REVIEW – 6th December 2016
Where does an amateur food blogger get off trying to review a Michelin starred restaurant? That was my first question – but then I thought to hell with it, it’s just a restaurant like any other restaurant! And then I realized that L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is not like any other restaurant… nor is the chef who’s name is on the lintel, Joel Robuchon, like any other chef – he only has 25 Michelin Stars at the last count!!
Translated literally, “L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon” means Joel Robuchon’s workshop and under Executive chef Jeremy Page, this is exactly what it is – a workshop. A workshop where they turn out one utterly delicious dish after another – and all right in front of your eyes.
Diners sit at a bar which wraps around a ridiculously small kitchen area that is staffed by what seems like an impossibly large number of chefs (la Brigade) for the space provided. The ambience is restrained and calming – which sits in conflict with what you might expect when sitting in a Michelin-starred kitchen. I had visions of a sweaty head chef yelling orders at even sweatier sous chefs and passion running on high octane fuel. But no… it is the opposite … the kitchen is an oasis of calm and focus with each chef knowing exactly what is expected of them and executing perfectly.
This restaurant is known for serving “small plates” from a fairly extensive list – pick as many as you want! Or, opt for their Tasting Menu (Le Menu Découverte) and you will be presented with 8 courses of utter deliciousness – all crafted and beautifully presented. On my visit, I didn’t quite fancy the options on Le Menu Découverte so, working with the Maitre D’ I came up with an alternative selection. This was then discussed with the Chef who rearranged the order in which I had thought best (he was right) and we proceeded to be delighted with the results. Rather than review each dish here, all you need to know is that the cooking is fabulous and you would need to have removed your tastebuds not to enjoy it.
I chose to order two bottles of wine rather than opt for the suggested accompanying wine flight which I find over-priced for what it is. If you are asking for assistance or recommendations from their Sommelier make sure you set expectations with clear guidance on pricing – or you could find yourself paying £70 for an extra glass of wine (as I did – won’t make that mistake again).
Overall – this is a gourmet’s restaurant – it is relaxed (no stuffy dress code), the food is wonderful, the staff are polite and helpful and it keeps drawing us back – a quick three plates for pre-theatre will work well for most peoples’ wallet and is a lovely way to start an evening in the West End of London.
L’Atelier de Jöel Robuchon Restaurant Details:
Address: 13-15 West St., London WC2H 9NE
Telephone: + 44 (0) 20 7010 8600