L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Bangkok – a French treat
Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband had a debate on the train heading for L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Bangkok. He was certain this was sampling the L’Atelier brand in our fifth country. Greedy Girl was of the opinion that this was #4.
Not having a wi-fi connection to consult this blog, we resorted to counting on fingers – twice in Paris at the St Germain outlet, once in Singapore for a Greedy Girl birthday dinner and a lunch in Hong Kong.
Indeed, the lunch special at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon throughout Asia is a very fine thing – none more so than Bangkok where three courses came in at around A$50. A bargain in anyone’s currency.
Of course, what’s not particularly inexpensive, is the booze. No problem. Given we were heading for our hotel’s excellent happy hour, we had no big plans to imbibe.
But Greedy Girl is getting ahead of herself. For the first time ever in our dining history, we fell foul of the dress code. Gluttonous husband had picked his very best dress shorts and a nice collared polo shirt but, sadly, that did not conform to the required standard. He needed long trousers.
We looked at each other in a moment of panic, not relishing a hot trip back to the hotel to change. Not a problem said the friendly hostess, offering gluttonous husband a pair of trousers to slip on.
Now, Greedy Girl isn’t particularly tall but she feels like a giant in most parts of Asia and Bangkok is no exception. Gluttonous husband, who is tall, has been stopped in the street in Asia by diminutive grannies wanting their photo taken with the lanky, exotic-looking lad. It had to be said, the trousers didn’t fit particularly well. They were rather ample at the waistband but seriously short in the leg length. Ne’er mind. He was happy to be admitted on the basis of being somewhat sartorially abashed.
And so we sat up at the long bar overlooking the kitchen which is a feature of the L’Atelier brand around the world. The same decor prevailed, including the high red leather stools. Ordering a Sapporo beer for gluttonous husband and a glass of a very good Pinot Gris from the Alsace (a 2013 Domaine Leon Beyer) for Greedy Girl, we happily made our menu selections.
A few moments later the drinks were in front of us, plus one of the prettiest-looking bread baskets Greedy Girl has seen in a long time. In the bottom left of the picture (below) is a soft roll with black stripes, made with squid ink. It was absolutely delightful.
But we were there for more than bread. We were treated to a little amuse bouche first up. This was a foie gras custard with a port wine reduction and parmesan foam. On the side was a little quinoa crisp with radicchio.
OMG. One dipped one’s spoon below the foam to take layers of deliciousness. It was, quite simply, awesome. The French know their stuff when it comes to foie gras. The little quinoa bonbon was a great foil for the richness of the custard and the bitterness of the radicchio came through on the palate right at the end. Very clever.
There wasn’t much of a gap between courses. Gluttonous husband took a leek soup with mussels as his starter. The crumbed and gratineed mussels were placed in a bowl with stewed baby leeks and topped with a creamy soup, poured by the waiter. Totally delicious. Greedy Girl could eat a lot more mussels if they were prepared like this.
Greedy Girl loves her eggs ‘en cocotte’. Her dish, served in a cocktail glass, featured pieces of mushroom topped by an intense mushroom soup and a fine parsley mousse. It was, again, absolutely delicious. The egg was soft perfection and gave the dish a richness that was very enjoyable. Gluttonous husband started talking about making a version of it at home. Smart boy. Greedy Girl wanted to lick the glass clean – and very nearly did so.
It was time for mains. Greedy Girl opted for a supplement to the menu, a decadent lobster spaghetti, topped with a ‘coral cappucino’. This was another OMG. So rich, so unctuous in the mouth. The chefs certainly didn’t scrimp on the lobster with huge chunks of it dotted throughout. There were some lovely cherry tomatoes and a few herb leaves but the star here was definitely the lobster – as it should be.
Gluttonous husband took one of his favourite fish – grouper. This was a fillet wrapped in a shiso leaf tempura, served with a squid ink risotto on the side.
The fish was perfectly cooked. It tasted so incredibly fresh. Gluttonous husband was a very happy camper.
But as good as the fish was, even better in Greedy Girl’s opinion was the squid ink risotto on the side. She just wanted to tuck into a big bowl.
We’d been telling the staff about our first visit to L’Atelier in Paris where we were mesmerised by the chef whose only job was to make a silky smooth potato purée. Next thing we knew, some complementary dishes of it were provided to us. Sensational stuff.
It was time for dessert. Gluttonous husband opted for cheese – always a bit of a risk in a French restaurant given that country’s predilection for some seriously stinky stuff. He had some mimolette (the orange variety you can see in the photo, below), some strong gorgonzola and two washed rind cheeses, whose names escaped us but, suffice to say, they were powerful. They were served with some sticky fruity treats and a small dish of honey.
Greedy Girl was treated to her choices from the dessert trolley. So much decadence, so little room in the tum. She opted for a wedge of a chocolate, mango and hazelnut cake and the chocolate mousse, featured at the top of this post.
While the cake was perfectly pleasant, the mousse was to die for – so light and intensely chocolatey, with crunchy little candy balls dotted throughout as well as some dark chocolate curls. Sigh. Yum.
And we thought we were done, but some yuzu madeleines and salted caramel chocolates were offered as petits fours.
This was a real treat and an intensely enjoyable way of whiling away a few hours in the heat of the day. The service was excellent – authentically warm and knowledgeable.
When a restaurant is franchised around the world, it’s only as good as its weakest link. Greedy Girl has yet to find a weak one and the lunch special is a foodie bargain.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
5th Floor, MahaNakhon CUBE, 96 Narathiwas Ratchanakharin Rd, Silom