Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon


Recommended Posts

someone please enlighten me - whats so good about their mashed potato?

50% butter, allegedly. Metro's aforementioned Super Marina Sister describes it as "like savoury buttercream frosting".

There was nothing nouvelle about the veal chop

Perhaps. But I'd argue that anywhere pitching up in London with a 10 course, jelly and foam reliant, French-worded menu is hardly bistro moderne either.

Link to post
Share on other sites
someone please enlighten me - whats so good about their mashed potato?

Back in the '80s and '90s when Robuchon was king of the Paris three stars, he was famous for his stupendously rich, smooth and tasty mashed potato (or pommes puree). It was a sort of signature dish, one which he made his reputation on. Seen as a somewhat ironic take given that the hautest of haute chefs was building his rep on the humblest of kitchen table staples.

From a broader perspective it contrasted with the parsimonious exactness of nouvelle cuisine - instead of finnicky little baby carrots here was a chef serving up rustic but rarified mashed potatos. It would not be unfair to say he singlehanded turned what was a relatively unfashionable spud preparation into an ubiquitous accompaniment in haute restaurants (think various Gordon Ramsay-alike presentations of a piece of seared protein with buttery/truffled/whatevered pomme puree on the side).

Anyhow when he retired in 96-ish the pomme puree was no more (although I think his disciple Bernard ?Guichard would have been cooking a version in his homage-to-robuchon restaurants thru the 1990's; first at some random hotel I've forgotten and later at Jamin), until he started his Atelier/Table etc. revival in recent years.

The secret of Robuchon's spuds has been much debated, but basically boils down to ratte potatos, carefully cooked (I've seen references to roasting then peeling them rather than boiling them), and a very high proportion of top quality butter (have also seen milk added in some recipes - notable Patricia Wells, though unsure whether it is canon).

Try them and see

Hope that answers your question

Jonathan

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was going to make some unsavoury crack about her being the Pamela Des Barres of the cookery world, but as I got my "Cuisine des Quatre Saisions" cookbook signed by the great man on Saturday, I'm probably on fairly shaky ground.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We had dinner at La Cuisine last night with mixed results. I'll start with the service which was amateurish at times. The bar (which I was encouraged to use when I made my booking) is tiny and when we arrived 45 minutes before our table they had no room but we were advised we could stand at the bar, except there is no room to stand at the bar as the staff use it to as the route to the tables. We were fortunate(?) to be moved quickly to a table which had no lights above it so we were quite literally in the dark. Cocktails (French 75 and a Classic Champagne Cocktail) were OK but nothing to write home about, they cost £13 each. After finishing our drinks we asked to be shown to our table, a waiter returned and advised that they were trying to find us a table. This confused me as we were already booked and they had already asked us if we wanted to be seated early! 15 minutes later I asked if there was a problem only to realise that they had actually forgotten about us (probably because they couldn't see us in the dark), only then were we taken to our table.

We were escorted down in the lift to the first floor restaurant where there were approximately 20 covers - not what I would expect of a major new opening. There were spaces at L'Atelier when we arrived as well although the receptionist told me there were no spaces available. Is the site jinxed, the maitre d' advised that it was a deliberate policy until things were running smoothly :hmmm:

Overall Service was friendly but clumsy. Cocktails had to be asked for twice, our table was so dark the waitress couldn't even see where to put our glasses, in the restaurant we asked for a glass of champagne which only arrived 10 minutes later after we were asked a second time if we wanted an aperitif. Water also had to be asked for twice. I realise they are bedding in but these are basic mistakes. According to the receptionist Robuchon left on Monday but "he is with us in spirit" (reach for the bucket), according to a waiter he left yesterday. :wacko:

On to the food, we chose small plates all the way. An amuse of Lemon jelly, fennel cream, tapenade and basil oil was fine individually but the lemon overpowered everything when taken as a whole and the basil oil didn't seem to make an appearance.

Les Legumes was a selection of vegetables sat atop a basil pastry. Asparagus made an unnecessary appearance for the time of year and added nothing to the dish. The pastry was terrible, like cardboard and combined with the dressing it had a terrible artificial taste. A shame as the vegetables would have been nice, the pastry would have been far better with a small disc of puff pastry.

Iberico Bellotta with tomato bread was a good size portion of exceptional ham which the waiter confirmed was Joselito, freshly carved and an instant punch in the mouth. Superb. Tomato bread was some derisory flavoured chopped tomatoes on bread - why bother? there was probably wround 50gms of ham, at Brindisa you can buy 50gms for around £8 so £9 for the dish seemed a relative bargain and once again the ham was superb.

Langoustine fritter was an eye watering £20 for 2 superb Langoustines cooked just so, a small piece of Basil beneath the thin crisp batter. We were advised to dip the Langoustines in the pesto they came with but in my opinion Langoustines like this should be adorned with as little as possible, the basil under the pastry was enough and the pesto threw it out of balance a little.

Mackerel tart was also a delight, crisp pastry topped with translucent slices of mackerel, barely warmed through, olives and parmesan.

Next came a "gift from the chef", 2 scallops still in their shell, roe removed. cooked with generous quantities of butter. A good scallop but I prefer to have mine with a little caremelisation to accentuate there sweetness..

Another service error next when Lamb cutlets with thyme arrived at the same time as the Quail stuffed with foie gras accompanied by truffle mash. That in itself wasn't the problem but our sea bass dish had been missed and arrived about a minute after these 2 were delivered. Reasonable but unexceptional lamb, not comparable to the chops served in the Paris branch. I'm a lover of English lamb, especially as it becomes a little older and develops some stronger notes but the Paris version of this dish was simplicity itself. Previously I described these as having been "taken from its mother moments after birth". The lamb they have sourced was not special enough to serve so simply. A pot of the famous puree was served alongside. Granted it's lovely but it's a cheat. It tastes like butter, pure and simple, lashings of the stuff.

The Quail breast with Foie gras was eaten without even noticing the foie. I chewed on the leg. The truffled mash was also the famous mash with thick slices of summer truffle which had negligible flavour although they had to be sliced very thick to make it noticeable which spoiled the effect.

The Sea bass was advertised with Macaroni stuffed with ricotta, basil juice and olives. It came without any pasta and artichoke instead. We queried this and were advised that the garnish had been changed. We stuck with it but it had caught Rachel's eye because of the pasta and we should have been advised when ordering.

Desserts were pretty much a disaster. Chartreuse Soufflé with pistachio ice cream was over cooked and eggy tasting. Le Rouge Frais was strawberries with Lemon sorbet (I think it was meant to be lemon and basil) and topped with a raspberry cream. The sorbet had clearly been made with too much pith which had turned it horribly bitter, I can't believe that anybody in the kitchen had tasted it before serving it to anybody. The raspberries reminded us of Angel delight.

Overall some good food, some average, some poor and they need to get service sorted out. The bill, including 2 cocktails as described, 2 glasses of champagne (£9), 2 500ml (cheeky) bottles of Evian at £3.50 each, a bottle of Chateau Beaulieu Comtes de Taste at £36 and service at 12.5% it came to 25 pence short of £250. We both could have eaten more.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

Link to post
Share on other sites
Langoustine fritter was an eye watering £20 for 2 superb Langoustines cooked just so, a small piece of Basil beneath the thin crisp batter.

I believe its bric pastry and not batter

The raspberries reminded us of Angel delight.

That's exactly what my wife said.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

That's a bit of a kick in the teeth for L'Atelier. It doesn't get a star rating because it was reviewed by Nick Curtis instead of Maschler!

The fact that he doesn't seem to undeerstand why a single diner can order the tasting menu while a table of four all have to order it and that he notices no condiments on the table, i'd suggest he wasn't the best person to carry out the review. :hmmm:

A further kick in the teeth is that next to it he reviews the Spaghetti House. :laugh:

Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

Link to post
Share on other sites

just noticed that he also did the third review - The Lobster Pot - a restaurant which comes complete with the sound of piped seagulls and tropical fish behind portholes in the wall.

Good to see Robuchon given due respect :unsure:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

Link to post
Share on other sites
i am in london tomorrow, i'm sure i could find myself in the area for an hour or so at some point  :wink:

Mmmmm, Jay's review is here. Now, note the price of a meal including wine and service for two in his review Gary.

Would you care to tell the nice ladies and gentlemen here, how much you spent on your own on Friday. You greedy bastard- you must have had everything. :biggrin:

Edited by Bapi (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

glass champagne 9

jambon 9

oeuf cocotte 9

ravioli 15

pied de cochon 11

calamar 10

agneau+ extra pommes (gratis) 14

caille 16

chocolate sensation 9

pinot noir crittenden 33 (£20 cheaper than my original choice out of stock santenay, well done to the somellier for that one!)

calvados 9

water 3.50

service 18.88

£169.88

i was stuffed, i thought i'd get through some cheese as well and i even turned down the offer of some crinkle cut chips :shock:

you don't win friends with salad

Link to post
Share on other sites

8 dishes plus drinks, some of those dishes are the more substantial ones. I don't think what you ate was unreasonable, if you ate half of that then I reckon you would be pretty hungry, and the bill would have been approximately what the critics are suggesting for 2 people.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

Link to post
Share on other sites
glass champagne 9

jambon 9

oeuf cocotte 9

ravioli 15

pied de cochon 11

calamar 10

agneau+ extra pommes (gratis) 14

caille 16

chocolate sensation 9

pinot noir crittenden  33 (£20 cheaper than my original choice out of stock santenay, well done to the somellier for that one!)

calvados 9

water 3.50

service 18.88

£169.88

i was stuffed, i thought i'd get through some cheese as well and i even turned down the offer of some crinkle cut chips  :shock:

It's easy to run up a bill for one like that - if you have five starters, two main courses, a £33 bottle fine, aperitif and digestif.

My price estimate is based on a (reasonably sized) meal for two, plus a bottle from the lower reaches of the list and a bottle of water. Take off Gary's champagne and calvados, drop the price of the wine and you are well within my £150 top out.

All of which means I think Matthew's six to ten plates each is completely excessive. And I don't think I coudl ever be accused of having a bird like appetitie.

Jay

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...