In London, we’re very spoilt for choice when it comes to fine dining. Yet of all the exceptional restaurants we could have chosen to celebrate a milestone occasion, I regret we chose L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. A mix up with our table reservation meant we needed to be banished to the bar while the staff attempted to sort out the situation, which pretty much set the tone for the whole evening.
I wish I could be kinder about the food, but the reality was the scallop carpaccio was overpowered by its citrus dressing, making it feel like I was scooping lemon zest into my mouth with every morsel. The langoustine ravioli was better taste-wise, though had clearly been sitting on the pass for a while, as the dressing had started to curd. Long, unnecessary waits between courses further exasperated the situation. The sole and lobster dishes came to the table tepid at best, by which time we’d just lost interest. We couldn’t wait to get the bill and make a hasty exit, but there was still one final insult awaiting us, yet to be dished out.
When you’re operating at the Michelin star level, with that comes a certain expectation around standards that were clearly lacking across the three restaurant staples: food, service and ambience. our evening at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon was a poor showing by anyone’s standard, and had there been aspects of the experience which were handled better, perhaps I’d be a little more forgiving. But life’s too short, and London is buoyant with a multitude of eateries more deserving of my custom. As for that last insult… well never ask the staff to arrange a taxi on your behalf. The restaurant works with a completely overpriced ‘executive’ car service that’ll cost you double the black cab fair home.