This is always a winner for Bev as there is so much choice on the menu compared to most other Michelin starred restaurants, probably explains why we have visited so often and both put it in our top five for last year. As always we started upstairs in the Salon Bar which also has an outside terrace which I’m sure is very pleasant in the summer but on this January evening we stayed inside by the warm fire as we were presented with our very refreshing house cocktails. (As we are doing this blog, I should really pay attention to what the cocktail was but I was trying to track down our remaining two guests and was a little distracted.)
Once we were altogether we headed down to the restaurant, I’d asked to be seated at the downstairs counter instead of the first floor restaurant as they are very different. The first floor is a more traditional layout with table and chairs whereas downstairs it’s high tables with bar stools and a counter with seats facing into the open kitchen. We always opt for the counter as we love watching the kitchen at work. The waiter explained the menu concept with its small and large plates which we were familiar with but not the rest of our party.
One of the highlights of coming here and I hope it never changes is the amuse bouche – foie gras with port reduction and Parmesan foam. It’s served in a shot glass with a spoon, you don’t knock it back!! The three distinct layers work superbly together, it’s almost worth going to L’Atelier just for that alone. Bev had the vegetarian amuse bouche, a light and dark quinoa with spiced melon which she described as refreshing yet spicy but without being too hot.
Between us for our first small plates were three different dishes, the Sea Bream Carpaccio, cheese soufflé and the Iberico ham. I’ll start with the Iberico ham which our son Sam had, served with a tomato bruschetta. It looked like a disproportionate amount of ham to bruschetta but as he carefully placed the slices onto the tomato, making his version of a ham and tomato open sandwich, it all disappeared. Josh went for the Sea Bream carpaccio which we watched being prepared in the kitchen with incredible precision from the slicing of the fish to its placement on the plate. The rest of us went for the Cheese Soufflé with black truffle which was incredibly light and melted in your mouth.
Our next round of small plates were another triumph, seared foie gras, Scallops and Lobster ravioli. As Bev is a pescetarian and Jessie similar, we sometimes call her the “flexiterian”, they didn’t have the foie gras sauce which was substituted for a light cheese sauce which didn’t over power the delicate lobster contained within the almost translucent pasta. I didn’t see the scallops that Josh had, they disappeared in the time it took me to take a picture of my perfectly seared foie gras with pistachio crumb and roasted clementine, one of the best dishes I’ve had this month.
Again there was a lot of duplication between the six of us with our main courses, three of us went for the quail, two for the spaghetti and Sam opted for the Sea Bass. It’s very difficult for me to comment on the Sea Bass as again I didn’t see it and it disappeared like it had been inhaled, judging by the clean plate he must have enjoyed it. Bev and Jessie went for the spaghetti with soft boiled egg and truffle. This was served under a cloche so that went it was lifted they got all the wonderful aroma from the truffle, the egg yolk oozed out when cut and added richness to this very simple but very memorable dish. The rest of us had the roast quail stuffed with foie gras and this did not disappoint. The quail was moist yet the skin beautifully golden, the foie gras adding another level and the accompanying truffle mash Increasing the decadence. You would think with quail, foie gras and truffle all in the same dish it would be too much but this was perfectly balanced.
Jessie had spent all week looking forward to dessert, after much deliberation both online during the week and now in the restaurant, she decided she would order one and as Bev doesn’t do desserts she could order the other one and pass it to Jessie!! It was like a chocolate overload but she was happy, “Le Soufflé” (Chocolate soufflé with pistachio ice cream) followed by “Le chocolate tendance” (chocolate mousse, chocolate sorbet and Oreo cookie crumb) although she did share the latter with her brother. I went for “Le Mont Blanc”, a chestnut cream dome, blackcurrant coulis, meringue of yuzu and white truffle ice cream. It was served on the most incredible plate, I wasn’t going to use any photo’s on this blog but I changed my mind for this dish. It really was a spectacular dessert both in presentation and taste.
The sommelier was superb and paired some very interesting wines with my dishes, including a sherry. Everything was faultless from start to finish, I really hope that they win back the second Michelin star, on the strength of that meal they should.
Adam & Beverley xx