L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
The superchef is becoming a global brand: working the same formula already applied to Paris, Tokyo, New York, Vegas and Hong Kong enters the stage of London restaurants with L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, where guests sit at a (deeply sexy) illuminated counter as tapas-style French dishes with Italian and Spanish influences are prepared by the chef in front of them (hence l’atelier, or workshop). Of course, ‘chef’ is unlikely to be Robuchon himself, on account of his other commitments, but since he’s the world’s most Michelin-starred chef, London is evidently pleased to have him – or rather his brand. The concept might lack the stars or culinary acrobatics of his more prestigious sisters, but it still provides a spellbinding insight into Robuchon’s magic, and can be good value, if you have the discipline to stick to the set menus; largely though, it’s expensive, not least since portions are decidedly nouvelle. Upstairs, La Cuisine is a more formal affair: the food more intricate, the setting more intimate, the bill more immoderate, but is low on charm. For that you need to skip upstairs again to Le Bar where a dramatic fireplace, seductive cocktails and more await.