Cuisine like no other

L'Atelier Joel Robuchon, LondonL'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, in Leicester Square - London

Sony-like cuisine.

I know that yesterday I iterated my dedication to loose to weight as part of my 2008 resolutions, but on the other end I also specified that I just got a new job. So I needed to celebrate. With my wife, we are both food fans: we like to cook, we love to experiment new styles, and we just adore restaurants from all over the world. But this time it was different: it was a big occasion and it needed to be celebrated accordingly.

As a TrustedPlace heavy user (this is an image, my "weight problem" is not that bad), I had a quick look at the recommended high end restaurants and suddenly a familiar name popped out: Joel Robuchon. The French chef, who is in France famous for his TV show on national TV France 3, but also for his numerous product endorsements (coffee, pre-cooked meals, etc.), is no Jamie Oliver. He is not hype, young and dynamic... But he has managed to market himself very well, and to capitalise on the numerous distinctions he gathered in the last decades. For instance, he was elected Chef of the Century by Gault Millau in 1990. Because Robuchon might be a brilliant entrepreneur, an efficient marketer, he is before all a fantastic chef with Three Stars on the Michelin guide.

Fullfil your dream.

When you are a gastronome like me, you can't wait for the right moment to meet such a talent, or at least his work. Fortunately, in 2006, Joel Robuchon opened in London a venue after New York, Vegas, Paris and Tokyo. L'Atelier, or Workshop in French, is a concept-restaurant where the patrons are seated at the counter around the open kitchen. You can thus experience the conception of your meal in real time, right under your eyes. But this is a workshop, not a gallery, so the atmosphere is rather informal which does not impact the quality of the experience, on the contrary. This is a fantastic induction to culinary art à la Robuchon.

The concept of L'Atelier is aligned with what made his genitor famous: simplicity with a twist of sophistication. I know this is an antinomy, but it actually works. Here is for instance a sample of what can be found on the menu:
  • Pumpkin velouté, smoked ham cream
  • Crabmeat in tomato jelly and avocado
  • Egg cocotte topped with light wild mushroom cream
  • Hot foie gras with autumnal fruits and ginger
  • Scallop cooked in its shell with seaweed butter
  • Free range quail stuffed with foie gras and truffled mashed potatoes
All this looks rather simple compared to some other fancy restaurants. Nothing over-complicated... But the surprise happens not to be in the menu, but in your plate. It is amazing to appreciate so many subtle flavours from a single dish. The aromas, scents... are combining in a delicate symphony.

Mountain flavours.

As a French mountain dweller, I could not skip the desert made of Chartreuse: a Chartreuse soufflé with its pistachio ice cream. The liqueur, whose recipe remains today a secret shared among mountain monks of the Chartreux Fraternity in Voiron, is an iconic product of my home region. Alongside with Grenoble walnuts and its derivative, the liqueur has to be found in the kitchen or bar of any Alpine family... So you can imagine that we know how to leverage its specific flavour and healing capabilities. Some pernicious souls even pretend that it is a perfect liquid to clean up your pipes (with an alcoholic concentration up to 71% they might be right)... But the first spoon of this delicacy led me to unknown summits. Simply fantastic!

The only downsides of this perfect night out: the fact that Joel Rebuchon is not in person in this restaurant and the bill. But both are completely compensated by the quality of the experience. So forks up!

No comments:

Post a Comment