L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon.
The Greedy Diva and her fabulous foodie friend, Helen, dabbled in a cheeky mid-weeker at L'Atelier this week. And with Michelin star food at the sparkling pre-theatre price of £19.00 for 2 courses, why on earth not?
L'Atelier shrugs off the formality of other restaurants of its calibre. The food is the focus and the theatre of the kitchen is the centrepiece of the room. Laid out like a Tokyo sushi bar, diners can prop up at the u-shaped counter to watch the grills being worked or linger among the darker shadows and vines at high tables and chairs.
The red and black interior is dark and sultry. And the food, oh the food, is classical, creative and delicious all at once.
This was not my first visit so I knew that no-one, I repeat, no-one should go without dessert at L'Atelier. Just take a look at the dessert menu which reads like sweet toothed poetry from the gods. Therefore, we skipped entrees and went straight to main course. I chose the cockerel with a smooth, creamy pilaf. Flavoursome, moist and lovely.
Helen went for a colourful dish of sea bream and bok choy with a red onion, corn and tomato salsa. I couldn't distract her for long enough to steal a nibble, but she gave it the thumbs up.
Our wines by the glass were also matched perfectly - a Hungarian white for Helen's bream, and a smooth Barbera d'Alba for me. So far, so good.
Then along came Dessert. Dessert was a masterpiece of chocolatey heaven in all its glory. Think what would happen if a big, magical, marvellous food genie combined light, crispy mielle feuille, sumptious chocolatey fudge and a beautifully placed dollop of voluptuous chocolate ice-cream with a smear of rich chocolate sauce. Sounds all a bit chocolatey? Well, somehow, it wasn't overkill. Exquisite.
One doesn't get the best from L'Atelier by sticking to the prix fixe options - doing so is like going to the Vic market and not coming home with a bag of jam donuts (substitute "Brick Lane" and "bagels" for those who don't know what I'm talking about). Gastronauts with time to explore the amazing and extensive a la carte menu would unearth more from the experience. However, L'Atelier remains a fuss free, fun way to sample some deluxe fare whether you're eating on the run or have some time to linger and be dazzled. Enjoy!
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, 13-15 West Street, London, WC2H 9NE