Our "relationship" with Joel Robuchon (the restaurant) spans many years. We first visited the Mansion Joel Robuchon (3 Michelin stars) in Las Vegas literally a decade ago in 2010. That was our first time being introduced to the famous bread cart, mignardises cart, the copious displays of caviar, and his signature velvety mashed potatoes.
We celebrated our anniversary there a year later, splurging for the menu degustation, which blew us away. We totally understood why this was the only 3-Michelin star restaurant in Vegas.
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas
The following few years, we went next door to try 1-Michelin starred L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (twice!). My impression of L'Atelier at the time was that it was "the more casual side of Joel Robuchon. The food is still made with the same precision and love. However, instead of opulent carts filled with every bread choice imaginable and waiters dressed in tuxedos to attend to your every need, you sit at a very trendy bar overlooking an open kitchen."
And then after 2014 . . . we stopped going.
Chef Joel Robuchon, the world's most decorated Michelin star holder (32 stars) passed away in 2018.
Revisiting Joel Robuchon Hong Kong in 2020
In 2020 we finally re-visited Joel Robuchon for Bryan's birthday. This time it was L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong. It had been years since we had been to any Joel Robuchon restaurant, so we were especially curious to see how it compared to the ones we had visited in the US.
Interestingly, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong has three Michelin stars, a far distance from the US one, which has one Michelin star. We later learned that Joel Robuchon specifically made it a priority to elevate the Hong Kong location to 3 Michelin stars, tapping Chef Olivier Elzer to push it beyond what any other L'Atelier had achieved worldwide. Hong Kong was the first L'Atelier to achieve three Michelin stars in 2012, which it has maintained to this day.
I believe all L'Atelier de Joel Robuchons around the world have the black and white themed bar like set-up, giving it a more casual yet still sleek and high-end feel. Because of Covid-19, less than half the bar seats were occupied.
At the L'Atelier in Hong Kong, you can also dine in the Jardin, which trades the high top barstools and views of the kitchen for more traditional tables and seats overlooking the rooftop garden.
The Famous Bread Basket . . .
There's no fancy bread cart here but the famous crazy generous bread selection is still the first thing that greets you!
We began with a stunning corn velouté layered with a chicken gelee and foie gras cream. The combination of the various flavors and textures was brilliant. On the left, a perfect dollop of chicken liver mousse cream and a paper thin cracker was creamy, light, and sophisticated.
Caviar, Truffles, and More
Le Caviar Imperial - a surprise of Solgne Imperial Caviar, lobster, and crab surrounded by one of Joel Robuchon's most signature looks, 72 perfectly formed dollops of cauliflower cream, each one topped with a tiny dot of "chlorophyll" puree. The patience, precision, and pure focus taken to execute this dish perfectly still blows my mind.
La Truffle Blanche - a Parmesan cheese "risotto" cake made of golden pearl rice came topped with a soft boiled egg and beautiful, generous slices of white Alba truffle.
Le Homard: Maine lobster wrapped in spinach and served with a shallot, carrot, and mushroom sauce.
A perfectly pan-seared Sea bass came with petit pois, coriander, tomato confit, black squid ink croutons, and a creamy bouillabaisse sauce, which was poured table-side.
Le Pigeon is another signature Joel Robuchon dish that comes in two parts: First, pigeon breast meat, foie gras, and garlic confit are wrapped in cabbage and slow cooked to perfection. Then, there's a leg piece with delicate crispy skin glazed with soy sauce and honey. Finally, there's Robuchon's signature velvety mashed potatoes and shaved white truffles.
Le Boeuf - Pan seared Kagoshima Wagyu beef with winter vegetables and a hazelnut pesto. Diners had a choice of supplementing the A3 beef with A5 Wagyu (HKD250), though curiously they did not recommend A5 "for ladies" because it was too rich. My guess is that they gleaned this from their experience with Hong Kong diners, who, on average, prefer lighter foods.
Although there's no bread cart, there IS a cheese cart, and we went crazy picking out almost every single one . . .
They were excellent - and we managed to finish all the cheese!
Dessert was La Poire, a smooth pear mousse and sorbet with Williamine jelly.
The presentation was grand, with dry ice and "smoke".
Mignardises: madeleines and chocolate covered "rice crispies."
General Thoughts - L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Bryan really, really enjoyed his birthday dinner. I think partly he was truly surprised at how different (and better!) it was from our Las Vegas experience years and years ago. Clearly, the L'Atelier concept has matured and become more refined and upscale here in Asia. In a lot of ways, this meal reminded us more of our meal at the Mansion Joel Robuchon (3 Michelin stars) than L'Atelier.
We tried to ask if we could take the rest of the bread in our lovely bread basket home. Instead, they sent us home with an entire new collection of all the breads. It was a fantastic treat that we enjoyed for days on end after that meal.
All in all, we really don't have anything negative to say about the experience. We felt very safe the entire time, and the staff did everything they could to make us feel comfortable and taken care of. The food was great, the service was very professional, and the wine was unforgettable.
Despite Joel Robuchon having passed on, his legacy continues and those he trained and inspired continue to bring forth his creative energy, exacting standards, and mind blowing creations that truly dazzle and impress.
Thank you, Joel Robuchon.
To see this meal in action, check out the video of the meal in my Instagram Stories.
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Shop 401, Landmark Atrium
15 Queen's Road Central, Central