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Atelier Robuchon London

13-15 West Street, London, England, WC2H 9NQ, United Kingdom

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  • /20

Atelier Robuchon is part of the ever-expanding empire of Joel Robuchon, the French master chef. When he was cooking at Jamin in Paris, and later at Robuchon when he moved premises, he was producing as good food as has ever left a kitchen, and was elected “Chef of the Century” by Gault Millau. At the age of 50 Robuchon hung up his chef whites and turned to business, opening a series of restaurants, from Robuchon Galera in Macau to Atelier Robuchon in Paris. The latter, modelled on Japanese counter dining but with classical French food, has been rolled out from country to country, with branches in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei and elsewhere. The décor is always a similar style: red upholstery, a central open kitchen with counter and a few tables around the side, The London branch opened in 2006 with head chef Olivier Limousin, who trained at Taillevent, l’Ampychlès and Le Bellecour. In early 2014 he was replaced by Xavier Boyer, who had worked with Joel Robuchon with over a decade. He was previously head chef of the Atelier Robuchon branches in New York and Taipei.

There are various menu options, but if you opt for a la carte you are encouraged to eat three starters per person (these are “tapas” style portions) and a main course. This approach means the bill swiftly adds up, as the tapas are each quite fully priced. A tasting menu was £129, and there was a restricted choice three-course lunch for £33. The wine list spans the world, with wines from Greece, Slovenia and even Japan. The mark-up levels match the global scope. Bernard Fouquet Aubuis Cuvee de Silex Vouvray 2011 was £38 for a wine that you can find in the high street for around £12, Leeuwin Estate Prelude Chardonnay 2008 was £84 for a wine that retails at £24, and the mark-ups showed no relief at the premium end of the list, with Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 at a hefty £750 for a wine that you can buy in a shop for about £216.

Foie gras royale with port wine reduction and Parmesan foam was a little amuse-bouche served in a shot glass, rich but very enjoyable, the hint of Parmesan working well with the liver (16/20). Iberico ham (at a meaty £31) was pleasant enough, though not cut very precisely, served with bruschetta topped with tomatoes. Mackerel tart (£19) had good pastry but surprisingly tasteless mackerel, correctly cooked and pretty to look at, but suffering from ordinary quality mackerel; this was topped with olives and Parmesan shavings (15/20). Better was black cod (£19) with daikon and yuzu mousseline, the cod delicate and the yuzu providing just the right level of acidic balance (17/20). Langoustine ravioli (£16) were well made with the pasta having pleasing texture, the langoustines having good but not dazzling flavour (16/20). Veal cheek confit was flavoured with oriental vegetables and spices; the spices were nicely controlled though for me the veal cheek was a little dry (15/20). I preferred quail (£29) stuffed with foie gras, the quail carefully cooked and the foie gras not overwhelming the delicate flavour of the bird (17/20).

Passion fruit soufflé (£24) was reasonable but not great, the texture not as light as some, and for me a little lacking in passion fruit intensity, though a coconut sorbet with it was excellent (15/20). Better was a chocolate sphere (£18), onto which was poured a caramel sauce and garnished with almonds, served with cognac ice cream: a lovely, rich dish, the chocolate sphere pretty and delicate (17/20). A selection of tarts (£14) were also very good indeed: lemon, chocolate with coconut, caramel and coffee, and finally pistachio and raspberry. The pastry with these was excellent, the fillings nicely balanced e.g. the lemon tart was not too acidic (18/20).

Service was polite but not particularly impressive: water was topped up haphazardly, and when we finished the meal no one bothered to say goodbye. Acceptable in a pub, less so in a restaurant to which Michelin have granted two stars. This meal was a little better than my previous one here, and I can certainly see how it is worthy of a star, but the second star seems generous to me. The menu pricing is consistent with a formal two star experience rather than a casual meal at a counter. 

Further reviews: 01st Feb 2008 | 01st Sep 2006

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  • Adam

    A good example of how consistency must be applied to the entire experience, not just what is on the plate. Both my meals at L'Atelier Robuchon enjoyed both good food and service. When last dining with my brother, Mr Limousin spent some time chatting to us about some of the dishes and ingredients, and came to the door to say goodbye at the end of the meal with the rest of the staff providing the service I would expect. If this had been the case here the tone of the review would be much different I'm sure.

  • Name unavailable

    I would like to share my comments regarding L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Paris which i've visited a couple of times, mainly for dinner. Furthermore my comments exist for the Atelier Robuchon of London and Hong Kong which i've also experienced. I strongly believe the concept of this restaurant ''chain'' is something more than unique. I am talking for both the atmosphere as well as the cuisine which perfectly balances French tradition with Asian modernity. In other words this is the Joel Robuchon innovation that has quickly been spread around the world (Paris, London, Hong Kong, NYC, etc).

  • tom kurth

    L atelier Robuchon London 2*+ Rising Star We were impressed on arrival, the decor is modern and very beautiful remind me on Tantris in Munich. Now onto the food...The bread was not fresh and hard and tasteless after telling the waiter this he switched the bread but still i wasn’t excited about it, and didn't come in the first place with butter or oil which made it hard to eat. After the fourth course we get ask if we like butter or oil! My fiancé and I both had the Decouverte menu! Parmesan cappuccino with port and foir gras was served in a glass and it was a very nice.8/10 Caviar served on a bed of crab meat and lobster jelly was fresh but we both find there was something missing in this dish to balance the fishy taste! 7/10 The next dish was our highlight from the evening a Black truffle from perigord served on top of chicory salad with Fuji apple! I don’t like chicory at all but this was just a beautiful presentation with a perfect balance and sublime taste! 10/10 As next followed a butternut squash veloute with pink grapefruit and golden croutons and it was a nice taste but nothing special except the spoon which was served with it was hard to pick up the veloute!5/10 Our next dish was seared foir gras with Savoy cabbage and was lard with black truffle and beef broth. The foir gras was very good cooked and the beef broth did have a pleasant taste. The only thing was the portion size of the foir gras. 8/10 From this point on it goes beyond my mind, beside us two young ladies (wearing clothes to go to disco but not in a high end restaurant) was settling down and they been from the start loud and annoying, obviously they didn’t care about other guests and they shared their tasting menu, unfortunately they did get more attention from the waiters then us and we was left behind with empty bowl and not topped up water or wine! For me this is the first time in my dining experience such thing happened to us, but there is always a first time. To go back to the food next was served a roasted monkfish served on brioche toast with leek fondue and red wine sauce which was actually missing! My fiancé left less than half and when the waiter asked if she hadn't liked it she admitted that she hadn't enjoyed it and that it hadn't tasted good at all. He simply cleared our plates and nothing else was said. 6/10 Finally or main course arrived and the only disappoint in this dish was the portion size. Stuffed quail with foir gras and truffle mashed potato was served on a plate it tasted very good but it lacks of garnish, presentation and size. 6/10 A white chocolate ice cream lolly pop with candy pop was served as a part of a duo of dessert which was sublime and very well made!9/10 The second part of the dessert was a chocolate dessert served in a glass, Manjari chocolate with something else I barely could understand the waiter from this point on because music was getting loud and our neighbours are well too loud. I rather prefer to hear a smashing pan or a chef who is announcing his food order. Poor presentation. Taste was ok. Nothing else to say.4/10 Our expectations weren’t fulfilled and we both weren’t satisfied with the Decouverte menu. I must confess the whole menu was served in very small portions and it did not fill me at all. I rather said it could call Appetizer Menu and it is overpriced to compare to other high end restaurant in London or elsewhere. A special note By 7 savoury dishes both foir gras and truffle repeated themselves in 5 other savoury courses!!! The only two courses was the caviar and veloute where weren’t either foir gras or truffle, which made us think it is the reason why the menu is overpriced and to small portions are served and it is clearly visible all dishes are made ahead except of the fish and meat to plate them and serve them quickly. When we get ask for coffee we decided to go upstairs and get a cocktail instead. Big disappointing we weren’t offered any petit fours which were the first time in my Michelin Star experience! When we get ask if we would like to join the bar, we meet the supervisor or restaurant manager who I guess was from France and was very nice who we had explain everything and he had welcomed our honesty and showed us the La Cuisine restaurant in the First Floor and bring us then to the bar. Where we did get outstanding cocktails! 10/10 Overall experience 6 out of 10. But clearly not 2*Michelin!

  • Jamie

    My girlfriend and I found this a great introduction to Michelin star cuisine. We had no expectations, and so the 'Le Menu Degustation' was mysterious and exciting. The set up of the actual 'atelier' (workshop) downstairs was great for us as a wide eyed adventurers, not least because it was tightly packed at the bar, but we were also genuinely keen to see how things were made and how the team interacted. The service was typically Parisian, meaning that our waiter was working to his own time frame. He was polite enough and informed, but the plates were cleared when he wanted to clear them, rather than when we had finished; and for one of the courses the next one arrived before the previous one had gone. The foie gras with stewed plums was to die for, as was the lamb cutlets. Robuchon's famed mashed potatoes was sublime, like whipped satin (tenuous). The high light of the tasting menu was the puddings. The first can only be described as chocolate mess, but it had delicious textures ranging from mousse, to Oreo chunks. We finished with Mango, white chocolate and banana splits, and they were delicious. The supremely refreshing mango was the perfect cleanser. For those who frequent these temples of culinary amazingnness I could imagine how it may fall short in one or two areas, but as virgin Michelin explorers it was a super, interesting, young and vibrant evening, with some truly delicious combinations. I would recommend it, but not those who know their onions.

  • Richard Lee-Heung

    Tried this place in November and was initially excited to go. We opted for the tasting menu with two extra courses which they completely forgot about (faux pas no. 1). I had to remind them as they cleared my place settings away!! I was then invited to have dessert and cofee in the bar (placed looked overbooked!) but these took over an 1 hour extra to serve and then they charged me twice for the wine! Impeccable service is worthy of 2-Stars, this wasn't close with three major errors. First and sadly, the last visit for me, there are better restaurants to visit.

  • radgeworks

    I ate here in August last year and was extremely disappointed. We sat at the bar in relative discomfort and the service was sketchy at best. I had been attracted to this restaurant having been to his restaurant in Monte Carlo and noticing that they do a 2 course pre-theatre menu for around £20-25, however I soon realised that this menu is a cop-out. If a restaurant is going to offer a cheap menu then I expect them to maintain the same standards as their tasting menu. What I got was extremely disappointing. The bread rolls were of a poor standard as you mentioned above. The Pre-fixe menu was very limited so I had a deep fried hen's egg to start which to be honest was lovely. My main course however was a huge disappointment: I ordered the plaice goujons which were I presumed, a fancy take on fish fingers, when it arrived it was just overcooked plaice deep fried with an uninspiring side salad (basically fish fingers without chips as a saving grace). If I hadn't been to his restaurant in Monte Carlo then I could be forgiven for thinking that he is the rich-man's Captain Birdseye. SHIVER ME TIMBERS THIS PLAICE IS A RIP OFF

  • Taz Syed

    we went to this restaurant in London and all I have to say is poor quality food,overpriced, sarcastic service and very small portions. Not good place to eat BEWARE!!!

  • Alex Chambers

    Totally agree on the service issue, a matter which I found to be even more severe on the second floor "Ma Cuisine". The problem appears to be restaurant specific as a waiter I thought superb at Gavroche, only last year, came across as utterly incompetent here. That said, the service and drinks at the third floor bar is superb, and the cooking on each occasion I have visited has been very impressive. Now, if they could just make sure the lift works...

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