Only one thing beats the anticipation of knowing you have dinner booked at world class restaurant L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. And that is having an impromptu Sunday lunch there. That goes on until dinner.
The visual and culinary effect of this luxury West End brasserie is entirely dreamy. From the heady red and black décor and open kitchen to the multi-award winning food, writing about the experience allows me to openly indulge in adjectives such as sensuous, inventive and exquisite.
The fact that so many dishes are also in-keeping with my diet adds yet another mille-feuille layer of pleasure.
On a basic level, both my companion and I opted for protein-based meals, and the rest was left to the artistic interpretation of the chef. The photographs tell the visual story of beautiful, imaginative meals with incredible attention to detail, so I shall just provide the ingredients and their effect.
After a glass each of Veuve Clicquot – one brut, one rosé – I selected the La Burrata entrée, which was the Italian mozzarella and cream cheese, along with olive oil, tomato coulis and avocado. I chose not to have the optional caviar, and the range of tastes was still a feast for the palate as much as it was for the eyes.
On the other hand, after enjoying his complementary foie gras taster, my companion opted for Le Caviar, and this was served on a soft poached egg in a crispy rice batter.
The small amount of rice didn’t hugely detract from a superb essentially protein-based meal. While we were completely absorbed by a plate trimmed with beads of caviar, and tiny pieces of smoked salmon and fennel.
My main course was La Morue, a melt-in-the-mouth cod fillet in an aromatic vegetable broth with a print of fresh herbs, which looked like a delicate piece of green chain mail protecting the fish. This sumptuous dish was accompanied by a fine Italian Pinot Grigio.
While my companion chose Le Bar, a seared sea bass with a confit of young fennel in a brown shrimp foam, which sounds slightly odd but the photo indicates it was as elegant as it was delicious. This was accompanied by a glass of an excellent French Blanc de Blancs, which made up for him skipping the signature mashed potatoes.
As if all this weren’t enough of a feast for the senses, we pushed a rare boat out and decided to have dessert, opting for the light La Mangue, a mango bubble with popping candy, crunch macadamia and passionata sorbet. Fabulous, and not too naughty. Honestly.
After three courses, we moved up to another of the three floors to the bar. This has its own leafy terrace, though being February we opted for the snug comforts of the firelit interior and relaxed in armchairs for a post-lunch refresher.
This went on for a little longer than we had anticipated.
Well, no one likes being woken up while they are dreaming.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
13-15 West Street, London WC2H 9NE
Telephone: +44 207 010 8600