After a period living in Paris, where Guy Savoy’s little place La Butte Chaillot became our local canteen, it’s fair to say that we’ve always been looking for a replacement. After lunch on a rainy Saturday at Joel Robuchon, I think we may have cracked it.
I would have thought, after the initial hype, that l’Atelier would be packed out. Errrm. No. Aside from a French couple at the bar and a party of Asian diners on the corner of the bar, nobody else. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Because of the bar concept, it didn’t feel like an empty room (and to be fair, a few more trickled in a bit later). I suspect that this absence of people may be down to the negative view taken by the broadsheets. Harumph!
So what makes l’Atelier worthy of local canteen status – particularly after every broadsheet reviewer has panned the place? Start with the lunch choices – The oeuf cocotte, and oh! the frogs legs in tempura (wow!) and the foie gras and beef burger (!!) but the real success, the true culinary litmus test, was the mashed potatoes.
Do you remember when Mirabelle used to be somewhere that you would actually eat without fear of being shipped off to an OAP home with the rest of the diners? Do you remember the classic pomme puree that they made that was a creamy emulsion of butter and carbo happiness? *sigh* for those days back again, but now, the boys at Robuchon are here to save us with (I don’t want to over hype this, but) the MOST AMAZING combo of butter, cream, and carbs ever. E.V.E.R.
Desert was a bit of a let down for the combination of mint ice cream and a fondant – great fondant, mediocre mintiness. The Saint Aubin on the wine list at £60 was actually value for money. The service was charming. The chef on duty (Udo Moreau if we read his jacket correctly) is, ahem, hot, and deserves to be on the stage in that kitchen for the diners’ pleasure.
Lunch for two on a rainy Saturday afternoon, incl wine and service – £219.38. Mashed Potatoes – Priceless… Ignore the naysayers, sit at the bar, and eat well.