. Can’t wait to read about that other place you hit up 😉
That meal deserves some additional time spent on it! Stay tuned..
Can’t wait to read more! I will be going back to London for the Olympics (first a stop in the Netherlands and Belgium). I studied abroad in London a few years ago, but pinched pennies by eating potatoes and yogurt from Sainsbury. This time I hope to try nicer establishments 🙂 Any recommendations for good eats ($ – $$$) would be greatly appreciated!
I wish I could’ve spent more time exploring London for more eats – do try Oddono’s if you do find yourself nearby one of their locations!
Thank you so much for this blog about our set lunch and we appreciate your comments.
We change our set lunch menu on weekly basis and do hope you would join us again to sample the new offerings on your next trip in London.
Hopefully we have something more exciting for you on the dessert selection.
Marketing & Communications Manager
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon London
Thanks for the heads up!