London, UK: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

In the world of sports, an athlete aspires to compete at the Olympics held once every four years. They put their lives’ efforts, pin their hopes, and give their all in that ephemeral moment in the competition, to prove that all the hard work was not for naught. That is excellence in the sporting world.

Excellence in the culinary world, however, is measured a little differently. Restaurants are recognized for their worth by the number of (if any) Michelin Stars they are awarded. These stars – a maximum of three – are awarded by an anonymous panel, and can be taken away if they are later found to have fallen below the bar. It breaks my heart a little to say that no, Michelin does not rate restaurants in Singapore.

So it is with much anticipation that we set off to our very first Michelin-recognised restaurant of our lives – L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Covent Garden, London. This restaurant is one in seven 2-star restaurants in London, and we were very excited because they have special pocket-friendly lunch sets at GBP25 and GBP29 for two and three course meals respectively. A great deal for such an acclaimed restaurant!

Here is my starter course:

Egg Cocotte

Egg cocotte topped with light wild mushrooms cream

I’ve never had egg cocotte before, but it was love at first bite! Actually, the texture is so airy and light I’m not sure if I even consider it a bite. Given its light colouring and frothiness, I thought it would taste mild, but I was wrong! And of course a little surprised when my taste-buds and expectations didn’t quite concur. The flavours really stood out; the airy yet creamy egg and the natural flavours of mushroom really complemented each other!

Atelier Style Spaghetti

Atelier style spaghetti

Of all that is on the menu, why in the world spaghetti when there’s fish, meat, to choose from, right? Well, the louder voice in the head was saying: “Oh, heck it. It’s a 2-star, let’s see how special it is.”

And special it was! The spaghetti was al dente and the sauce thick, almost meat-like. Very soulful sort of food considering it’s fine-dining. My only gripe? Not enough to go around; it’s such a pathetic portion. Le sigh.

Tarts

Selection of traditional tarts

Dessert was a selection of five tarts… and it was nothing to rave about. The slices were almost miniscule and the flavours lacked the ‘wow’ factor. It was a rather disappointing way to end the meal, more of a whimper than a bang. I was expecting more from a 2-star Michelin restaurant.

No matter, the decor, mainly red and black makes for a cosy dining experience. I didn’t, however, enjoy sitting on the high stools very much; it isn’t the most comfortable of seats for one to kick back, relax, and enjoy a lazy afternoon chit-chat with your dining companions. Service, on the other hand, was good and prompt, nothing to complain about.

Overall a good dining experience although I’m not in a great hurry to get back. Neither am I very inclined to try the local outlet. Maybe when I have a bit more pocket money to spare, but for now, I would rather explore other gastronomic options.

#####

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, London
13-15 West Street,
London
WC2H 9NE

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Singapore
8 Sentosa Gateway
Hotel Michael Level 1
Resorts World Sentosa

– M

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