Recognized as “Chef of the Century” by the Gault Millau guide, star French chef Joël Robuchon is a true master of the kitchen and restaurant industry, with his dozen establishments in cities across the globe including Paris, Tokyo, New York, London, and Hong Kong. Robuchon’s restaurants have reaped an incredible 25 Michelin stars in total – more than any other chef in the world. Adding yet more feathers to its cap,, L’Atelier claimed a three-star award in the 2016 World’s Best Wine Lists for the second year running, has retained its three Michelin stars for the past six consecutive years (since 2012 as part of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau), and has received the top Three Glass Rating in China’s Wine List of the Year since 2013.
Robuchon’s Hong Kong branch of the L’Atelier concept, which originated in Tokyo in 2003, is no exception to this high level of quality, featuring all his trademark flair in the open-plan kitchen and circular bar surround, contemporary chic décor finished with lush red velvet seating and dark wooden furniture. Robuchon’s gastronomic offerings channel ultra-modern French classics served tapas style; dishes such as langoustine carpaccio with citrus and Espelette pepper and crispy sea urchin waffle, or slow-cooked Challans duck breast and foie gras garnished with seasonal fruits, are immaculately cooked by the Robuchon team headed by executive chef David Alves.
At the heart of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Hong Kong is a philosophy upholding their respect for wine, with wine director Paul Lo and head sommeliers Terence Wong and Eric Yau. The beverage team explains on the front page of the wine list how and why they value each bottle; for example, the establishment pays “substantial premiums for a good source,” but if the fill level drops either during storage or when purchased in a lot with different levels, then the bottle will be priced accordingly with a discount. This dictates that there may be different prices for the same wine.
Diners have access to the formidable “Best Wine List in Asia” at the Hotel Grand Lisboa, a vast wine list with 16,800 references, provided they order in advance (allowing between seven days and three weeks, depending on the style of wine).
But the in-house wine list is nonetheless full of treasures of its own, with a quite remarkable collection of big-name Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the Rhône, featuring a startling array of mature vintages from many of the region’s most celebrated producers. The same can be said of German Riesling, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo and Barbaresco, Australian Shiraz … the starry list goes on and on.
There is also a remarkable collection of wines by the glass – approximately 20 in total, including Dom Pérignon 2006, Château Musar White 1999, and Bouchard Père & Fils Clos de Vougeot 2008. Other highlights include a very serious selection of German Riesling, where extensive collections from Dr Loosen, Fritz Haag, Hermann Dönnhoff, Joh. Jos. Prüm, and Zilliken showcase the region brilliantly.
The very solid Iberian section includes verticals of Pingus and Vega Sicilia from Ribera del Duero Álvaro Palacios, Daphne Glorian, and Clos Erasmus from Priorat, and Quinta Vale Dona Maria from the Douro. The staggering red Burgundy collection has 550 references, offering a plethora of choices, while the US has some exciting representatives from around the country, including 50 white wines from California, with back vintages of Marcassin, Kistler, and Kongsgaard. To elevate any occasion, there are 35 vintages of Petrus, with bottles dating back to 1947.
To cap off a meal of innovative French cuisine, the exceptional dessert wine selection includes all the classic choices from Sauternes, Tokaj, and the Loire, but also more unusual options from Spain, New Zealand, and even Ukraine.
Just like its sister restaurant Robuchon au Dôme in Macau – 2016’s winner of the World’s Best Wine Lists – L’Atelier includes critics’ ratings for some of the wines on its brilliantly eclectic and exciting list.