I’ve given up trying to understand my body. Last week I pointed every morsel that crossed my lips and lost a pound. This week I spent most of Saturday afternoon indulging in wine and cakes and lost three. I’m not complaining. But I am slightly confused.
It was the final stage of my rather drawn out 30th birthday celebrations this weekend: some friends and I decided to indulge ourselves with lunch at a the two Michelin star L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Actually, D and I ate here a few years ago, and at the time found it a mixed bag – although the mashed potato (which Robuchon famously makes with a 50:50 ratio of potato to butter) was fabulous. The lunch deal this time round was too good to resist however: two courses from the lunch menu, followed by “afternoon tea” in the bar area upstairs in lieu of pudding, all for £35. It’s certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities of the Toptable website.
My starter of baked egg with wild mushroom cream was nice – although the fact that my friend described the texture of her egg as “slightly snotty” did put me off a little. Descriptive, no? The light-as-air mushroom cream was the star here; I loved the combination of its fluffy texture with the deep, earthy flavours of the mushroom – it was like getting a kiss from a big, burly farmer with a scratchy beard. Or something. The main course was good too. I couldn’t resist the pork belly – despite the fact that most of the time when I order it in a restaurant it compares unfavourably to D’s amazing twice cooked version. This was good though – much thinner that you usually see belly served out, with crispy fat and a warm hum of ginger; and I adored the combination of the pork with fat, juicy prunes. As an accompaniment, the table received a couple of bowls of matchstick fries – my only criticism here was that there were not nearly enough. Fat chips I can take or leave, but hot, thin, crispy, salty fries are irresistible.
Without a doubt though, the most exciting part of the meal was being escorted upstairs to sit in comfort in the third floor bar and indulge in the loose leaf tea of our choice with a selection of delicate confections. Unfortunately, my own photos didn’t come out (the lighting was terribly dark – how do other people manage?) but I managed to find this image online at bookatable.com which should give you some idea. I think the general consensus of opinion was that the caramel macaron was the standout here – gorgeously sweet with that little hint of salt which compliments caramel so well. Blissful.
So there you have it – apparently my dieting top tip this week is to go out and indulge yourself a little. On second thoughts, if my body is running a week behind, the fallout from my pointeriffic weekend may be yet to come…
L'atelier de Joel Robuchon
13-15 West St