Joël Robuchon Restaurant
Joël Robuchon, no need of too much introduction - the a legendary French chef that owns the most Michelin star. HIs three fine dining restaurants in Tokyo have totally 7 stars, the most famous one is not doubt the 3-Michelin-starred Joël Robuchon in Ebisu.
Surrounded by the modern buildings of shopping malls and hotels, Joël Robuchon located in a isolated French heritage building which easy catch everyone's eyes. I have been to almost all his restaurants in Asia includes L'Atelier Hong Kong, Singapore, Robuchon au dome in Macau. Probabaly because there are so many great chef-owner restaurants in Tokyo that interest me, and i prefer Japanese-French much over traditonal French, Joël Robuchon was never on my to-go-list although it has 3 stars.
Two of my oversea guests came to Tokyo during Japanese New Year vacation and so many restaurants are closed, left very very few fine dining options and that's why we were there.
Joël Robuchon Ebisu is devided into two parts. On the basement is a more causual side (but still fine dining) LA TABLE de Joël Robuchon, currently holding 2 stars. The formal restaurant with 3 stars Joël Robuchon is on the second floor.
Before heading to the main dining room on the second floor, the server took me to the bar for a drink before my guests arrived.
The interior is luxurious and elegant, which is quite rare in Japan. While compare to Robuchon au Dome in Macau, there are still large differences.
There are three different menu to choose from. The prixe fixe menu is priced at 24,000 and 30,000 JPY ( 10,000 and 18,000 JPY are only availale during lunch), you may choose your preffered dishes from a wide range of offerings under each section of cold appetizers, hot appetizers, fish, meat and dessert. While the most recommended menu is definitely Menu Degustation, a bit pricy at 42,000 but you will have the best discovery of the food here. Vegetarian menu is also available at 22,000.
We had 30,000 Prixe Fixe menu because we are allowed to choose the dishes we like, while you have to top up for certain dishes with premium ingredients. Our bill actually come 47,000 per head include 2 glasses of wine.
All the Joël Robuchon restaurants offers a very impressive trolley of hearty breads, all the breads are made-in-house. Butter was freshly hand-churned, same as Robuchon au Dome. A bread basket was firstly serves without any choice options, once the table finish with the bread basket, the server will ask you for your choice of bread from the trolley.
Caviar as another amuse sounds perfect!
To be honest, after trying the other Robuchon's restaurants in Asia, i am a bit tired of his restaurants. I didn't expect much on this meal neither. While the only thing i came for is Caviar. Underneath the indredibley fresh pearls from the ocean is large portion of fresh crab from Hokkaido, with layers of crstacean jelly and cauliflower cream. The combination of the sweet and umami flavors with a luxurious burst was superb.
The first dish was a terrine made of layers of foie gras and caramelized unagi. It somehow reminds me of Les Amis in Singapore, where i had a smiliar dish before. was a lovely match of Western and East cooking. Foie gras was smooth and deep in flavor, the ell flesh was moist and flavorful, awesome combination. My friend had the lobster served on an avocado guacamole and pomegrante reduction and he enjoyed it very much.
For the second appetizer, both my partners had the Botan shrimp with its broth infused by mushroom. They expected the botan shrimp to be medium cooked with a creamy texture but unfortunately it was not. The fully cooked botan shrimp taste just like regular shrimp.
I had the deep-fried egg servered with caviar and cream, side by smoked salmon. It has a very crispy skin and a perfect melting yolk inside. I was pretty impressive the perfect texture of this dish, and taste great.
Lobster was well-grilled, succulent and umami, the pairing seasonal vegeables bring a healthy twist. But Château Chalon broth was quite over - too buttery and creamy for my liking, it makes the whole dish a bit heavy. Another fish dish that my friend ordered looks much cleaner than the lobster, while the cod was nothing special neither.
Never get tired of uni and truffle, although i didn't feel like to eat too much carbs that day, i still picked the homemade spaghettini. The aromatic black truffle made me mouth-watering when the dish came to the table, with large portion of sea urchin and a wonderful soft-poached egg in the center.
The entire dish of pasta was very rich and creamy after mixed up. I don't know whether that's a good thing but to me it was too heavy. The portion of pasta was neither a fine dining portion, maybe Japanese pasta lunch? Probably because i had the deep-fried egg just now, the onsen egg was no more tasty to me - but very greasy. One of my partner also had the pasta and she didn't finish it neither.
Lucky the boy picked medium-grilled beef which looks well-done. It was fork tender and very flavorful.
My partners had the beautiful tahitian vanilla choux, and i had chestnut confit and mousse. The mousse was airy and light, which matches well with the rhum jelly - yeah, chestnut and rhum are the best friends.
The forth hour....
After the first dessert, a trolley of dessert appreared in front of us. But we were already stuffed to die - seriously, this was probably the first time feeling so stuffed and heavy at a fine dining restaurant. The had a sliced of cheesecake, strawberry tart and floating cake for sharing, i had a bit of each and sadly none of them were impressive.
I was very disappointing at this point, and too tired to continue eating...wish the meal could end soon. But next arrived the petit fours trolley, which looks not appealing to us at all.
As mentioned, we had the 30,000 menu but actually paid 47,000 because of the tricky 'supplement'. In this case i think it will be safer to have the Degustation Menu priced at 42,000, at least the dishes are better-matched. Service was definitely Japanese-Michelin-3-starred, very efficient and all the servers were very patient when we took pictures. Ambiance was very nice, there are about 20 tables in the main dining room and everyone talks quietly.
However, food was in general disappointing, except the caviar was wonderful, the rest has nothing to be remembered. Among all the French restaurants i have been in Tokyo, Joel Robuchon is probabaly the most expensive one but most disapponting one, in short, not worth-of -value based on my scale. Most of the dishes were too buttery, salty and creamy, we all feel quite greasy after all and even want to vomit. (Sorry for Joel Robuchon)