Food without memory is just digestion

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Little Twin Stars - L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Well it's been a while, Gentle Reader, but that absence has been driven by a lack of material rather than a shortage of will. Over the next few days, I'll add some posts on the 4 decent places I've enjoyed since December.

But this post celebrates a recent visit to the 2-star L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Map) at Roppongi Hills. We were with "Elliott", as the wonderful sommelier Diego shouted across the busy crowd as we were arriving. The Don must have done something to mark himself in Diego's memory, but discretion is always the better part of valour in dealing with someone as closely connected to the bee consciousness as Don.

Suffice to say, Gentle Reader, that I now understand why the Tokyo restaurant is the only one of the six-odd L'Atelier spread around the world to rate a second star from Michelin. We initially counted ourselves fortunate to score a table (the redoubtable Diego calling The Don on his mobile at 18:00 to confirm the same splash of luck), but on reflection there may be more theatre on display at the counter.

We (Don and I) indulged in the degustation menu, and we agreed that this is a tribute to great food, fashioned by the ateliers [lit. studio in French] of Robuchon in Paris as a way to take diners on a journey lit by flashes of brilliance and precocity. Only one of the 8 courses (Fish: Hata) was not worthy of a 2-Star - but it would have been quite at home in any of the other 1-stars in Michelin's recently released Tokyo edition.

Diego's wine selections were quite the thing as well, drilling in on an interesting Foret Chablis for the early going and navigating seamlessly to a Chateauneuf-de-Pape Beaucastel. Excellent!

Menus change often, and a reservation can sometime be difficult but I recommend that you find an excuse to get yourself along to L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon with a lover or a foodie as soon as you can!

Food: 9/10; Wine: 8/10; Service: 7/10; Ambiance: 9/10; Price: 8/10 ($$$). Total: 43/50

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Map): Roppongi Hills, Hillside 220. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily. Tel: 5772-7500.

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