13-15 West Street, WC2H 9NE.
T: 020 7010 8600
You can't call yourself a foodie till you've eaten here!
Where is it?
Located on West Street, Joel Rubuchon couldn't have chosen a more controversial site for his London venture, given its close proximity to The Ivy. It's easily reached from Leicester Square tube station.
What's it like?
'Atelier' means workshop or artists' studio, and that's what you'll find on the ground floor of this restaurant - a Japanese-style open kitchen arrangement with the chefs preparing food in front of you, explaining what they're doing and the origin of the food to the more interactive participants. The more formal among you should dine in the first floor restaurant, and alcoholics can be found enjoying cocktails in 'Le Salon' on the top floor. Rubuchon has earned 18 Michelin stars worldwide, so the pressure is on here - unfortunately, that sometimes tells in the atmosphere which can be a little stuffy. That's a shame because it would encourage more participation in the ground floor atelier if the staff made punters feel more comfortable. One good thing about the way food is revered here (apart from it tasting good!) is that the crowd is mostly foodies, there are none of the z-listers or posers here you might find at Nobu or the Ivy. Foodwise, you're looking at a French-inspired menu with Mediterranean leanings, with a focus on quality ingredients and simple preparation. Try the Iberian ham or beef carpaccio, and the steak tartare and hand-cut chips. Prices are high because of the superb quality of the ingredients, and I'm not going to attempt to justify that here. If you go to a restaurant to feel full and get some satisfaction from letting your belt out a notch after dinner, go to TGI Friday's. This is top-quality ingredients prepared with technical precision, and it's worth every penny. One of the best gastro experiences in the world, let alone London.
Why does Johnny Ikon love it?
I love the food, I really do, but for me L'Atelier is great for another reason- the Bloody Mary's in Le Salon. They're undoubtedly the best I've tried anywhere, and I can down them all night and still remark each time how good they are!
Automat (Almada club)
Outstanding, with a door policy so strict you probably don't even know it's here
The Groucho Club
Groucho Marx: "I don't want to join a club that will accept me as a member"
Synonymous with British class
Where fashion meets the West End!
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