The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Revisit: Dinner @ L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Hong Kong

Recently we had a spate of friends from overseas visiting Hong Kong. One of them is a friend I've known for almost a decade, who I met on an online forum for Perth brides-to-be when we were both planning our weddings ten years ago. We went on a few double dates with our respective hubbies for a couple of years before their first baby was born and we moved to Japan shortly after. They have since also relocated to another country with their children, and it was nice to meet up once again in a different city, sans kids, just like our younger days. She wanted somewhere fancy, so it was only natural to suggest our favourite French restaurant in Hong Kong L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. They had never tried Robuchon before, and we were happy to be the ones to introduce the Robuchon experience to them. We are no strangers to L'Atelier in Hong Kong, having been here a few times in the past four years. We've also dined at the L'Atelier restaurants in Tokyo and Paris, and the Hong Kong one is my favourite so far. We sat at the bar counter (of course), and though we didn't manage to get the corner of the bar, the four of us didn't have too much trouble conversing. Service was thoughtful of the fact that our friends do not eat pork, removing all bacon items from the bread basket and the amuse-bouche. We had an awesome time chatting and enjoying a fantastic meal.

I love watching the action in the open kitchen:

And I love Robuchon's bread:

Hubby ordered a L'Atelier Negroni (HK$140), which was quite nice (but potent):

There were a few menu options available for dinner: a set dinner menu of six courses, a discovery menu of ten courses, a special tasting menu, and the a-la-carte menu of full-sized servings. Like last time, we went with the small plates from the tasting menu and our friends followed suit. It's a great way to taste a variety of dishes without filling up too much (the bread already does a good job of that!). We've been to L'Atelier often enough to have favourite dishes (lobster ravioli!), but we did make an effort to try some new dishes. Hubby and I shared everything, so we got a couple of our favourite dishes and a few more that we hadn't tried before. Beautiful presentation, amazing flavours!

An amuse-bouche of melon jelly topped with bacon and whipped cream, and fried Comté cheese balls:

Hubby ordered La Lisette en fine tarte croustillante à la tomate et vierge d’agrumes - crispy mackerel tart with tomato and citrus condiments (HK$230). It was delicious, and the Comté cheese topping made this a little bit like a mini-pizza on a crispy base:

One of my favourite L'Atelier dishes: Le Homard en fines ravioles, navet au romarin à l’aigre-doux - Maine lobster in turnip raviolis (HK$280). Juicy sweet lobster flesh encased in a slightly crunchy 'ravioli' skin made from turnip:

Le Pied de Cochon sur une tartine frottée à l’ail et gratinée au parmesan, jus de viande et truffe noir - pork trotters on toasted garlic baguettes with parmesan gratin and black truffle (HK$290). Fantastic flavours, and I loved the play on textures of the soft fatty trotter meat with the crunch of the toast. With such richness, one toast was plenty for me, any more and it would have overwhelmed:

Black truffle with the pork trotters, and Comté cheese made another appearance here:

L'agneau en côtelettes dorées à la fleur de thym - lamb cutlets with fresh thyme (HK$280). A good classic:

La Saint-Jacques au curry vert et coriandre, farfalle à l’encre de seiche - jumbo scallop with green curry and coriander sauce, squid ink farfalle (HK$220). This also came in full-sized serving from the a-la-carte menu, but I was not sure how I would like the coriander sauce so I stuck with the tasting plate size. It was amazing! The coriander flavour was subtle, and the scallop was perfectly cooked, moist and sweet:

Le Caramel en soufflé, mangue fraîche et glace au miel - signature caramel soufflé with fresh mango and honey ice-cream (HK$200):

We were told to make a hole in the soufflé with the spoon, and the caramel sauce was poured into it. I liked this, though hubby thought it was still a bit too wet in the middle:

I doubt I will ever tire of eating at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon. If only we could afford to dine here more regularly!

L'ATELIER de Joël Robuchon
Shop 315 & 401
The Landmark
15 Queen's Road Central
Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2166 9000
Online reservations available at Robuchon's website

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