Thursday, 21 April 2011

L’Atelier Etoile de Joel Robuchon, Paris

My first taste of Michelin starred food was at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas a few years ago. Since then, I have been on a bit of a mission to visit other Robuchon restaurants, and have so far been to the one in London and Paris St Germain. Last weekend we went to Paris for a few days and managed to tick another one off the list, the recently opened L’Atelier Etoile de Joel Robuchon.

The restaurant was a bit of nightmare to find, at the top of the Champs Elysees but actually within a shop called the Drugstore. Down some steps within the store we came across the typical red and black design of Robuchon restaurants. Inspired by a sushi bar, diners are seated at a long bar around an open-style kitchen, so you can see your food being prepared. Despite not having a reservation, coats were taken and we were shown to some bar stools.

Amuse bouche
 Our pathetically limited French wasn’t too much of a disadvantage as our waiter spoke English and was happy to explain some of the options on the menu. Although there are traditional starters and mains, we decided to go with the tasting dishes – small plates of Robuchon creations!

An amuse bouche was brought out first – a shot glass with a jelly-like substance. I heard the waiter say something about fennel but the rest of the ingredients escaped me. No matter, it was delicious.

The first of my small plates was aubergine soup with a poached egg, mushrooms and small slices of ham. From the picture, you can see a mesh-like decoration in the middle – I am uncertain what this is but it looked good, and tasted good too! Although quite a mixed bag of a dish, all the flavours went well together.

We decided to share our next course. This was “Le Burger” Robuchon-style. The dish was actually split into two plates which was a nice touch. Le Burger is a tiny beef burger, topped with fois gras and bell peppers, in the smallest bun I have ever seen! It came with a side of crinkle cut fries and homemade ketchup. “Better than McDonalds?” the waiter enquired after we had demolished it. Just a bit.

My third and final plate was “La Caille” – quail stuffed with fois gras and the infamous Robuchon mash. I have heard different things about this mash, from it being a third butter to half butter. It is incredibly rich and creamy and you can’t eat much of it. But it is amazing!

We missed out dessert. Despite the portions being small, the food is very rich and it is surprising how full we felt.

The only mistake I made was ordering the wrong wine. I am not much of an expert on French wine, so ordered the cheapest. It was a Columbard/Sauvignon and it was awful. I replaced it with a glass of red because I think it is harder to get an undrinkable red wine.

So another wonderful experience was had at Joel Robuchon. It is not cheap, but then neither is Paris in general so it is well worth a visit. It is not stuffy or formal and we felt we were made very welcome with great service from the various servers. Outstanding.

1 comment:

  1. *dribble lands on keyboard*

    sounds awesome! I love the little burger, I've wondered about making something similar myself for the missus. she loves burgers but they are always too big. plus who doesnt love cute little versions of good food!