[Hong Kong] Joel Robuchon is known as the “Chef of the Century”, owning restaurants from Paris, Las Vegas, London to Tokyo, earning a total of 28 Michelin stars, the most of any chefs in the entire world. This meal at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is my first Robuchon’s, and also my first 3 Star Michelin.
This restaurant executed by Chef Olivier Elzer was first listed at no. 1 on Asia’s Top 20 Restaurants of the Miele Guide in 2009, and still remains top 3 this year. While it was ranked the 53rd best restaurant in the world in 2010, 2012’s version saw it unfortunately unplaced. (Read about No. 28 Nijonryori Ryugin, No. 39 Waku Ghin and No. 44 Amber). (Updated: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong is ranked Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 at Number 18.)
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon of Hong Kong is divided into two areas – an open L’Atelier and a closer intimate Le Jardin – located at The Landmark, which houses luxury brands from Louis Vuitton, Harvey Nichols to Tiffany. Yet you can still come dressed in your smart casuals, because the ambience is bustling with energy and rather informal.
Zagat was quoted that you could “spend your children’s inheritance” for a “fabulous experience” at this Robuchon production in Central. Fortunately, I did not need to spend my would-be children’s inheritance away. The L’Atelier-Show Kitchen Dinner is ‘reasonably’ priced at HK$830+ (SGD$132, USD$107), and set lunch is HK$448 (SGD$71.50, USD$57.80) I used the word ‘reasonably’ because $132 in Singapore would not get you even close to a 3 star Michelin standard.
For first-timers, I would recommend sitting at the L’Atelier counter where you can watch the chefs in full action within an open kitchen concept – as though you are watching a cooking programme, but it’s live. The square counter seating is inspired by Tokyo sushi restaurants, with a sexy colour scheme of lush red and mysterious black. The flipside is I found myself in a rather cramp situation, seated too high up, too close to strangers.
The starter, a scottish smoked salmon, has delightful touches coming in the form of soft creamy white asparaguses, and crispy poached quail eggs, highlighting an enthusing play on textures. The fish on its own is otherwise standard fare.
Surprisingly, the best dish of the meal was neither the meat mains or desserts, but the “carnarolli” risotto with caramelized chausey lobster with sea urchin. Needless to say, the chunky lobster flesh and oh-so-luscious-yummy uni with the evenly cooked risotto was a combination so lip-smacking good, achieving a balance that is not too dry or moist. Almost perfect.
The pan seared A4 Kagoshima beef tenderloin with aromatic arugula salad which comes with a supplement of HK$400 is rather underwhelming. Not that it is any bad, but when contrasted with the roasted challans duck breast and poached baby pear in spiced red wine, it lacks an additional oomph and almost felt that it was not enough to warrant that extra price.
Dessert was a rich and gorgeous-looking caribbean chocolate mousse on sugar crust pastry with Grand Marnier ice-cream.
At L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, I was more impressed with the concept and ambience rather than the tapas-style food. (Even went for wonton noodles after the meal.)
Words I would definitely use to describe the restaurant – sexy, cool, energetic, friendly, enthusiastic, and lively. Delicious, delectable, scrumptious – somewhat, maybe, to a certain extent. Perhaps I came with a heart full of anticipation. After all, this is three-star Michelin right?
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Shop 401, 4/F The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong (Central Station) Tel: +852 2166 9000 firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 2:30pm, 6:30pm – 10:30pm Daily