|Last Orders||midnight, Sun 10 pm|
|Dress Code||no trainers|
"Sitting at the counter on the ground floor is a wonderful experience and the roast (broche) of the day is recommended- prices can be rather steep so lunch or the pre-theatre menu are recommended."
"Exsquisite presentation. Staff professional yet informal at the same time. Chairs in the downstairs restaurant are a little uncomfortable for the elderly. Not cutting edge cuisine, althgough it delivered on the flavour front."
"The food has always been delicious and deserts very attractively presented. In the past the deserts had been presented within golden balls. Nowadays, they're more normal."
"Obviously you have to rate this restaurant by its price bracket - the food was undoubtedly very good, but for the price which exceeds better restaurants, it is just ok. Food was pretty good but overall experience was not worth the price. We had the 8 course tasting with wine pairings. The meal started beautifully with the amuse bouche, caviar dish and lobster with ginger broth being particular stand out dishes. However the food was generally a bit rich for an 8 course tasting and the main course was very oversalted, to the point that it was inedible. Service was friendly but waiting staff changed too much for any continuity, and often our water glass was not refilled. This was especially irksome when we had wine pairings where we were poured tiny glasses, meaning that we went thirsty between courses (without even water to drink), and even for an entire course which apparently did not have a wine pairing. Considering the wine pairings are £70 a head which is the same as 2 very good bottles of wine between the 2 of us, I felt that we were being ripped off – we never had this at the ledbury or other similar restaurants. When I compare the experience at the ledbury with dinner here it is night and day. Being offered a small box of petit fours for the oversalted dish was also a bit lame."
"Really stylish restaurant. Excellent food. Lunch menu is a steal"
The mainly black upstairs dining room of Joël Robuchon's new London 'workshop' - accented with white tiles, pepper pots and bric-à-brac - is oddly reminiscent of an early PizzaExpress.
There are differences of course. Few chain outlets, for example, try to get away with tables quite as small as those at this outpost of one of the world's most famous chefs. On the plus side, you arguably get a bit more glamour here (if sitting next a theatrical peer counts). But not that much. The rather hugger-mugger feel is all part of the 'authenticity' of an establishment whose aspirations - despite the location of other branches in Tokyo, Las Vegas and, now, New York - are explicitly not in the direction of grandeur.
The food here is what it's all supposed to be about, and the food here is very good indeed. Some dishes were truly memorable. An amuse-bouche of foie gras with Parmesan froth was superb, as was some prettily presented crab in jelly. Quail stuffed with black truffle and served with sinful buttery mash was luxurious, if tiny. Duck was a 'best ever'. And puddings were exemplary (even if the 'soufflé vert' wasn't especially green).
The problem with reviewing this sort of place is, of course, the feeling that prices have departed from reality. Go the dégustation route (£80) - the one the staff charmingly, push you down - and your budget would encompass dining anywhere else in town. Is the overall experience up to Gordon Ramsay or Le Gavroche? In our view, no (although the price/value trade off looked better in the much sexier-looking downstairs, for which you can't book after 7pm).
But, hey, it certainly makes a change. And the sort of people who keep their Maybachs waiting outside probably don't care too much about the bill.
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