Tuesday 14 April 2009

L'atelier de Joel Robouchon.

It was my birthday and to celebrate the occasion I chose to go to Atelier at the Four Seasons. The small plates idea appealed and given we had stuffed our faces with two kinds of pizza earlier on in the day I thought it a safer bet than a tasting menu.

The atmosphere is quite relaxed and I think that has to do with the counter seating, which I requested in advance. That way we had a full view of the 'ballet' going on in the kitchen whilst ogling what our fellow diners were consuming. Here is the legendary bread basket that many people make the mistake of gorging themselves on, but not us!

We started with a foie gras amuse bouche.

As you know I am over Foie Gras, so I didn't have one but I was informed by HI that it was very rich and smooth just as you might expect from a fattened goose liver! As if that wasn't enough fat in one dish HI outdid himself and ordered another foie gras dish, which didn't look that appetising.

I had La langoustine, which was ok.

I have read reviews where people rave about how the brik casing is not greasy but I thought it was, kinda like a posh scampi.
The Free-Range Caramelised Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras, Potato Purée was good but not as good as the quail from maze.

HI had the original Mcfoie burgers (Beef and Foie Gras Burgers with Lightly Caramelised Bell Peppers) but ended up preferring the ones from Tapa C24 more!

I then had the standout dish of the night which made me wish I hadn't ordered anything else as I was quite full by then.

Veal Cheeks Braised in Red Wine and Cumin-Scented Carrots . I could happily eat this over and over again. It was tasty and filling, the sort of dish you would wish to come home to on a cold and wintry night. It is not often that kind of feeling is evoked in a restaurant as high end as this, but they managed the mix of sophisticated with homely, perfectly. It reminded me of the veal cheek dish at Cinc Sentits HI went a step too far and ordered the steak tartare which he proclaimed to be a big lump of rich meat.

I reminded him that he had just chosen to eat two foie gras dishes in a row, and then some more foie gras to be topped off with some raw steak. What did he expect? As steak tartare go, it was pretty damn fine especially as accompanied by some frites.

I don't think they believed us when we said that we were full so they proceeded to give up a pre-dessert shot, some sort of passion-fruit sabayon

and then as it was my birthday they kindly gave us 4 slices of pudding to eat even though we protested we were full!

So, some dishes were just ok, one was outstanding. It was quite an expensive meal and I don't know if I would go back. I think I have eaten similar dishes executed better elsewhere, but at least I can cross it off my list.

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