The Alchemist About Town is a lifestyle blog for entrepreneurs, business owners and their employees wanting to experience the best of food, culture, travel and lifestyle; after all, business life is a part of a business owner’s life.
My love for all things food has brought me to write My Best Meal Islington Feature blog which covers the best places to eat in my beloved Islington ; the Alchemist though (moi) gets out and about and doesn’t eat only in Islington 😉 so I thought I would share my experiences around London and beyond.
I have a reverence for the artists beyond wonderful food creations ( some people get all gooey over pop singers, I do over chefs..) and Joël Robuchon is a definitely one of my Rockstars – a chef with more Michelin stars than any other and a temper that terrifies even Gordon Ramsay ( there is a passage in his biography where he writes about the time he spent working for Robuchon in Paris. – he compared the experience to working for the SAS – and THAT ‘s coming from Gordon Ramsey who is not exactly known for being a pussycat).
Robuchon legendary attention to detail and combinations of flavours has kept him at the top for over 40 years . He entered his first national cooking competition at the age of 16 and won first prize , he was awarded his first Michelin star age 29. The next year he got another, and the year after a third — something that had never been done before.
In 1989, Robuchon was named chef of the century and 1994 his Joël Robuchon restaurant in Paris was named best restaurant in the world by the International Herald Tribune.
His signature dish is mashed potato with just four ingredients: potatoes, butter, salt and milk – everyone who has ever eaten it agrees is the best mashed potato they’d ever had in their lives ( I’m not a potato person but this one is to die for, couldn’t lick the plate unfortunately, apparently it looks bad…)
In 1996, he surprised everybody and left it all .
Fortunately for us after a few years Robuchon returned and opened the first L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris in 2007, a complete departure from traditional fine dining – no reservations, no dress code. Now there are L’Ateliers de Joël Robuchon all over the world, from Singapore to Las Vegas and , of course, London.
I have been to L’ Atelier in Covent Garden a few times, last one for my birthday in May and sat at the bar overlooking the kitchen, which I must say I prefer to the formal seating area downstairs. I love looking at the action: how each dish is prepared with the kitchen a theatre-like experience in itself .
We had the amazing tasting menu ( Menu Decouverte – 8 courses £ 149) with matching wines : I know it sounds like a lot of food but the portions are just enough to tastes the flavours but not so much that you can’t proceed to the next dish.
The mix of taste and presentation was just superb and the staff extremely competent and friendly ( PS: they sang for me a fab rendition of Bon Anniversaire and Tell Laura I love her – priceless!).
I know that looks expensive and it might not be a daily experience ( for a celebration is perfect!) ; no need to worry though as they also offer L’UNCH , a Three Michelin-starred courses for just £ 29 Monday to Friday ( the menu is french traditional with a twist – a 3 in 1 plate) or Lunch and Pre-Theatre for £ 45 – which is affordable and no difference with some wanting-to-be-posh gastro-pubs ( and this is delicious Michelin starred quality).
Try it out and let me know what you think; moi, Je l’adore.
Bon appétit, bisous xxx