This is ordinarily out of our usual price range for non-special occasions, but L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon has recently started serving lunch on Sundays, at relatively reasonable prices - $49 for 3 courses (limited selection of dishes), $68 for a 4-course (choose any appetizer, fish course, meat course and dessert) and $87 for a 5-course (same as 4-course but with the addition of a soup).
None of the soups were particularly enticing, so we both went with the fish and meat menu. The amuse bouche was a foie gras custard with truffle and parmesan foam - a winning combination of flavours and pretty tasty.
For the first course we both opted for the pig head terrine with slow cooked egg and olives. The gelatinous bits of the meat from the pig's head were wrapped inside a casing made from pig skin then fried. It was a very rich dish because of the sticky, gelatinous texture of the meat combined with the skin (which still had singed bits of hair on it), so the small portion was about all I could handle. The olives helped cut through the richness though.
A had a bacalao polenta with jamon, and I had the prawns with kaffir lime leaf. The prawns were pretty ordinary compared to the awesome bacalao, which was flavourful enough on its own, and went to a whole other level when paired with the umami-packed slices of jamon.
Most of the meat dishes were quite ordinary - roast chicken, or thinly sliced beef on rocket salad. I decided to top up my set for the roasted quail dish - the leg was really tender, and the breast perfectly cooked and stuffed with foie gras.
A went with the spaghetti carbonara, which he regretted to some extent because of how pedestrian he thought it was, but it was a damn good plate of carbonara. The dish was infused with flavours of bacon fat, and the sauce was just bacon fat and egg, no cream, so it was silky and smooth without being too rich.
We were each served a little dish of the legendary Robuchon mashed potatoes, but even though I requested at the start that ours weren't dumbed down (I'd heard that they may veer away from the 50-50 ratio in Singapore to cater to a reduced appetite for butter-rich food), I doubt they prepared a separate batch for us. I haven't been to any of the other Robuchons so I can't vouch for whether the one we had was the full-on version or not - it was very good, but I didn't get an overwhelming sense of butteriness from it.
A had the profiteroles for dessert, and I had a chocolate and salt caramel mousse with diced mango. The profiteroles were quite ordinary compared to the relative complexity of the mousse. Hidden within the mousse were bits of popping candy, which added an unexpectedly playful note.
We were one of the first customers at noon, and service was excellent when lunch started out. As it got more crowded, the waitstaff were getting quite stretched, and while the kitchen got the orders out in perfect time, they were generally let down by the speed of the service staff. Our desserts, which were prepped in a separate kitchen, took ages to arrive, not to mention the bill, and again the credit card slip for payment. I would have given this place top marks if not for the almost half hour wait (in total) from desserts till we finally paid the bill.
The food is fantastic but the question is whether it is worth paying astronomical prices for. In terms of the Sunday set lunch (which isn't cheap until you compare it to the regular menu prices) then the answer is yes, it's worth it. Other than that, I probably won't empty my wallet for it.
The service started great, but once the restuarant filled up with fellow cheapskates, the standard dropped tremendously. Our original server switched to another station and service was almost non-existent from our mains onwards. Maybe it's a different story if you go at dinner and pay the big bucks.
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Resorts World Sentosa
Dinner: Daily, 6 pm – 10.30 pm
Lunch: Sunday, 12 noon - 2 pm