Wednesday, May 4, 2011

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (HK) - ♕♕♕

Michelin 2 Stars

 This has been my 3rd visit to this HK outlet since the beginning, and a friend who had already tried some other starred Western dining restaurants with me wanted to give this place a shot as Robuchon’s chain is normally regarded as close enough to showcasing the epitome of French Dining internationally, hence its awarding of 25+ global Stars!   Although food quality here is of highish standards, we did think it’s gradually becoming a little tired, considering this is Joel’s new venture after his very long hiatus, before firing back with the bold new concept of cooking contemporary French while borrowing from Japanese philosophies & approach, even imitating the sushi/ryori counter idea for his L’Atelier’s designed dining space. 

Unfortunately, 1 unprofessional male staff here was exceptionally rude.  Not only does he never smile, probably thinks he’s better looking than you with his gestures, nor acknowledge customers after orders, but when enquiring about our wine orders and I politely said in Chinese:  “May be no wine tonight for now, perhaps I’ll order later?”  since I was still recovering from a flu and hesitant - he then actually dared to proceed repeating to his colleague right in front of me and my dining partner in an disparagingly humiliating tone, what I’ve just said to him,  “No wine for tonight FOR NOW!!”  then rolls his eyes in a patronizing way.    2 Stars service?  Yes, definitely  >  Service: ★★☆☆☆☆.   Utterly disgraceful & ridiculous, an unforgivable experience worthy of being an International Embarrassment.


Open Kitchen. Center Grill Station (?)

Several Natural Mineral Water selections here -
I chose Wattwiller from France (non-sparkling).  Lovely!


French Butter -
They seem to have changed to a better butter?

Bread Basket -
I think the bread basket is very good here, but the harder breads like their baguette or epi, are way too hard compared to other Robuchon outlets.  And why is that anyway?  ~  8/10


L’Amuse Bouche -
Cauliflower cream, Foie Gras Mousse, and Port Wine Sauce with Crispy Parmesan soldiers, or Pork Rind sauce according to how the staff pronounce it …   A simple and well executed Amuse Bouche, but not entirely exciting and hardly changes.   ~   6/10


Le Foie Gras Poele, compotee d’oignons caramelises a la Truffle noire -
The poele in this case means teppan instead, since that is how L’Atelier grill a lot of meat or seafood, they even use a Japanese teppanyaki cover.   The Duck Gras was slightly too cooked and carried very little liver flavour, definitely not as good as the ones we ate in say 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, Sabatini or even Ajitomi.  Onion compote and fried onion on top were nice enough, but I could hardly pick up any truffle scent at all  ~   5/10

Le Pied de Cochon sur une tartine gratinee au  Parmesan et la Truffle -
More truffles again, this time a little stronger!  This Pork meat with cheese and truffle on baguette was very good.  I think this was so good, I would come back just to eat this dish!  Baguette was a bit hard though  ~  10/10


Le Brocoli en veloute cremeux a la muscade, virtuelle de lar -
Broccoli cream veloute with nutmeg and bacon..  with a sprinkle of chili powder.  This was ok but wouldn’t say it’s the best veloute or soup u can get, especially from a 2 star restaurant.  And in fact, Caprice and Robuchon a Galera in Macau make better versions  ~  7/10

Les Ravioles de Foie Gras dans un Bouillon de Poule et une Fleurette Pimentee -
Foie Gras making its 3rd appearance on the night by now.    Chicken Soup was nice, with a sprinkle of herbs chiffonade, and extra cream with Espelette pepper for pouring into the wonton-like soup.  Ravioli skin were undercooked on certain bites though, and the foie gras flavour
was deemed weakish but acceptable.   ~  6/10


Le Boeuf la joue braisee au vin du Minervois, polenta rustique au Parmesan,
Olives Taggiasche -
Beef Cheek braised with Minervois wine, with parmesan polenta and olives looked good but was too salty (even for a salt whore like me!), the cheek was surprisingly dryish stringy rather than having absorbed much sauce during braising.  ~   6/10

La Caille au foie gras caramélisée avec une pomme purée truffée -
Even though one gets to choose your own courses the two of us chose one of each to share, naturally.   This recommended item replaced another unwanted item from the Dinner Course menu, out come Free range quail stuffed with more foie gras and truffled mashed potatoes. Making this the 4th dish with repetitive Foie Gras and 3rd dish with Truffle during a single dining meal.  They owe themselves to rename here as L’Foie Gras de Joel Robuchon..     The confit quail leg and stuffed breast were done very well, but the portion was way too small as a main course…  The dollop of famous truffled mash?  It was tasteless, nil from potato, butter nor truffle.  It’s been 3 strikes in a row now in HK L’Atelier when this has happened, yet previous visits to Macau Robuchon a Galera and Tokyo’s Robuchon Chateau convinced me this is a local mash problem.  The difference in performance was day and night  ~    6.5/10

Les Fromages and Fromage Cart -
Picked Vacherin Mont d’Or, Valencay and Comte cheese, only to have the above-mentioned arrogant waiter correct my pronounciation in a hostile way even though he carried a strong HK accent himself.  The cheese is obviously good, and I liked the salad, but I think cheese offerings in Caprice and Amber or say Pierre are slightly stronger.  Came with more bread below.  ~  7/10

More Bread and Fruit Loaf and Crackers for Cheese -


Le Marron en mousse sur plaqutte de chocolat au lait, pailettes de cassis -
A simple chestnut mousse cake with milk chocolate, cassis-blackcurrant flakes and a fruit sorbet, except I couldn’t find any cassis flakes, they’re whole plump fruits.  This tasted good, but is the type of last a la minute assembled desserts available in cake shops  ~  7/10

Mignardises:  Pistachio Macaron, Chocolate, Pearls, Fruit Pate, Madeleine - 
The madeleine, with a nice colour from even baking and Beurre Noisette, was offered as a singular item to 2 customers, So was the one piece of chocolate.  So I am meant to kill my friend if I want to eat both?   Macaron wise, I think there’s some real pistachio meal infused, but they’re just soft from the 1st bite outside.  Appearance wise, this was ok, but for me Petits Fours show how much effort the restaurant has put into the overall meal’s design.  Most haute cuisine restaurant’s do their own special versions of appealing and engaging amuse bouche or mignardises, everyone looks forward to themL’Atelier’s ones, are about downstair’s Salon de The expected quality, but at upstairs?…    ~   6/10  


Earl Grey Tea -
Was good, so was coffee.

Rude Service by 1 Guy ruins the whole experience.
Mediocre food, Poorer execution than other outlets. 
And I thought it’ll be a fun place to return to…



Price: $680 + 10% Per Person
Score: ★★★☆☆☆

Mon to Sun:
07:30am - 10:00am,
12:00pm - 14:30pm,
18:00pm - 22:30pm

Address: 中環德輔道中12-16號置地廣場4樓401號舖
Shop 401, 4/F, The Landmark, 16 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
Ph: 2166 9000


  1. L'Atelier has been called gourmet fast food restaurant...has it not? Seems like the waiter thinks he's working at a fast food store. I think L'Atelier is something know you'll get something presentable and within a certain standard. The tartine dish does look like it'd be awesome!

  2. @ Rachelle, I don't normally complain about service at all, because to be honest I couldn't care less as long as they are not rude or try to over-ride the customers! But this time it really was appalling!

    I agree the food here is pretty solid. Last time I wrote a review on Openrice, i gave here an OK-4 rating, because there were no surprises but equally no bad representations, other than some overly salted dishes! Anyway I hope that the Particular Staff knows how not to treat customers from now on : )

  3. I've recently had a meal at Le Meurice in Paris, where service was impeccable. The servers clearly knew more than I did about the food, but they didn't act haughty at all about it and was very friendly when I had questions (perhaps even some stupid questions) about their dishes. They even managed to chat with me in a non-obtrusive way and made me feel very comfortable at the restaurant. I've never experienced something like this in Hong Kong yet, even in the high-end restaurants.



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