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Le Atelier Joel Robuchon @ Hongkong

I had to get my fix of at least one Michelin starred meal and off to Joel it is! Uninformed me thought it is cheaper than Joel locally but then again, the experience would be different. At HKD 420 versus SGD 68, the price differences are marginal. The menus at Le Atelier and Le Jardin are actually similar but I suppose the ambience makes up for the heftier price tag at the latter. Reservations are highly recommended as it was packed when we went – counter seats for a full view of the open concept kitchen (read: no glass panels!) is highly sought after. 


I gleefully made my way to The Landmark, 4th floor and bypassing the casual dining concept of Joel, Le Salon en route up. Enticing much! The escalator leads directly into the dark themed restaurant – splashes of black and red, never looked more luxurious. The place was filled for lunch and reasonably so given it is considerably cheap as compared to the other Michelin starred meals around – HKD 518 at Amber or HKD 468 at Pierre by Pierre Gagnaire. 


Walking the red carpet into the restaurant. 

Service is expectedly top notch and this all started at the beginning of the visit.


Open concept kitchen.


Their breadbasket is W-O-W. Totally puts the restaurants that put that one loaf on the table completely to shame – here’s Joel with a basket full of goodies and six types of bread to pick from and refills are made without a single reminder.

Walnut raisin, baguette, sliced baguette, sour dough, cheese, bacon and brioche attempt to tease palettes. Truly, at Joel…I do not think twice about refills – who cares if I am stuffed to the brim even before the meal begins?


Personal favourite goes to the cheese bread – tiny and greasy as it can be, the fragrance is unmistaken, the taste is an addiction and it lingers on so awesomely!

The other stars in the basket.


Mini croissants so buttery and fragrant.


Baguette for that french touch!


Walnut bread.


Sliced baguette.


Bacon bread, yummy!


Thrice of these and I am completely satisfied.


The salted butter that came with it was hardly a second fiddle – if bread was a mister, the butter had to be his missus.


Amuse bouche courtesy of the chef – mushroom walnut cappuccino and foie gras jelly. Beats me how the ingenious team thought of pairing both but I am way sold, so early into the meal. I am hardly a fan of thin soups but this was light yet complex without compromising on flavour. Loved the crunch of the nuts. Foie gras jelly perhaps is nothing new but it was done so perfectly – rich in flavour and buttery smooth. 


Les Tomatoes
Assorted tomatoes flavored with sumac spice and basil oil

The French manager nodded his head in approval when I ordered this, which speaks volumes I suppose! The only time I was blown away by a tomato appetizer was at Iggy’s  and Bo Innovation, and ever since it has been quite a task finding it on a menu much less being impressed. Four types of tomatoes in various colours made this a colourful visual display. The simple sumac spice and basil oil flavouring brought much flavour to this – loved it! 


La Cerise
Cherry gazpacho with ricotta cheese sherbet and roasted pistachios

This fiery looking gazpacho was quite unlike one in presentation, portions resembled that of a soup. Cherries hardly tasted like cherries, infact a savoury version of cherry soup. The ricotta cheese sherbet gave this an added surge in flavours – not all of salty but creamy too. 


La Cerise
Smooth zucchini “velouté” and Parmesan foam

Theatrics involved pouring of two soups into one – one stellar one here. Zucchini in a soup, sounds ordinary but the flavours were insanely delicate! The parmesan foam was like a biscuit with the soup – two thumbs up!


Le Beouf
Pan-seared beef tenderloin, black pepper sauce and fresh sucrine salad

Four slices of heaven. Thick enough to showcase the precision of grilling required – I’ve never quite had crispy beef with such a melt in my mouth consistency, tenderloin but they made a wagyu out of it. Fingers and toes awesome! 


Truffled mash that sent me straight to heaven.


La Peche
French white peach compote, verbena jelly and vanilla ice-cream on smooth Tonka cream

No ordinary French peach, these gave a fizzy tinkle on the tongue towards the end. Verbena jelly was wobbly smooth and tonka cream was pretty much like crème brulee. L-O-V-E- is what this is, nothing less. 


Le Parfum Des Iles
Smooth passion fruit cream with vintage amber rum granite and coconut mousse

Presented in a glass sphere, this was hardly a shooter-dessert but one with so much going on – every spoon sprung a surprise. The grainite peaked with a spurt of flavour and melted into nothingness. Passionfruit cream is hardly a universally agreeable flavour but the team made this delectable. 


La Boule Surprise (HKD 160)
Surprise chocolate ball with crunchy pecan, Tahiti vanilla ice-cream


The guys next to us were all praises for this and swore that it is the “best chocolate dessert” ever. Trust the guys to be such dessert fanatics so despite being stuffed, we made an order for it! Thin crisp chocolate disc with a silver homemade m and m on top a chocolate ball dusted with chocolate crumbs. Bittersweet chocolate icecream and crunchy pecans make this amazing! No fuss about a melting chocolate sphere but a highly interactive spoon-cracking version. Worth the pimples and possibly the best chocolate dessert ever. 


To go with the beverages.

Coffee and tea were no ordinary caffeine fixes. The coffee was interesting – the bitterness immediately evaporated the moment it was swallowed, hardly lingering like most coffees do. Smooth as can be and honestly, one of the best coffees in set meals served. 


Petit fours ain’t no dessert trolley  but we were already spoilt rotten by the dazzling display shown at Joel’s by now. Crunchy praline pearls, macarons and fruit jellies to end the meal on a sweet note. Loved them all and raring for a return!

3 course HKD 420
4 course HKD 530

The meal was well paced without awkward pauses – for that, it made it lovely. Service completely faultless and comfortable, no signs of snooty service despite the stars that have been accorded to Chef Joel Robochon. Floored by the display, impressed hugely infact. Best lunch of 2012 and in a top spot for best meal of 2012, indeed. This joins the kyoto restaurant for a repeat in a heartbeat-kind of awesome.

Le Atelier Joel Robuchon
The Landmark, 4th Floor

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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