French Finesse At L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
A Place That Will Satisfy All Your Culinary Desires
Treat yourself to a top-notch service, outstanding mastery, and technique at this chic restaurant.
If you want to indulge in a truly classic high-end French fare, then it’s rather hard to find anything better than Joël Robuchon’s restaurants. After all, there’s a reason why they are often referred to as “the culinary temple of French haute cuisine.”
Renowned chef Joël Robuchon needs no introduction. Titled as “Chef of the Century” and the mastermind of French haute cuisine, Joël Robuchon is one of the most acclaimed chefs in the world, having been awarded more Michelin stars than any other of his contemporaries. Tokyo is absolutely pampered by Robuchon’s presence with three restaurants, a private salon, a bar, a café, three patisseries and a boulangerie spread around the city. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, housed within Roppongi Hills and boasting two Michelin stars, stands out as an elegant yet trendy spot ideal for a leisurely lunch or date night.
The interior features signature glossy blacks, heady reds and intimate dim-lit ambiance. We were seated by the counter which granted us a great vantage point to the open kitchen and the top team in action.
I visited during lunch to try one of their tasting menus which range from ¥3,200 to ¥8,800. We opted for a ¥6,800 set menu which included an appetizer, one soup course, the main dish, and a dessert – a perfectly balanced midday meal. Needless to say, you can also order a la carte.
Once you’re seated and have conferred on what you’re drinking with your floor manager, you will be served a signature basket of warm house-baked bread served alongside Echire butter, and a piquant complimentary amuse — in our case, tuna on a toast topped with radish and drizzled with olive oil — that will guarantee to whet your appetite for the courses to follow.
For an appetizer, I tried Hiramasa tartar with a spicy avocado guacamole. The texture of the creamy avocado and bits of toast were contrasting and worked well against each other while the dill flower and radish added a nice punch of flavor.
The next course featured tomato gazpacho flavored with basil and olive oil and complemented with buttery croutons. That first rich mouthful of velvety soup blew me away with its intense flavor and refreshing taste. It was a perfect summer dish.
For our main dishes, my partner indulged in a perfectly pan-fried John-Dory served with a lemon and white vinegar butter sauce, whilst I had the roasted chicken served with a herb salad. The John-Dory dish was an ultimate soul food: moreish and jam-packed with flavor – I honestly couldn’t stop stealing the bites of that sauce which I mopped up with that delicious bread.
My chicken was also a thing of beauty. The skin was seared to perfection: crispy with that delicious char, while the meat was juicy. It was served alongside a salad and Joel Robuchon’s signature mashed potatoes: amazingly smooth and buttery with incredibly velvety texture.
We finished off the meal in the same excellent vein, with a cup of coffee and a beautiful dessert. The caramelized orange was served with a blanc manger and a gianduja (a sweet chocolate spread containing about 30% hazelnut paste, invented in Turin during Napoléon’s regency) ice-cream. It was a true delight to the palate — moderately sweet, refreshing and balanced.
After a meal like that, I could almost imagine I would step right into the streets of Paris. The meal at Joël Robuchon’s restaurants are nothing short of impeccable and L’Atelier is a wonderful example of that. With a top-notch service, outstanding mastery and technique, you are guaranteed to be impressed and have a memorable time.
Address: 2F Hillside, Roppongi Hills, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: (Lunch) 12 p.m.-2 p.m., (Dinner) 6 p.m.-9 p.m.