Joel Robuchon's Coveted Reputation Lives on at Le Comptoir Robuchon, Mayfair
Le Comptoir Robuchon, Mayfair Restaurant Review also featured on byevapiskadlo.com.
Joël Robuchon had the most Michelin stars in the world – boasting an impressive 32 accolades – and his 2006 arrival of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon pronounced the definitive moment where the brand’s presence in London became a necessity. The death of Robuchon in 2018 meant the fall of L’Atelier from their two Michelin stars and the closure of the restaurant all seemed like the end of his legacy in the big smoke. However, the incredible rebirth of the brand has led to the opening of the elegant Le Comptoir Robuchon in the heart of Mayfair. I decided to take my parents, who had dined at L’Atelier in Singapore the year before.
There are many laudable things about the stunning interiors of Le Comptoir. The dining has high ceilings and art deco interiors with gleaming glass windows. The marble bar sets the scene of the entire room, with smartly angled mirrors lining the walls, giving me plenty of opportunities to subtly nosy at the other distinguished diners. An open kitchen sits behind the bar—a feature I always love in a restaurant. We were greeted warmly and we took our seats.
Luxury ingredients abound on a menu helmed by Head Chef Dario Avenca, previously at London’s The Square in Mayfair. Portuguese-born Avenca has worked alongside a plethora of fabulous chefs, including Alain Ducasse and Yu Sugimoto.
An amuse bouche of milk foam was served cool to cleanse the palette; an excellent start to the meal. A warm basket of an array of freshly baked bread whetted our appetites—this I could not stop munching on throughout the meal. I’m a bit of a bread fiend, so in hindsight, I wish I had put the butter fork down a little more so I had more space for the dessert trolley at the end, but who could blame me with carbs that good?
We ordered a selection of starters, and thankfully the La Selection De Pâtés—it was everything I had hoped. Arriving in style on the trolley, the slices were cut table side. I always find this service a theatrical delight! The hunks were silky but rich, crusty but smooth. The slices of toast were perfect dippers, although some buckled under the effort of how much pâté I was greedily trying to pile on.
The La Dorade Crue (above) was also assembled in front of us. The seabream flaked apart beautifully, the light dressing deeply tinged with lime. A quenelle of caviar hid impossibly thin slices of crisp chilli. Delicious.
Image courtesy of Eva Piskadlo (@byevapiskadlo)
The wine list is luxuriously extensive, and although the majority of wines are French, there is also a hearty selection from Germany, Italy, Spain and beyond. Our delightful sommelier Andre presented a terrific pairing to our four-course lunch, fusing wines from a plethora of countries.
I absolutely adore monkfish, and the flavour pairings of this dish were excellent. The smokey fish was flavoursome and the sorrel bouillon sauce, delicately coating the seasonal vegetables, had a perfect hint of acidity to slice through that richness. This was also plated tableside, delicately sliced and assembled.
Image courtesy of Eva Piskadlo (@byevapiskadlo)
The stars of the show were definitely the Lobster Bisque spaghetti and Morel Spaghetti, two dishes my Mum and I were torn between. We ended up getting both and switched halfway in between. WOW. When I first saw the Lobster on the menu my eyes widened; they did again as soon as I took a bite. Each mouthful transported me back to Cinque Terre in Italy. We were gleeful. So rich, so creamy and yet so light. The morel pasta had a delicate foam and was tinted ever so lightly with the Vin Jaune sauce. I tried my best to eat it slowly to savour the flavours and it was hard not to lick the plate. Both dishes were cooked to perfect al-dente texture, for those wondering.
Our plates were cleared, and this decadent dessert trolley was wheeled to our table and left with us for a few minutes, to "see if we can tempt you". Well, it worked. The eclairs were well kept and a warm selection of madeleines, cannelés and a raspberry tart were apt vehicles.
We also decided it would be rude not to try the “Le Whisky”, this season’s flavour for Robuchon’s famous Soufflé. Not being a massive whisky girl myself, this was very good indeed—the subtle taste of the smokey Monkey shoulder with the vanilla. The service was impeccable throughout; napkins were picked up and folded on the chair for absent occupiers without making us feel like we were being watched. Having gone to a Michelin-starred experience a few days before, the service was just not comparable—with Robuchon blowing the former out of the water. We staggered off into the hot afternoon, fearful of our over-extended bellies. Halfway to the tube station, we decided we couldn't take it; a cab was flagged and we flopped ourselves in, windows open, eyes rolling to head home West. It was an epic experience; no one should be deprived of that lobster spaghetti.
Thank you to the Le Comptoir team, Pierce, Virginie, Andre and Chef Dario for a sensational afternoon—I cannot recommend this place enough.
6 Clarges St, London W1J 8AE, robuchonlondon.co.uk