The Two Bears’s good friend and professional chef Alex is still eating his way around the world! Enjoy his review in KH!
Here we are, another country and another city that has a three Michelin starred restaurant by the legendary Joel Robuchon. How can I not go? (Honestly, the first four restaurants I booked for this trip were Robuchon ones). I was particularly excited for Hong Kong’s iteration of L’Atelier, given I had the choice of booking at the bar seating L’Atelier is known for, or in an area called ‘Le Jardin’ (The garden). I chose Le Jardin, mostly for something different, but also because I do enjoy a very formal dining room on occasion. This was certainly formal, with all the male waitstaff in suits and female staff in long black dresses. I knew the environment I was in, and I was ready to take it on.
I sat at my table, confident of my order but wanting to follow the due process of the restaurant. A sommelier appeared, offering me a glass of wine. He recommended something, and I took his suggestion. (On a side note here, I mean absolutely no disrespect to sommeliers or wine aficionados reading my reviews, but wine is not something I find particularly interesting. I appreciate it’s matches with foods, but a connoisseur I am not.)
I ordered the ‘Menu Découverte’ (Discovery menu) and I would have done a wine pairing, but no such offer was made. Oh well, I honestly didn’t really feel like 8 glasses of wine tonight anyway.
Tasting menus at Joel Robuchon restaurants always start with a little amuse bouche which is listed but not described on the menu. For the first time, I actually remembered to photograph and write down the description from the waiter! So here we have a white asparagus espuma (An aerated cream) with chorizo, bell peppers (capsicum), croutons and basil. Acting as a palate cleanser, this was superb, full of flavour yet wonderfully light.
A ‘Surprise of Sologne Imperial caviar’ came next, with a take on a Robuchon classic. Served in the caviar tin, on the base was a mix of Alaskan king crab meat and fennel cream, with a lobster jelly as the middle layer and caviar covering the top. This was a wonderful take, rich, well rounded and very well presented.
Next up, a Robuchon favourite combination so far on this trip, white asparagus and sea urchin. Again, a slightly different twist but some wonderful flavours, a miso emulsion, espelette pepper and wasabi cress. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and the miso emulsion was a nice addition, adding a little saltiness and a little sweetness. The gold leaf as a decoration was a nice touch too.
Next, probably my favourite dish of the night (No surprises here), morel mushroom and iberico ham raviolis with celeriac foam. These flavours are exactly the ones I like, plenty of richness, earthiness and saltiness. My only disappointment was that only two ravioli were on the plate, I could have eaten so many more!
Course number four, Grilled Maine Lobster, green peas and baby bok choy. This also came with a saffron lobster bisque poured tableside. I love lobster, and this was amongst the best I’ve had in a long, long time. The meat was beautiful, the bisque rich yet light, and the vegetable elements providing a wonderful contrast.
Another seafood course this time black cod with Malabar black pepper sauce and coconut emulsion. Whenever I think black cod, I always think of Nobu’s signature black cod and miso, a dish that has almost had a monopoly over black cod since it’s debut. The inspiration for this dish was clearly Nobu-san’s, with this fish also marinated overnight in miso. In this iteration however, the addition of a black pepper sauce and coconut gave it more depth, rounding things out overall. I was quite surprised, this was very enjoyable.
Now, the main course. I had a choice of a quail dish or a beef dish. I chose beef, with the HKD$250 (Approx. AUD$42) supplement for Japanese A5 wagyu (Up from A3). I don’t really know what to say about this one, I enjoyed it but the pepper crusting was a little thick for me, especially when it was served with a pepper sauce. The baby onions, green asparagus and green asparagus puree were wonderful additions. The beef itself however, a delight. Perfectly cooked, and wonderfully tender.
My first dessert, Exotic fruits with coconut mousse and sorbet. On the base of this dish, a curd and jelly of passionfruit and mango, with the coconut elements on top. The intricate pattern on top was white chocolate. This was a great dish, wonderfully fresh and light, a wonderful pre-dessert and palate cleanser.
On to the last course of the night, Pear compotes with poire williams, chocolate tuille, mousse and sorbet. I love the combination of pear and chocolate, and this is no exception. A wonderful finish to a fantastic meal.
I had a coffee to finish, and some petit fours arrived: a vanilla macaron, banana chocolate, dark chocolate tart and madeleine.
I had a wonderful experience at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong. The food and service were both wonderful, and the dining room typically stunning. Overall, the Robuchon experience was on full display here, with great food at typically exorbitant prices. Even only having two glasses of wine, my bill was still a little over HKD$3000 (AUD$500). I didn’t enjoy this as much as Joel Robuchon Singapore, or even the two starred L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Singapore.
The issue of value has been prevalent in my reviews previously, and I’ve defended very expensive restaurants but I don’t know if I want to do that here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed everything I had and I would like to compliment all the staff, but for $500+? I don’t know, I just don’t know.
Address: Shop 401, 4/F Landmark Atrium, Queens Road Central, Central, Hong Kong.
Tip! Don’t do what I almost did and walk past the entrance on the street. The restaurant is on the fourth floor of a shopping complex, so this entrance is easily missed.