L’atelier Or Joel Robuchon – One of Those Tough Choices In Life?

Towards the end of last year, I made it a point to visit the Robuchon establishment at RWS before heading downunder. It was hardly any surprise that both experiences at the respective robuchons were highly satisfactory – to say the least.


[LEFT] L’atelier interior famed open-kitchen concept featuring vibrant & colorful displays. Half of the seats available are counter seats – the best way to experience the L’atelier experience, in my opinion.
[RIGHT] In contrast, the posh decor of Joel Robuchon complete with a chandelier

Ambience wise, L’atelier is definitely more casual as the whole concept revolves around their open-concept kitchen which makes the dinning experience rather theatrical. Joel, on the other hand, is everything you would expect of a classic fine dinning – complete with bread and mignardises trolley (I like!).

First up, L’atelier de Joel Robuchon’s “Discovery Menu” ($260 pp) experience -


[LEFT] FOIE GRAS CUSTARD WITH RED PORTO WINE AND PARMESAN FOAM
[RIGHT] SELECTION OF BREAD – although these breads were baked by the same chef as in Joel Robuchon (the famous Chef Yoshihiko Tauchi), it tasted inferior to the ones in Joel – somehow it did not taste quite as fresh in comparison… I figured it could be because they did not serve them warm.



[TOP LEFT] CARPACCIO OF SCALLOPS MARINATED WITH RAW SEA URCHIN
[TOP RIGHT] SEARED OYSTER ON A MACARONI WITH WASABI SPINACH
[BOTTOM LEFT] SALSIFY CONFIT AND FRIED ON A SKEWER WITH COMTE CHEESE
[BOTTOM RIGHT] CHICKEN BROTH WITH FOIE GRAS RAVIOLI AND FRESH HERBS


[LEFT] BRILL WITH HERBS AND SPRING SPROUTS
[RIGHT] FRENCH STYLE HANGER STEAK WITH SHALLOTS (a quenelle of Mashed Potatoes was also served separately with this dish)

FOIE GRAS FILLED FREE RANGE QUAIL WITH MASHED POTATOES – the all famous mashed potato is worth mentioning for it’s creaminess and extremely smooth rich texture. But so rich was it that we found ourselves not being able to finish all of it. Now that I have learnt how to make mashed potatoes in LCB…I think I can roughly gauge the amount of cream and butter they must have used – ALOT.


[LEFT] EXOTIC FLAVORS OF THE ISLAND AND COCONUT ICE CREAM
[RIGHT] ROASTED HAZELNUT DACQUOISE, CREAMY CARIBBEAN CHOCOLATE

After desserts, we asked if it was possible to pay for a selection of mignardises from next door (ie. Joel Robuchon). Sadly, we were told that was not possible as they are two unique establishments…:(

As you may have noticed, I did not comment much about each of the dishes – they were well presented both in plating and taste….however, none of the dishes really stood out for me.
The service itself was also less than impressive. We were served by a Filipino waiter throughout the evening – he was professional but was lacking the ‘personal touch’ which one often receives in restaurants of this quality.

Next up, Joel Robuchon’s “Create Your Own Menu” ($160-$320) experience -


[LEFT] BRUNO PAILLARD BRUT “PREMIERE CUVEE” MV ($35 per glass)
[RIGHT] BRUNO PAILLARD BRUT “PREMIERE CUVEE” ROSE MV ($45 per glass) – Robuchon is probably the only establishment that serves BRUNO PAILLARD by the glass. Good stuff…definitely worth a try (or two)!


BREAD TROLLEY – What a delight to be greeted by this array of freshly baked bread! The waitress manning the bread trolley offered excellent service which was well appreciated by K and I as we had such a tough time deciding what we wanted. She promptly recommended a selection, brought it back to the kitchen to heat it up and served it to us warm. SIMPLY AMAZING!


 SELECTION OF BREADS – just a few of what the waitress selected for us. Although my favorite has always been the hard crusted french bread – I found myself asking for extra helpings of the herb flavored soft breads, too.


BUTTER FROM THE BUTTER TROLLEY – I must say….this was like icing on an already superb cake!


TRUFFLED LANGOUSTINE RAVIOLI WITH CHOPPED CABAGE – this dish would be the reason K & I will go back to Joel Robuchon again and again. We both loved it so much we found it surfacing on our minds ever so often! In fact, we have already agreed to return to visit Joel Robuchon again when I next return to SG – can’t wait!


[TOP LEFT] LOBSTER WITH ARTICHOKE, SEASONAL CITRUS VEGETABLES AND FRESH CORIANDER
[TOP RIGHT] VEAL CARAMELIZED WITH CONDIMENTS AND MUSHROOMS
[BOTTOM LEFT] DUCK AND SEARED FOIE GRAS WITH RAISIN AND CANDIED GINGER – one of Joel’s signature dish…this dish did not disappoint.
[BOTTOM RIGHT] QUENELLE OF MASHED POTATOES – similar to the one the I had previously at L’atelier previously. Again, we found ourselves not being able to finish it – too full from all the bread to take in all these richness.


[LEFT] LIME ZEST LIGHTNESS, FLAVORED WITH YUZU – we found this dessert refreshing and delightful.
[RIGHT] ARAGUANI CREAMY CHOCOLATE, COCOA SORBET COOKIE OREO – presentation is impressive…but it pretty much stops there.


A VISIT TO THE KITCHEN – as we were too caught up on dinner…the kitchen team was cleaning down by the time we requested for a kitchen tour before desserts so we did not manage to catch any exciting live action. My first impression of the kitchen at Robuchon is – although stylish and full of character….it is small and rather cluttered. I guess space constraint is the reality of all kitchens in Singapore but I strongly believe that design plays a huge part in creating the illusion of space (Some positive examples: Santi (ceased operation), DB Bistro, Iggy’s).


[LEFT] MIGNARDISES TROLLEY – An extremely impressive selection…definitely one of the best (if not the best) I have seen so far.
[RIGHT] SELECTION OF MIGNARDISES – Despite feeling very full, we enjoyed every single one of these finely made petit fours very much. One of them stood out particularly – the mango flavored cake (beside the pink macaroon) which ran out before we could ask for a second helping!


[LEFT] TAKE-HOME GIFT – a typical gesture by fine dining places to FEMALE GUESTS ONLY. I often wonder why they do not offer it to male guests…anyone knows why?? And all the male guests out there…don’t you feel short-changed? :P
[RIGHT] RASPBERRY PISTACHIO CAKE – Enough to delight as a gift complete with pretty packaging…but nothing so wow that I will purchase.

Overall, a memorable experience with quite a few highlights in terms of food.
Service wise – rather inconsistent depending on the service staff.

Now, the BIG QUESTION…
If you have to decide between L’atelier and Joel Robuchon for your next meal, which will you choose? If the answer does not come immediately to you, try considering the following factors -

1) Occasion: If the occasion calls for something more casual/modern/trendy/refreshing (or if you would simply like to sit next to/very very close to your dinner partner :P ), L’atelier would be quite ideal (OH and sitting at the counter also makes it less awkward if you run out of conversation!). Joel, on the other hand, is a very safe choice which would never go wrong if you are bringing your older folks – they will love it!
2) Budget: If Discovery Menu (Robuchon’s version of Degustation Menu) is what you are looking for, L’atelier definitely offers a “more affordable” experience at $260 pp versus $565 at Joel. However, do consider creating your own menu at Joel Robuchon which I highly recommend – you can get to taste signature dishes at very good value and the meal comes complete with bread and mignardises trolley experience (yayyy!).
3) Preference: Needless to explain – everything involving the taste bud and beyond is subjective, isn’t it?

For me, the choice is clear – I am a sucker for food+trolleys (yes, I love those Yum Cha trolleys, too!!!).

L’atelier & Joel Robuchon
Tel: +65 657 7888
Opening Hours: 6PM – 10:30PM Daily
Add: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Level 1 Hotel Michael, Resort World Sentosa, Singapore (both restaurants are located side by side)
Spend:  $260++ per pax (L’atelier), $235++ per pax (Joel Robuchon). Both excludes wine.

4 Responses to L’atelier Or Joel Robuchon – One of Those Tough Choices In Life?

  1. K says:

    I guess you know my choice as well. :D So miss the langoustine ravioli!
    Thanks so much for bringing me into the world of super fine dining and there is no turning back now. :P Looking forward to Momofuku together next.

    K

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks for the info, but im still somewhat torn between trying those two! Especially after dining at Guy Savoy which didnt blow me away made me less apprehensive of trying outlets set up by celebrity chefs.

  3. P says:

    K: Oh don’t get me started on the langoustine ravioli awesomeness!! And yes, I shall make reservations for Momo by next week.

    Paul: Hi there! I haven’t tried Guy Savoy yet so it’s hard for me to make a comparison as such (Somehow, Guy Savoy’s menu does not excite me). Joel Robuchon is worth a try, in my opinion. Go for their “create your own menu” option and do try their langoustine ravioli :)

  4. [...] [LEFT] Langoustine Ravioli with Savoy Cabbage and Foie Gras Sauce – A dish that made me a Robuchon convert. It is good as expected but somehow not as memorable as the ones served in Singapore. [...]

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