In the highly strung world of the superstar super chef one name from the not-too-distant past still stands out. Joël Robuchon was the six-Michelin star wielding haute cuisine genius who trained many of today’s brightest stars, including Gordon Ramsay. In 1996 he retired, six years after being named “chef of the century”. Fast forward another eight years and he was back, opening what he claimed was a more “casual eating concept” in Paris. It caused a stir at the time by not allowing anyone—even “a-list” celebs—to book and expecting everyone (although that was only 42 people at a time) to eat at a counter.
Now that concept, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon has arrived in London, on the sight near the Ivy formerly home to East West and before that West Street. The building is divided into L’Atelier on the ground floor, La Cuisine on the first floor and a bar on the third floor. Robuchon claims that his intention is to get closer to the true flavour of the main ingredient in any dish, rather than confusing things with too many fancy touches.
At L’Atelier the choice of what you eat (a selection of several small dishes or traditional three-course meal) and where (at the counter, surrounding the Japanese-style open kitchen or at tables elsewhere) is up to you. There’s a similar openness upstairs, with the kitchen on full display, despite tables being arranged in a more traditional style.
The bar on the top floor is as sumptuous as the food downstairs. With prices starting at £8 for small dishes and £18 for mains, this French-inspired set-up (albeit with Italian and Spanish influences) looks set to succeed where previous inhabitants failed.
For reservations call: 0207 010 8600