L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Shanghai is the first venue of the renowned French Chef to open up in mainland China. Similar to the other branches around the world, the intention is to combine the openness of Japanese sushi kitchen with the less formal atmosphere of Spanish tapas bar. Nevertheless, the restaurant in Shanghai has one of the most premium locations in town and serves some of the best French classics available.
The kitchen is run by Francky Semblat, a veteran of the Robuchon family who previously was the Chef at Robuchon au Dôme in Macau. Together with General Manager Nicolas Defremont, who has worked at Alain Ducasse and Gordon Ramsay before, he was brought to Shanghai to establish the first branch of Robuchon in mainland China.
Guests have the choice between à la carte, a signature set menu or a vegetarian menu. Most of the dishes served are also available in smaller portions for those who only want to have a small bit and a glass of wine before going out.
The food itself is predominantly French with the use of classic ingredients such as foie gras, lobster and caviar. Everything is plated and served in a most elegant way, making it one of the fanciest places in town serving French cuisine. Some of the highlights are the Robuchon classic of imperial caviar with king crab and the wagyu beef Rossini.
The interior is dark with mainly red and black colours, similar to the other Ateliers’ around the world. The centrepiece of the restaurant is the teppanyaki stove around which the guests are seated. This is done to bring the guests closer to the cooking process and make the service more informal and visual while still being a classy restaurant.
Those who insist can still book a normal table though only a handful of these are available in the restaurant. Of course, as is common in China, private rooms are available as well.
Towards the street side there is a large seating area with a separate bar with one of the best views overlooking the famous Shanghai skyline. Here guests can savour a glass without necessarily having dinner first. In addition, the bar offers a premium selection of cigars available as well to accompany the digestifs.
All red wines come from a large wine cellar which is located next to the bar and boasts an enormous amount of high end French classics thanks to the direct cooperation with multiple vineyards.
In short, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Shanghai is an interesting approach to high French cuisine which goes beyond the traditional white napkins and waiters with gloves. It offers top notch quality in a setting that caters well to high rollers in an Asian metropole.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon scored 79 of 100 points in our rating system.
Written by Sebastiaan