Wednesday, April 26, 2017

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★★

I have been a little under the weather the last couple of days but with my good friend Agent-I treating dinner tonight, I won't miss it for the world.

Last night around the same time, we were still debating on exactly where to go for dinner. We finally narrowed it down to four restaurants, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Bo Innovation and Épure. As the birthday boy from the month of April, of course I had the final say and I decided to go with Uncle Joël whom I haven't visited for almost a year now.

Both of us wanted smaller portions for different reasons (me due to my poor health and Agent-I for staying in shape) so we danced around the degustation menu and promptly asked for the one labeled "Small tasting portions" instead.

Talk about knowing how to make an entrance. Uncle Joël sure knows a thing or two about setting the tone and that was on full display when our servers brought out tonight's amuse bouche.

When the smoke finally clears, we have a gorgeous bowl of white asparagus emulsion right in front of our eyes.

What better way to start the meal than some "in-season" white asparagus served as a purée with chorizo and peppers. That was a dreamy start.

Le Caviar Impérial ($390) - I didn't realize how much I missed this dish until it sat right there in front of me. It was a wonderfully designed dish and the execution was just perfect. The cannelloni of king crab meat and avocado was topped with the imperial caviar while the condiments of celery (green dot), grapefruit (orange dot) and pepper (yellow dot, well some sort of pepper I think) on the side added the perfect finishing touch.

L'Oursin ($270) - Talk about a dish that never gets old. Robuchon's sea urchin in a lobster jelly topped with cauliflower cream.

A very elegant dish that ranks right up there with the best of it including Amber's signature sea urchin dish which is no longer available these days. I don't know if there's a better match with sea urchin than lobster jelly and cauliflower cream. If there is, I haven't seen (or tasted) it yet.

Le Black Cod ($240) - Finishing things off for me was black cod fish with Malabar black pepper sauce, Chinese cabbage and coconut emulsion. This tasted a little like the always-popular Japanese dish, cod fish with miso glaze. The only difference was replacing the miso with a bit of spicy kick thanks to the black pepper sauce. I like the coconut emulsion there to balance the spiciness of the black pepper. This was simple yet very delicious.

Le Pomme Verte ($170) - I thought I was done after the black cod but that was before I was handed with tonight's dessert menu. Perhaps I could squeeze one in.

It was another beautiful dish with the delicate sugar pearl ball as the centre piece. Inside the sphere was cinnamon panna cotta, caramelized green apple and sorbet.

Even the crumbs underneath had green apple and cinnamon flavors. Very nice.

Petite four was the usual macaron, jelly candy and chocolate. They have printed the words "JR~10~HK" on the chocolate for the celebration of their 10th anniversary in the city.

It feels good to be back at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon again and be reminded of what French haute cuisine is all about. Consistency has always been the prelude of success for all the Robuchon establishments and once again they delivered.

Food Rating: 8.5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: Shop 315 & 401, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Central
Tel: +852 2166-9000
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 41st (2017)

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