A French Lunch in Tokyo: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

With a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, Tokyo is known throughout the world for its top-notch gastronomy. So naturally, several famous french chefs have chosen to set up establishments in the japanese capital! It wasn’t easy to pick just one, but I finally decided on “L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon,” a restaurant sporting two Michelin stars, in the heart of Roppongi Hills.

French chef Joel Robuchon no longer requires an introduction. With a distinguished career in his own country, he has also opened numerous restaurants worldwide, including in Monaco, New York, London, and Tokyo. Today he has more Michelin stars than any other chef in the world (28 in total). Impressive!

It was in 2003 that the concept of the “Atelier” was born in Tokyo. There will be many more in France, Hong Kong, Vegas and many other big cities around the world. It is located in a very chic shopping center named Roppongi Hills and it is between two shops in the many high-end ready-to-wear shops that you can take place in this superb room to appreciate the french gastronomy.

A table of irreducible elegance

The room is very chic, shaded of black and red, which gives it a cozy and elegant atmosphere. A huge open kitchen faces a 40-seater counter and several high tables where guests can watch the ballet of cooks. Chef Robuchon has greatly inspired Tokyo’s sushi bars to incorporate a japanese touch in this western environment with this long and elegant bar.

An attractive menu

The lunch menu

Although the cuisine is elaborated by the famous starred chef, on the piano it is the chef Kenichiro Seyika who excels. The menu offers a selection of french dishes with some japanese note. At lunch you can choose between 3 menus at 3200 yen (25 €), 4200 yen (30 €) and 6800 yen (50 €) as well as the menu which is available at lunchtime and in the evening. For dinner, the menus begin at 5200 yen (40 €) and reach the 16500 yen (125 €) for the tasting menu. You will notice that prices are surprisingly affordable for a cuisine of this level.

A Delight for the Taste Buds

The set menu begins with a small hors d’oeuvre, followed by an appetizer, in my case the soft-boiled egg with Iberian ham and a savory Parmesan mousse. This is followed by the main course of beef cheek, complete with a carrot purée and a cumin emulsion. The spices are strong but don’t mask the flavor of the meat.

Soft-boiled egg with Iberian ham and a savory Parmesan mousse

Beef cheek, complete with a carrot purée and a cumin emulsion

To finish the meal on a high note, I opt for a Franco-Japanese flavor association in the form of a fig sponge cake, or “savarin,” served with green tea pastry cream. A total explosion of flavors! The fruit and green tea combination is a culinary marvel.

The savarin

The staff is impeccable! In Europe, this kind of establishment is already the gold standard for exemplary service, but in Japan, where high-quality service is a cultural priority, the personnel go above and beyond!

My impression

It was a real pleasure to taste the cuisine of Joel Robuchon which is a great value of french gastronomy. Especially since the value for money is excellent, lunch for 25 € in a 2 Michelin star is difficult to envisage in Paris or London for example. I highly recommend this address in Tokyo, although it is not japanese cuisine but you would be very unwise to ignore it.

Practical informations

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