Friday, 30 January 2009

NOT: L'Atelier de Joel Rubochon, 13-15 West Street, Soho

If a dining experience was purely about the food, then I can safely say the dishes coming out of this restaurant's colourful open-racked kitchen were delicious and deftly presented. However, we all know that dining out isn't just about the food (although I don't often make a rabbit terrine or lobster risotto at home) and several things failed me at L'Atelier de Joel Rubochon.
  • The decor. It immediately put me to mind of an expensive black patent leather Louboutin pump with a crimson sole. Quite disturbing to feel like I was eating inside a shoe.

  • The stilted layout. Lots of dark corridors, lots of stairs, lots of mysterious corners and doors and a lift. A bit claustrophic (see above re shoe).

  • The high chairs. The bar area is where all the action is at, but sitting high up on leather stools doesn't make a relaxing dining experience.

  • The recession-unfriendly prices. Vanessa and I had the pre-theatre 3 course menu for a reasonable 25 pounds. However, a peek at the a la carte revealed 15-20 pounds for entrees, and 25-30 for mains. The degustation was 105 pounds! For that price, there are many other restaurants I would recommend before this one.

  • The snooty service. We were offered the a la carte menu, and when we asked for the pre-theatre menu there was a marked difference in friendliness. Come on people, there's a recession on. And then when I asked for tap water? Just because it's not on the drinks menu doesn't mean it's not ok to drink!

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