Two stars mystery
My second visit to the London branch of the world renown chef Joel Robuchon's empire. Contemporary red and black décor with a Japanese inspired open kitchen and counter, this concept has spread around the world from Asia to America and won him a good number of awards and multi Michelin stars. My first visit back in 2012 was bit of a let down with average food and services. But considered the high rating and reviews it has from the media and fair amount of bloggers, I was wondering did I went there on a bad day so off I visit there again to hope for some high level gastronomy experience.
Seated at the ground floor overseeing the kitchen, we went for the four courses menu. Just like last year, we were given an amuse bouche of Parmesan cappuccino with port reduction and foie gras. This was a lovely nibble of sweet and fruity port reduction sandwiched between two earthy and flavoursome ingredients. All three elements worked perfect together and the bread was also a real treat. The black olive bread was the winner of the lot, soft with great depth of aroma.
|Parmesan cappuccino with port reduction and foie gras|
Maine lobster with broad bean salad, ginger and shellfish jelly was a decent starter but nothing more, the lobster itself was sweet but wasn't as fresh as what I was hoping for. The support ingredients just seem like been tossed on the side without real purpose. The dish just lacked character and soul, it was like something you would get from a seafood bar rather than a top restaurant.
|Maine lobster with broad bean salad, ginger and shellfish jelly|
The pan-fried scallop and shellfish with flat parsley coulis was a real let down. The scallop was over cooked, the texture became too tough and I had to cut hard in order to chop it up. Nothing like the smoothness I had from Helene Darroze or Le Gavroche, the scallop was very chewy and the parsley coulis was also questionable, the shape notes of the parsley overpowered the scallop and I ended up felt like tasting a parsley rubber.
|pan-fried scallop and shellfish with flat parsley coulis|
I just didn't get the squid spaghetti with lemon confit and black olives. The spaghetti itself was weak if compared to the like of Theo Randall and Bocca Di Lupo, lacked the refine texture and smoothness. The citrus notes from the lemon confit and the black olives however was decent, good mixture of flavours and worked with the squid nicely.
|squid spaghetti with lemon confit and black olives|
Chou pastry filled with vanilla mousse, raspberry coulis and sorbet on the other hand was much better, while it wasn't spectacular, some good pastry work were showed, great balance of sweetness and bitterness from the raspberry and sobet, a very refreshing dessert.
|Chou pastry filled with vanilla mousse, raspberry coulis and sorbet|
Overall it was a rather disappointing meal, apart from the amuse bouche, everything was just so ordinary and service was sloppy with a lack of care, "dumping" cutlery in front of us and one of the waiter's clearly wasn't trained to deal with negative comments, dashed off to get help rather than handle the situation in a professional manner. Just as I wrote for Dos Palillos in Barcelona, the open kitchen bar counter concept at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon is similar to Dos Palillos but everything from food, service, ambience to value are all at a much lower level, having eaten at all the 2 stars restaurants in London with most at two plus visits, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon is by far the weakest of the lots and in fact, this was one of the most soulless and uninspired Michelin meals I ever had in the UK....
What I paid:
£55 per head
Average cost without drinks and services:
Lunch menu: £36
Tasting menu: £95
13-15 West St London, Greater London WC2H 9NE