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Connoisseur's Guide · Europe · united kingdom · London · Top European Restaurants by Martins Ritins

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Author: Mārtiņš Rītiņš0 COMMENTS

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

An outstanding gourmet restaurant! It takes pride in a well-earned Michelin star and - its chef. Joël Robuchon is one of the most renowned French culinary masters. He has opened several restaurants worldwide, including New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo and a few more. Yet, wherever it might be - London L'Atelier or anyplace else - a meal is an amazing adventure there. Just a moment of puzzlement, entering the restaurant - a darkish décor obscures a lobby and one of the restaurant dining rooms. Cast down your inquisitive glance where a glass floor reveals a busy bustle of cooks in the confectionery. Pinkish cookies and creamy cakes are just under your feet!
When the initial amazement is behind, L'Atelier guests are escorted to an escalator, taking to the salon bar. You can linger there for a while, until a table is prepared. It features a modern darkish décor in a sensuous palette of red and black. It buzzes with visitors and a vacant seat can be found if only at the bar. You cannot imagine a better spot, however! Drinks, like you have never seen before, glister in front of your eyes, leaving to wonder where from Robuchon has brought them. Free dinner cocktails are just fantastic! No sign of cheap and banal „Sex on the Beach" or „Harvey Wallbanger". And what is more, each dink is an exclusive artwork with no analogues elsewhere. A long and enticing cocktail list is designed just for this place. A presentation does not lack originality either. Drinks go with rose petals, avocado or fresh cucumber, which is hollowed and filled with sorbet! Suddenly a familiar shape of The Gherkin, the famous landmark of London, designed by Sir Norman Foster, comes to your mind...When the table is ready, guests are taken to the restaurant - by the escalator again, with not a slightest idea on which floor it lands...The dining hall features dark, up-to-date minimalism. Guests, slightly spruced up, are ready to enjoy the meal. They have to admit that service is impeccable! Friendly and sincere, with not a hint of snobbism, prices, however, might suggest the contrary. L'Atelier is a truly delicious gourmet spot! It takes a bit of culinary expertise to be able to appreciate a symphony of tastes there. Textures and flavors are just amazing - crispy toasts, served with butter and olive oil, so thin that they melt in your mouth, foie gras, truffle jelly and parmesan - almost the best combination I have ever tried.
Vegetable salad for $32?! It definitely stirs ones curiosity - how a common thing can cost so much? Then again, carrots, asparagus, radicchio, fennel, Sicilian tomato and leaks on a dried tomato toast - it is art on a plate and certainly worth the price. A special „zero gravity" technique allows vegetables to keep their natural texture, color and crispiness.
Langoustine in a crispy coating with tarragon sauce is more then you can resist. And it is so fresh that you can be almost sure - it's arrived there alive. Then comes nine crab tails along with a special crab shell sauce, like froth. Vegetables are cut in tiny bits, like little beads, making the meal incredibly light. What an effort it's been! Roast pigeon with truffle is perfect and exactly the way it should be - slightly undercooked.
You can gush over the fabulous feast for hours - calf's sweetbread with spinach and salsify, frog's legs with garlic mash, to let alone a unique selection of wines. Making a choice, you can safely count on a waiter's advice. Prices are quite reasonable, too, and you can ask just a glass, not a whole bottle.
Joël Robuchon has saved his most savory surprise for last, however. When it comes to dessert, a pastry-cook takes a little bowl and sprinkles a pinch of edible gold dust on ceramic dessert spoons, delivered to the table on a special stone plate. Airy sorbet, made of eggs and flour, slowly puffs up. At the right moment it is topped with mango sorbet and salsa, making a white froth to sink a bit. The first delicious mouthful you take comes along with a bit of gold!
Yet, there is another special dish of monsieur Robuchon, praised not only for its taste! Hot black chocolate slowly streams over a pellet of white chocolate...It spreads over a plate and melts the snowy dainty, until it slowly opens up, exposing ice cream, hidden inside...What a delight, not only for taste-buds, but for eyes, too!
At L'Atelier you can chose a table near an open-plan confectionery or a bread table, being placed right in the dining hall. This is where bread for guests comes from, and not from the kitchen. Yet the delicious aroma reaches them first...
The restaurant is much favored and people arrive as late as 10:30 p.m., so the advice is to book ahead. Price for one person is about $328, including 4 courses and wine.

Open everyday
Lunch: 12 pm - 3 pm
Dinner: 5.30 pm - 11 pm

13-15 West Street, London WC2H 9NE
Phone: 0207 010 8600
E-mail: info@joelrobuchon.co.uk
www.joel-robuchon.com

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