When I realized L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon started offering Sunday lunches from SGD49 (the lowest priced menu) last November, I realized this is probably the best bet I’ll ever have to dine at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon without declaring bankruptcy. Ok, perhaps that was bit of a melodramatic statement but earning Malaysian ringgit can be a pain, especially when it automatically degrades you 2.5 times in monetary value the moment you land in Singapore.
November was a busy month and I had hoped that December would ease up a bit so I’ll be able to visit L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon for their Sunday brunch. As fate would have it, Joël Robuchon himself was in town for a week in the month of November!
Thankfully I didn’t have any trips planned that week so I timed my visit to coincide with the week he was in Singapore. And instead of lunch, Rainier had suggested dinner. He explained that L’Atelier tasting menus would give me a good idea of the food in smaller portions and it would still comparatively cheaper than ordering ala-carte.
Here are the degustation menus – choice of A,B or C. We took Menu C for SGD138/pax which allows us to select one each of appetiser and soup but with 2 main course and a dessert.
And this is the menu to select our choice of appetiser, soup, 2 main courses and dessert.
The options were satisfactory; covering chicken to pork and seafood. We decided to share a set and ordered a few notable items ala-carte.
Window seats are in high demand for Jaan but for L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon the best seats are those by the “bar”. Curious gourmets gets a unique opportunity to observe the inner workings of the restaurant and see firsthand the life of a kitchen and its players while enjoying their meal.
Throughout the evening, we hear the orders being given, we saw the meat sizzling, the pasta tossed, the piglet roasting. We felt the tension as the chefs meticulously prepare each dish and we observed as every dish is being skillfully plated before it leaves the kitchen to the guest.
Chef de Cuisine, Lorenz Hoja.
Chef Yosuke Suga – one of Joël Robuchon trusted chefs & traveling companion.
As a hardcore gourmet, I was mesmerized. There wasn’t a moment of disinterest though I sat through dinner for hours. And when Joel Robuchon himself went on his rounds to say hi to the diners, I observed him quietly. How is the world’s most decorated chef like?
He was friendly with a very gentle demeanor. He took time to linger at each table and listened patiently to everyone. He happily obliged for pictures. When I mentioned that my dining partner worked at L’Atelier previously, he even asked Chef Lorenz Hoja to come out from the busy kitchen to see us.
I must say after experiencing such warmth from a highly revered celebrated chef, Chef Julien Royer of Jaan was like a rude splash of cold water. You can read about my Jaan Autumn Inspired Artisanal Menu HERE.
Since Joel Robuchon was in town, there were some specials available such as this pate en croute. Some of the ingredients present in this “pie” are beef consomme and meat mixture of diced raw foie gras, chicken liver and pork cheek.
Other specials includes a selection of scrumptious pies served by an equally delicious looking staff. :DD
I was tempted; but we were barely 2 courses down so we had to decline.
One of the best butter in France; the Bordier butter came with the bread basket. The bread was good, much better than Jaan and it took very ounce of my willpower to not wipe out the whole basket and ruin my appetite for dinner.
I liked this one in particular; named escargot bread probably due to its shell-like shape. Texture-wise it is more pastry-like than bready with a lovely buttery aroma.
For the amuse bouche, we were served a multi-tiered creation of foie gras custard, porto wine reduction and parmesan foam.
It was decent, though I’m skeptical of its suitability as an amuse bouche.
For appetiser we chose the L’Hamachi – Yellowtail tuna tartar with spicy tomato coulis which turned out to be one of our favourite dish that evening. I was told there were a total of at least 12 ingredients to make this, and was shocked as it was such a small and seemingly simple dish.
In fact, the tartare was the first of the many more to come that evening, all prepared with just as much painstaking care to details and complex processes.
Soup – Prawn tsukune in a vegetable consomme with wild mushrooms.
I love the prawn tsukune – an orb of fish paste with tobiko as it gives a nice crunchy and pop-the-mouth feel with each chew. The soup runs clear but with multitude of flavours, all too complex to put into words, as with most of the dishes here are.
Main No. 1: Cod Brandade in a piquillos pepper and romesco sauce.
I’m never a fan of brandade but thankfully this wasn’t too salty as the smokey piquillo peppers from Spain and romesco sauce compliments the cod well.
Main No. 2: L’Atelier style rotisserie – ” Cochon de Lait ” – meaning milk fed suckling pig.
It was a rather popular dish as I saw many plates of it served that night. The thin crisp skin can be addictive and the meat delicious and tender. I did find some cuts tastier while some had a bit of a gamey smell. Below the meat are braised Savoy cabbage with bacon, frisee, mustard foam and chicken jús, a reduction made from brown chicken stock. Final touches was sprinkles of espelette pepper & black pepper.
That was from the set menu. Since we were sharing, we added 2 ala carte items, the first being the Robuchon’s Beef Burgers.
I can’t resist burgers and seeing burgers on L’Atelier’s menu was somewhat a surprise! It wasn’t cheap of course and they were really mini but I just had to try. 🙂
You would be surprised if I say I was actually disappointed with it wouldn’t you? Well, I was. If anything, the hand cut fries were better. The fries were blanched, confit in oil and fried upon order. The ketchup was housemade and I think I ate more fries + ketchup than the burgers itself. I had half of ONE mini burger and decided I had enough. There wasn’t anything majorly wrong with it mind you, but it’ turned out to be rather plain beef patties with foie gras (thank god for the foie gras) in between buttery buns. I guess I expected more since this L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, but I understand that they aren’t a specialty burger joint after all.
That minor gripe aside, our 2nd ala carte dish 2 was stellar. The Lamb Confit with Rosemary & Cumin was sous vided and then roasted for both tender meat and caramelized skin. Other components includes a thyme bouquet, baby rocket salad, garlic confit & ratatouille, but the lamb remained, rightfully the star of the dish.
We had a side of the famous L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon mash potato which unfortunately didn’t quite rock my boat. How could anyone eat this extremely rich and overly cloying mash is beyond me. I have to be the odd one of many for sure, since almost every online reviews I have read sang praises of it.
My choice of dessert – the Les Petits Choux – Lightness of verbena & pear, caramel and fleur de sel ice cream wasn’t available that night and since I didn’t fancy any of the other choices available for dessert, we substituted for some things here and there and ended with this Lemon Tart with Caramel & Fleur de sel ice cream and Meringues.
The tart was way too sour for me and the ice cream way too sweet.
I should have chosen a delicious tart from this delicious looking guy earlier! Haha..
Other than meeting Joël Robuchon in person, the other highlight was meeting the kitchen crew and having a picture taken with all of them in L’Atelier kitchen! :DD
Would I re-visit L’Atelier? Perhaps not, as I felt I have had a good idea of the cuisine here as it is. In fact, I’m setting my sights on a meal in the fine dining Joël Robuchon Restaurant this year; finger crossed! Last but not least, thank you Rainier for the lovely experience and dinner. 🙂
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Resort World Sentosa
For more info: http://www.rwsentosa.com/language/en-US/ShoppingDining/Dining/JoelRobuchon/LAtelierdeJoelRobuchon