Monday, October 14, 2013

L'atelier de joel robuchon- HK

I was so excited to be able to get a reservation at L'atelier d Joel Robuchon. --- michelin starred restaurant in hk.

First of all, let me tell you that I don't often dine at Michelin starred restaurants. But what the heck. I am at that certain age that I want to experience a little what a Michelin starred restaurant would taste like. Plus JIN (a food blogger in Manila gave it 3 hearts -- which I assume a sign that it's good)

For this trip, I was with a friend and we had to do some work first before our scheduled dinner. As we were running late, I had to call the restaurant to say we needed to move our reservations from 7- 7:30pm. From our hotel in Kowloon, we had to take the subway to Central (HK side). Whadda you know? Central is HUGE!!! and we had to huff it and run because we got off the train at about 7:15pm.

My friend was wheezing from all the running we had to do---. We ran to Exit G ( Landmark.) and  I think we did 100 meter dash from jumping off the train.

where we are seated

The restaurant is actually located on top of two other of Joel's restaurants- one is a bakery and another is like a cafe. This one is more fine dining (I guess business is good..!-- 3 restos in one place).

We were ushered in and  got seated, like the rest of the patrons at the bar with a view of the open kitchen. In front of us was a autumn inspired display of pumpkins and leaves (plus a few star anise)

My friend (and also client ; was my date for tonight and I ordered the tasting menu... hk$880). I assumed this one is the best selection.

Don't even bother with the wine list (which by the way comes in either a book about 3 inches thick or an ipad version... either of which I couldn't afford since per glass rates is about hk$220 per glass... a meal in itself!
the "tome" aka wine list.. its like war and peace! you'll get hungry before you get to the last page

our menu

basket of bread!!!
We were given a basket of great looking bread. I had to taste some of it to see what its all about.

bacon bread... a bit salty!
One thing about the restaurant was it was well staffed. There was one waiter for every side and you didn't have to ask for your water to get refilled.

 The first course. amuse bouche: literally translating to "mouth amuser" (I googled it)... this one consisted of chestnut mousse (left) and a foie gras moussse (right) with a ginger topping. -- hmm.. nothing spectacular. I had to swish the mouse around to try to figure out the taste.

Second course: le foie gras - foie gras cubes and jelly beef consomme on chilled daikon "veloute"
(googled veloute - its means sauce)

After a cold appetizer.. I was ready for something warm. Lo and behold. a COLD soup. see the dark colored jelly? that's the beef consommé. (like soup I put in the fridge and scooped out). the cubes are my foie gras----looked like something sliced out of a can. I swished the dots around and tasted the cold soup. Finally, I quipped to my friend " I wonder when the michelin star would come in.. coz I certainly can't taste it!!!" - she laughed at that one cause it was what she was thinking at the exact same moment but she was just too shy to say so since I was footing the bill... hahahaha

We were hopeful though.... so 3rd course - le homard - Maine lobster fricassee with spelt risotto and lobster coral emulsion.

This was a so so dish. the foam hinting of lobster. the risotto was ok but not wowing us. (I guess our expectations were high).. It had a hint of cayenne in it, so you had a back end kick of spiciness. my friend barely finished her dish. I had a hard time eating since I was trying to find the ingredients in the dish and looking to say it was delicious. (pls pls let the next one be delicious!!! was all we could both mutter!! hahaha)

4th course - Iberican pork- Le porc Iberique. 

with a side dish of very very creamy mashed potatoes

We were so underwhelmed. I was ready to cry from frustration, not only because the meal itself cost so much ---- we had made an effort (running) to get to the restaurant.

OH Joel!!!!

Dessert at last..... one of the things I love about eating is dessert. I was half afraid to taste actually.

 La mange - black pepper "bavaroise" with passion fruit cream and mango sherbet. Our waiter had a hard time remembering the dessert and sometimes, we couldn't even understand him because of the HK accent to his english. Good thing I took a picture of the menu. The sherbet is the one on the middle with the tulle on top. This was ok too *see the foam on the sides again. The black pepper on the bavarian cream was puzzling. It was like what's it for? it didn't do anything for me. It tasted like cream WITH PEPPER.

Me and my friend were discussing what we missed with this meal.

Was it that we lacked finesse?

Was it that we weren't "cultured" enough to appreciate this meal?

I have had other meals. Meals that made me say "wow" and it blew my socks off. This was none of the above. Hoenstly? The most appreciated part of the meal was the FREE macarons and gold covered maltesers they serve at the end... and the coffee. Yeah. they serve great coffee

I wanted to ask for more of the fold covered crispies. Just so I can validate the moolah spent
Would I recommend this restaurant? probably not.
My friend reasoned that maybe if we had a different set or lunch menu it would have been different. MAYBE. But for a michelin starred restaurant, I would expect EVERY meal would wow me. This was listed #3... mind you. #3!!! in ASIA. 

They handed me a gift after I paid.... banana bread! Gave it the next day to my HK supplier. wonder if he enjoyed it.

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