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L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – the HK “franchise” with some screaming chefs (2*)

This is not a review about the food at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong as, in summary,… the food in Robuchon Hong Kong is not as good as the food in Robuchon Paris which is better than Robuchon in New York which is, in turn, better than Robuchon in London.

bloc de foie gras

And, also, you’ve probably eaten Joel’s food somewhere. This is a chef who has upwards of 26 Michelin stars dumped over the globe. However, from my visit to the Hong Kong outpost / franchise / cash in – whatever you want to call it – it isn’t all plain sailing though.

Our meal was sufficient but one thing stood out. The gutteral screaming French head chef barking away in the open kitchen yards away from us.

foie gras ravioli in warm chicken broth

Food has increasingly become about theatre. About entertaining the eyes and distracting the mind whilst grabbing from the wallet. I have been to meals served in drag (and dressed in drag at meals), meals where the food is so intellectual it is an abstraction, meals with music, with singing, with karoake, with interactive theatre, with history lessons. And then, at Robuchon Hong Kong – ritual abuse of staff in French, in front of you, in an open kitchen.

The sad thing is, it made the meal different. It actually made the meal more interesting. This was reality TV combined with haute cuisine. Still, given that half the dinners at lunch that day probably understood French and everyone could understand the looks of contempt and two sous chefs running out of the kitchen near crying it was probably inappropriate; best saved for some tacky Gordon Ramsay show.

caramelized apple with Tonka cream and green apple sorbet

Because what I really want is what I have had in the Paris franchise. Elegant, knowledgable service slowly leading me a journey of food coupled with some wine. I just don’t think I’ll ever get that from Robuchon Hong Kong.

  • Price – 700hkd a head with minimal wine
  • Shop 315 & 401, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong


  1. I hate it when the restaurant becomes all about the chef’s ego rather than the food. Sometimes this comes out in the food, sometimes it;s played out in nasty kitchen dramas. Either way, it generally kills any desire to eat in me.

    Eating out is su much more than just the food, you are paying for a whole experience and it should be, at the very least, a pleasant one. Ah well, at least the food was interesting – judging by the look of it.

  2. Kay

    oh dear!! An open kitchen too…what was ze chef thinking??

  3. I would be curious to get the reaction of that Chef has someone dared asking him to cool down.

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