L’Atelier Robuchon

6 Clarges Street

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What’s the vibe?

If you struggle with the highway code, then you’ll understand the feeling of indecision at a four-way roundabout. If you don’t drive, you can emulate that experience at L’Atelier Robuchon. Why? Because the menu is so strongly populated with heavy hitters, you’ll find yourself immobilised by indecision as the looming prospect of someone taking your order beckons. Will a divine power hit you with a eureka moment? Who knows.

The good news is that the setting for your decision paralysis is a very cushy one. The 74-cover restaurant has seen a revamp since it was previously Comptoire Robuchon, switching out the rust seating for trademark Robuchon red lacquer banquets but preserving the monochrome marble bar, doughnut chandeliers, weighty curtains and all-round ritzy vibe.

Having opened its doors this September on Clarges Street, this isn’t actually the first L’atelier Robuchon to grace the capital, with a previous two-Michelin-starred outpost residing in Covent Garden that shut after its chef patron Joël Robuchon’s death in 2018. With a staggering 32 Michelin stars under his belt, the legacy of Robuchon at this Mayfair outpost is a refined one. It’s a well-oiled machine with service so efficient that they anticipate your request before you’ve even thought of it, and an open kitchen so serene it could be mistaken for a hatha yoga class.

Forming a part of the global L’Atelier Robuchon empire, this latest iteration, spearheaded by executive chef Andrea Cofini, sees a shift in focus, harking back to vintage Robuchon haute-cuisine. With caviar, lobster, soufflé, and mashed potato with a 2:1 potato-to-butter ratio on the menu – this revival isn’t afraid to lean into the well-trodden archetypes of French fine dining. Yes, silver service feels a little formal in this day and age, and yes, the prices are on the high side, but it’s hard to fault the unadulterated indulgence of well-executed French gastronomy.

What to eat?

A preconception of small portion sizes in the fine dining sphere may perhaps bear itself out in reality, but the notion you will leave L’Atelier Robuchon hungry is not. A breadbasket at the beginning of the meal arrives piping hot and impossible to resist, showcasing the French boulangerie at its best. Tuck into warm, pillowy brioche swirls, squid ink bread and miniature baguettes, all slathered in supple salted butter.

For the main event, choose between a nine-course tasting menu or a la carte, and pay attention to Robuchon’s flagship dishes. Namely Le Caviar - a glossy plane of lobster jelly topped with king crab, caviar and intricately piped dots of cauliflower purée, and La Dorade – a delicate sea bream carpaccio dressed with lemon vinaigrette and poppy seeds. For mains, Le Black Cod is an iconic dish to the Robuchon empire – a caramelised fillet of black cod with a citrusy Malabar pepper sauce and coconut milk foam, alongside La Boeuf, a hunky, heavily peppered fillet of beef served with a stack of mille-feuille potatoes.

And among the frills and frippery, where menu moguls like foie gras, sole meunière, and pig trotters jostle for your attention – there’s a humble winner amongst them all: the mash. We’re served a bowl with our mains with the simple explanation that “it is Robuchon, so there must be mash”. At first, it seems a little out of place, but the reality is that these celebrity-status spuds with their famously magnanimous potato-to-butter ratio, would go well with pretty much anything.

What to drink?

The cocktail menu is a curated list of ten concoctions ranging from sweeter numbers like La Martinique, made from agricole rum, lapsang souchong, kuromitsu and orange, to more bitter combinations like Le Pays Basque, made with gin, piperade and saffron, as well as Les Alpes, combining from gin, dry vermouth and hay. The wine list is generously endowed with bottles for those whose wallets are equally so. The menu has an expected French slant, and the sommelier will guide you on the best pairing with your nosh. Santé.

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