L'Atelier is such a well known restaurant that people from US to Europe and Asia has heard about this casual bar table dining restaurant. The concept is so well received by many people, that it can be replicated at almost all major urban cities in the world.
We arrived at their outlet in Roppongi Hills outlet slightly before 7pm. It was still quite empty at that time, but soon the restaurant was full.
The service staff serving us told us he had actually worked at Keppel Bay previously, before returning to Japan. So I guess there is some kind of "Singapore" connection between us.
The bar counter dining setting is all too familiar to us, and if you have been to the Singapore's one, you will find the layout very familiar. In fact, it's the same in all the L'Atelier around the world.
So both of us ordered the Menu B (Amuse, Appetizer, Soup, Dish, Dessert, Coffee or Tea served with Petit Four) at 8,800 yen.
First came this bread basket. Sad to say the breads here were not as good as those found in Singapore. Then I remembered that the former Japanese bread pastry chef was being transferred to Singapore. Perhaps that was the reason?
Our Amuse Bouche.
Our dinner began with one of their signature appetizer: Espuma of a green asparagus and chanterelle royal style, with jelly of iberico ham. We were delighted with the green asparagus cream which was refreshing and had a base of diced chanterelle mushrooms and iberico ham jelly.
The Baked Hokkaido scallops was really sweet and juicy. Not much flavourings was added, hence we could taste the sweet Hokkaido scallops. As it was an off-menu item, it's best to ask the service staff what other off-menu appetizers they offer for the day.
I thought that the Lettuce cream soup served on hot onion custard flavoured with nutmeg would be something of a mild flavoured soup, but I was wrong. The restaurant managed to extract all the intense flavours of the lettuce into the soup, and added onio custard and a little bit of nutmeg to enhance the flavours.
The Chilled tomato gaspacho with extra virgin olive oil and basil was altogether another different style of soup. Served chilled and slightly tangy, it was great during the warm summer.
Ordered the local mineral water - Fuji Mineral Water (800 yen). We thought it came from Mt Fuji, but was told the water was "near" Mr Fuji.
Japan is known for their fresh seafood. Their seafood mains did not disappoint. The Savory sauteed Golden threadfin-bream served with crustacean sauce was what we had expected - Fresh and sweet fish with a layer of crisp skin and a delicious seafood stock beneath it.
We were equally delighted with the other mains we had - Preserved cheek of beef with grilled vegetables and condiment of cucumber and the mustard of Orleans. The beef was incredibly tender and had this slight Japanese hint of flavour inside. The presentation was visually pleasing too.
Dessert is something we enjoy very much at L'Atelier. The first dessert served was this Dark Chocolate Ganache served with cocoa sherbet and Oreo biscuit powder. The reason why we ordered this was we wanted something down to earth and not too fanciful. Hence the familiar chocolate dessert with the reassuring Oreo bits. No complaints about the chocolate because it's top grade chocolate and cocoa sherbet.
The next one was something more fanciful - Campari marinated fig and sherbet served with a cream cheese delicate mousse. Campari is pretty bitter, but was balanced out by the sweet fig and sherbet. The sweetness was further enhanced through the cheese mousse.
Ended our yummy dinner with Coffee and tea plus the now-familiar Petit Four.
So although there is a L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon located right in our Lion City, I would recommend our readers to pay them a visit the next time you are in Tokyo. It's a familiar yet different experience when you dine at a L'Atelier in another city.
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon