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L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon


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Well I went there this Friday for a pre theatre meal (£25 for 3 courses) and was taking a friend for her birthday. Could not get a 6pm booking so had to go for a 5:30pm.

While I was looking forward to 3 courses at a 2* reasturant for a reasonable price in online reviews I'd read I was concerned about the service we would receive as there were several negative comments.

We arrived at 5:25pm (The opening time is 5:30pm) and were informed our table wasn't ready and would we like a drink in the bar - I like a good cocktail so we went for this option, the bar staff were friendly and recommended a grapefruit twist rather than lemon for a Tanquery 10 dry martini (this was a good suggestion) - £24 for 2 cocktails. After about 10 mins were told our table was ready and would we like to go down or finish our drinks - we decided to finish our drinks as the bar was very pleasant. We'd almost finished our drinks when we were again asked would we like to go down and take our table (hint taken) so we went. Through all this staff were very frendly and not pushy or 'snooty'.

We were sat at the bar around the kitchen (Perfect - last time was on a two top and missed watching the kitchen)

We both went for the pre theatre menu (my companion is a fisharian) but decided to add a some dishes from the 'small tasting dishes menu' these were:-

Me: Salad with Foie Gras shavings, Pig trotter served on parmesan toast,

Companion: Sautéed courgette with thyme, mozzarella and basil confit vegetables

Wine started at £20 but we chose a bottle of Chateau neuf de pap £54 to go with the meal. And very nice it was to and our glasses were filled just before we needed it.

So we had in the order served:-

Me: Soft poached egg with braised celery, hazelnut and beetroot vinaigrette

Beautiful presentation and I enjoyed this, if the poached egg was warn it could have been better.

Companion: Sweet onion soup “Andreï style″, crunchy croutons

This was declared to be gorgeous.

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Me: Salad with Foie Gras shavings

Ok, but the shavings did not really let you get the taste of the Foie. Wished I'd picked something else.

Companion: Sautéed courgette with thyme, mozzarella and basil confit vegetables

Presentation on this was stunning and was happilly eaten but no rave comments.

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Me: Pig trotter served on parmesan toast,.

What was nice here as I'd orders 2 extra dishes and my companion 1 the split the dish into two smaller portions so we could both have some. The thought was there (un)fortunately as she did not eat meat she could only eat some of the parmisan flake. Loved this dish, rich, powerful flavors but all working together.

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Both: Monkfish coral sauce, carrot and celery fondant

This was a bit of a disappointment, my monkfish was slightly overcooked, there were large chunks of carrot that were a bit to firm for me and the sauce was nice but nothing to write home about.

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Me: A selection of tarts.

The highlight of the menu - all were delicious and again great presentation.

Companion: Chocolate Sensation

This was wolfed down and declared delicious.

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Ok the verdict on the £25 for 3 courses menu - it's worth it. The worst thing is the very limited choice and while I make criticisms above, for the price it's good value. We had excellent service throughout and there was a great atmosphere in the restaurant (I even got to taste some of the diners next to me food and vice versa!). However there are so many tempting things on the other menu, good wines on offer and excellent cocktails in the bar above it's difficult to resist. So unless your careful the bill soon mounts up and so it was not an inexpensive meal. (But that's my fault).

Overall enjoyable, worth the money and would go again.

Also the cocktails were so good we went back after the theatre to get another :-)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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  • 2 years later...

I searched for a thread on here on this place and nothing has come up. I must admit as to not having seen anything on it in the past two or three years, if at all.

For some reason or another it has not really appealed until fairly recently, even though it seems to have been around forever. The reason we are going, is his head chef was on Best Dish, The Chefs, and the food looked rather good indeed.

I say rather good, I mean very good.

Can anyone post a report? There must be some egulleters out there who have been recently.

Nice photos would be a great bonus :smile:

Thanks in anticipation.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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I find them to range from above average to marginal, with the London one toward the bottom. The dishes seem to always sound better than they taste.

Thanks for the reply.

Marginal, or above average, compared with? Other Michelin starred places or where?

Have you been to more than the London branch?

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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I once saw it described as MacRobuchon by a former poster here which is a great description. I was lucky enough to be in the Parisian branch just after it opened when the great man himself was there, great meal with even better people watching, one American foodie pronouncing the morels as the most generous plate of truffles she had ever eaten :laugh: The London branch was never on the same level as my visit to the Parisian branch but it is/was predictably comforting if you want to taste Robuchons (and a host of other chefs who he pays homage or rips off depending on how you want to look at it). I've also tried the Hong Kong branch and once again it is solid if a little uninspiring but you know what your going to get and that isn't always a bad thing.

L'Atelier 1

L'atelier 2

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

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I refuse to photograph my food in a restaurant David, but if words are any help

:-)

http://www.foodepedia.co.uk/restaurant-reviews/2010/aug/ateleier_de_joel_robuchon.htm

2010 I stress

I note your caveat, but tend to think the head chef is the same, so I,m sure it will all go very well.

It all sounds alluring I just can't wait to be seated at the bar.

Thanks for the reply.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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I've been to a few of the 'branches' including the London one twice. I can't decide if I love or hate the bar seats. Spending £100+ sitting on a bar stool for 2 + hours is not my idea of fun but I do enjoy watching the chefs at work.

As for the food, I have never had a bad meal. Some dishes I prefer to others. Some are excellent others ok. Having said that I enjoy the small plates and generally the dishes are good. Worth a visit.

Andrew

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I find them to range from above average to marginal, with the London one toward the bottom. The dishes seem to always sound better than they taste.

Thanks for the reply.

Marginal, or above average, compared with? Other Michelin starred places or where?

Have you been to more than the London branch?

Yes, I've been to a half dozen of them. They are one of the best places for dining alone, which I do occasionally on travel. London is not the worst, not the best. Compared to most starred restaurants I find the food to be lacking something. I'm not a restaurant reviewer, nor do I aspire to be one, so I will not wax poetic about this and that, but I am always left feeling a bit cold after dining at an Atelier.

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My meal at L'Atelier London in July 2010 was amazing, my meal at the Las Vegas counterpart in August last year, not so much. The portions were smaller, the prices more expensive, and the menu less interesting.

I still think of the London meal as one of the top ten best fine dining meals of my life so far.

James.

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Well there you go David, lots of opinion. Of course restaurants vary greatly depending on the mood one is in and the company. On my visit mood and company were both great, had I been in a sour mood and stuck with a bore I may have felt differently. Such are the perils of reviewing as far as restaurants are concerned.

But at the time I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere enormously and felt I had got what I paid for, possibly more. I've eaten in many a mich starred place where I couldn't say the same.

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Well there you go David, lots of opinion. Of course restaurants vary greatly depending on the mood one is in and the company. On my visit mood and company were both great, had I been in a sour mood and stuck with a bore I may have felt differently. Such are the perils of reviewing as far as restaurants are concerned.

But at the time I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere enormously and felt I had got what I paid for, possibly more. I've eaten in many a mich starred place where I couldn't say the same.

I hope my Mrs does not spoil the mood when she finds out she has to perch atop an uncomfortable bar stool for two or three hours.

We argued at Pizarro because I wanted to watch the chefs work whilst she fancied the much more comfortable booth seats by the wall.

Still she gets her own way most of the time. (make that nearly all of the time, I like an easy life)

Needless to say I'm now really looking forward to our visit. With the mood lighting and kitchen activity it certainly looks atmospheric.

Thanks again to everyone for their contribution.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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THe "open kitchen" concept there isn't as clear cut as a lot of places, a lot of the food is prepped out back and assembled in front. Service at the bar was/is difficult due to the height of the bar in comparison to the servers and it sometimes can be a little clumsy due to the design.

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

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THe "open kitchen" concept there isn't as clear cut as a lot of places, a lot of the food is prepped out back and assembled in front.

A bit like Bloominghell's Dinner then? I don't suppose it really matters, in both cases it's all about theatre. Macdonalds also has an open kitchen in as much as you can see a fair bit of what's going on, if you care to look.

I didn't notice any people of diminished stature behind the bar when I went to JR's.

Edited by sunbeam (log)
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I always found the service to be too fast at the ones I tried. Is London the same? The dishes often arrived minutes after a pate was cleared. In Paris we even had a dish arrive as we were still eating one - very odd in an open kitchen. We asked them to slow downbut they seem incapable of doing so.

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I always found the service to be too fast at the ones I tried. Is London the same? The dishes often arrived minutes after a pate was cleared. In Paris we even had a dish arrive as we were still eating one - very odd in an open kitchen. We asked them to slow downbut they seem incapable of doing so.

I often find that with tasting menus. It is not just L'Atelier that suffers from that. When I've been there I have often said to them I want a 10 min break after a course and they have always obliged. Asking for a more general gap inbetween each course seems to cause them difficulty but being specific seems to work.

Andrew

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So we made it here yesterday lunch, and as luck would have it we parked right outside, saving at the very least half an hour of wasted life scouring Soho for a parking spot. Well worth the £13 odd to park by phone, (no thats not my car)

I did not realise it was next door to sleb hangout The Ivy but did not spot any slebs or paparrazi in any event. Perhaps daylight is harmful to the poor loves.

Very nice greeting on entering (as it should be) and we were ushered through to our barstools in an instant.

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I suppose the restaurant could be described as, dark, intimate and sexy, it has a great feel to it, a super date place sure to impress. The rear wall of growing devils ivy was an interesting feature. Must mention the heavily padded barstools which were supremely comfortable, unlike the ones at Pizarro which were most certainly not.

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We could not help but notice apples of various sizes, some real, others not. The seven in the bowl represent Monsieur Robuchon,s birth date and he only opens a new restaurant on the seventh also. Don't know why the apples though.

We were presented with the lunch menu only at first, a two, three, or four course with matching wine choice at each course if fancied. We were then asked, a little quizzically, if we wanted to see the a la carte, which I did.

Now on this subject when I booked, four days in advance, we were only offered two slots, "12 or 2.30 only". As we chose the two thirty slot a tasting menu was completely out of the question and I suppose some of the stuff on the carte may have been the same. Truth be told even though there was a good choice of six entrees and six plats, the entrees on the lunch menu mostly did not appeal, but I decided to go with it to see if my initial menu choices could be altered for a future dinner. In other words could the kitchen shift me away from our normal first choice dishes.

It has to be said there is a small tasting plate menu of seventeen dishes, the carte has eight starters and nine mains. Too much choice for most people, but sufficient reason for us and others to return.

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We had an amuse which was gone in a second before I remembered to snap it.

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Bread was bought in,in dough form, and cooked on the premises, it was good. The black olive bread was for me exceptional. It was replenished when I said how good it was.

Egg cocotte topped with a light wild mushroom cream is a signiture dish, and my wifes choice. My taste of it was not sufficient to pass real comment, she declared it "interesting".

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Scottish salmon carpaccio flavoured with lemon and esplette chilliwas a bit of a non event. Apart from being the meanest of portions we have been served, ever, it did not taste at all special, we have tasted better. No love here I'm afraid.

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My other starter from the four courser was a really superb Chestnut veloute with celeriac Big big depth of flavour, creamy, silky smooth with different textures coming from the celeriac and chestnut cubes.

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Cold jerusalem artichoke soup with beef jelly and foie gras again was interesting, not my dish but I would have been happy to explore it a bit more.

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Mains next and with three meat, two fish and one veggie to choose from we went for Lamb and Ox cheek, although I would have happily wolfed down the pork belly with puy lentils.

Ox cheek braised in black grenache grapes served with celeriac mousselinewas a complex dish made from humble ingredients. Again good depth of flavour, texturally pleasing, not bad portion wise. A good choice for me and I would eat it again right now.

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My second choice main would have been the dish the wife chose Confit saddle of lamb served with white beans fron Tarbes.

She claimed for her taste it should have a further component to break the flavours up a bit. It is a classic though and a very well done one too, and true to Robuchon's ethos.

Most certainly more my kind of dish than my wifes.

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Two desserts and a cheese selection on offer. Neither of us fancied cheese so a different dessert each was the order.

Creamy Manjari chocolate, bitter chocolate sorbet and oreo cookie crumb. was too gooey for me, lacking texture, but it tasted ok-ish just not my type of dessert I suppose.

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I absolutlely loved my dessert. Coulis and mousse of mango, Jaconde biscuit and exotic sorbet. On exploration it gave up a gorgeous cranberry coulis. Better texture, teasing notes, warm and cold. A hit as far as I'm concerned.

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There is a bit more to L'Atelier of course than the ground floor restaurant. there is another restaurant on the first floor and a sexy bar and terrace another floor up. We took a little look to satisfy our curiosity. Notice the apples again. This time in black.

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Quite one of the nicest ways to spend a Saturday lunch, others may prefer shopping, but not us.

As I've pointed out before, a restaurant is not just about the food which comes out of the kitchen, service, creature comforts, feel, and other stuff all play a part.

Hand on heart all of the food did not work for us but the venue itself is well worth a visit and we would gladly return. Its what you would expect, expensive to very expensive. Our four course lunch was £40 each plus service plus wine and that is about the starting point that you can hope for unless your a model on a diet and go for a couple of small dishes. Portion size is questionable on some of the dishes, I had to fill up on that marvellous olive bread.

If you have the time and the money, give it a try you may well just enjoy as much as we did.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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I've enjoyed every meal I've had at the London branch from a pre theatre meal to the full tasting menu. It's not cheap, I'd always wish to dine at the counter with up to 3 people more than that get a table. It's v expensive for what it is, best value it to go for lunch/pre theatre and also pick a few dishes of the a la carte, also they are fine if you want to share a dish between two. Service always attentive but not intrusive and it's like eating in Darth V

aders garden.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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