L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – the worlds first Michelin Starred Potato Tasting Menu:
An invitation anyone with any curiousity couldn’t refuse! Would I like to try an eight course potato tasting menu? In the wrong hands that might not be such an attractive proposition, but L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, with two michelin stars, was a venue that I was certain could rise to the challenge.
Arriving at the restaurant in Covent Garden, we were taken upstairs to enjoy a Potato Martini Cocktail. Very lovely too, the potato element was a hand baked crisp. The meal proper was downstairs on the ground floor, where we enjoyed a perfect view of the open plan kitchen area.
The amuse bouche was a blinis topped with a fried quail egg, very pretty and a good opening to the menu itself .
Our first course was titled ‘La Truffe Noire – Truffle Marinated Potato Salad’. Part of the point of the menu was to showcase how different varieties of potato work best for different uses, so the Charlotte potato used in this dish is a salad potato with a firm texture that works well in salads, but also steamed or roasted whole. In this particular dish, the firm salad potatoes were a great base for the delicate slices of truffle.
Next an wonderfully creamy vichyssoise with leeks and smoked haddock using Desiree potatoes for a perfect velvety cream.
Then Gnocchi, something I’ve tried to make at home and always failed dismally at, so I am in great admiration of a kitchen that can produce them – and present them so beautifully
I perhaps should mention that throughout the meal, we could watch everything being prepared, calmly and efficiently in the open kitchen…
My personal favourite was the Pork, served with potato mousseline (a kind of foodie mashed potato from heaven). This used Desiree potatoes again. It was served with a lush red wine too, probably my favourite glass of the evening – a 2005 crianza bodegas resalte de peñafiel.
We had two delicious desserts. La Pomme Amande was a little parcel of warm sweet filo type pastry filled with a melting potato and vanilla puree.
Piccolini were potato churros, caramelised with grand marnier and brown sugar and serve with citrus custard and manderin sorbet. My photo is the ‘before’ shot, once these were surrounded with the custard they needed to be eaten quickly to avoid them going soft.
Finally we rounded off the meal with some coffee and potato petit fours (which really didn’t look as if they had anything to do with the brown knobbly things you dig up from the garden).
All in, this was a dinner which elevated the humble spud to a level I’d never have thought possible.
If you’d like to find out more about what can be done with potatoes, the tasting menu will be available at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon for the first week in October. And, at the same time, the Potato Council will be announcing more about their new classification system to help us all pick the right variety of potato for the dish we are making. You can find out more from The Many Faces of Potato website.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
13-15 West Street