Tuesday, January 26, 2010

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

December 21, 2009, Monday. One day before I fly home for the holidays. Agenda: do bank stuff, grab quick lunch, frantic last minute shopping the rest of the day.

One thing I have learned in my 30 years in this crazy world is that things don’t always go as planned. 

Things can change. And they often do.

Sometimes in life we are suddenly faced with truths, events or obstacles that change our lives forever. Sometimes we overcome and rise over them, sometimes we stumble and fall.

Like I do. With the Robuchon obstacle. I stumble and fall into the restaurant. And that is why I do not finish my Christmas shopping.

 l'atelier de joel robuchon
The receptionist greets me with obvious hesitation. It is 2:15pm. They close at 2:30pm. I eat fast, I promise her.

She suggests the 3-course lunch set at the bar area. I say I want the 4-course in the main dining room. Again, obvious display of hesitation. But customer is always boss. Mwahahaha!

l'atelier de joel robuchon

But then again, the wait staff can also make or break one’s dining experience. And the way my Robuchon waiter rushes everything during this super hurried lunch, it definitely destroys my experience.

 IMG_8188Assortment of Robuchon Breads
The breads are excellent, as always. Waiter doesn’t hide his surprise when I ask for one of each kind. And is even more surprised when I finish them all.

The instant I finish ordering, they bring me the amuse bouche. And as soon as I put my utensils down after the last spoonful, they take away my plate and serve me the next course. One plate after another, no breaks in between. My, fine dining has never been so stressful!

IMG_8183  Amuse Bouche
I am sorry I’m not able to catch what this is called. 
The waiter tongue-twists incoherently in his hurry.

IMG_8195 Le Foie Gras
The foie gras is good, but can be better with a different accompaniment. 
The apple and citrus confit is so sour it overpowers and ruins the delicate flavor of the liver.

IMG_8199La Saint-Jacques
A little bit of spiciness adds life to the tender and chubby scallop. 
But overall just an okay dish. No surprises.

The lamb fillet is SO VERY tender. Minimal cutting and chewing required. It is an excellent dish save for the too strong tomato flavor in the tomato-eggplant fondant. I scrape off most of the red paste in order to taste the eggplant.

IMG_8221 Hazelnut Coffee Puff and Signature Chocolate Mousse
Whole hazelnuts and light hazelnut cream ooze out when you cut into the puff, a delight for hazelnut suckers like me. The chocolate mousse is very smooth and chocolatey sweet. Not as dark and rich as I imagine it to be, but still grin-inducing. I eat the two babies alternately for the best gustatory effect.

IMG_8223 Le Cafe Express
The coffee is strong and so good it deserves a paragraph of its own. 
I love that they give cream instead of milk. It makes a whole world of difference. 

macarons Petit Fours
And doesn’t that look so swanky? Macarons, fruit jellies and gold chocolate covered crispies. Preciousness.

Things don’t always go as planned. Things change. Sometimes in the blink of an eye. 

But not all changes are bad. Most actually happen for the best reasons. Like this Robuchon meal. Dining all by myself, I have all the food all to myself. No hungry male species hovering about and stealing from my plate. Yeah!!!

All by myself. And full to the brim. With a long and unfinished Christmas shopping list.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon: Shop 401, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong.
Tel: +852-2166-9000
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