Epic Lunch at Restaurant Joël Robuchon (Monte Carlo, Monaco)
Many thanks to our gracious and generous host Visit Monaco for our trip to Monaco. It’s been a true honor to see, feel, taste what your extraordinary principality is like. And goodness, it felt like heaven on earth!
As you might have read the afternoon tea at Hotel Metropole earlier, we also had an epic lunch at Restaurant Joël Robuchon (different days though).
While planning for this trip to Monte Carlo, many friends, travel forums, and travel guides mentioned that one of the places one should have a splurge meal is at the 2* Michelin restaurant, Joël Robuchon. On our dining experience there, it arguably bested all of our meals in France for this particular trip. The food was delicious, as one would expect from a 2* but what really made this meal great was the front of house staff. Our sommelier was this friendly, older gentleman who know his wines and paired the food very well but he also acted like he was our butler from another lifetime where he playfully teased my friend throughout our meal and held up my light when I wanted to photograph the outrageous dessert cart — I didn’t even asked him and told me to go photograph.
While there are plenty of Michelin starred restaurants do serve sublime, most likely in-house baked breads, I really enjoyed it here. The dazzling display of the various rolls and loaves unleashed my carb loving self and wanted to eat through all of the fresh baked bread and perfectly softened Breton butter (where a waiter scrapes off the huge column of butter with a spoon and serve it to you in a small dish) and call it a day. If you are conscientious about your bread intake, you must have the mind blowing mini baguette.
While snacking on our rolls, my friend had the lovely anise-y apéritif Pastis to make room for this meal while I had a non-alcoholic fruity, sweet strawberries and basil soda.
THe Egg “Mimosa” with crab and Imperial caviar is the upscale deviled egg of my dreams. The perfectly cooked egg components and the chunks of sweet crab meat found underneath the mound of creamy piped egg yolk was sublime.
Purple artichoke, squid with a touch of thyme, chorizo cooked in a tajine dish was incredible. The sweet, savory and smoky flavors of the rendered chorizo and sundried tomatoes being the dominant flavors while the artichoke was the backbone. The squid added some chewiness and the thyme brightened up the dish. The semi-dry wine Riesling pairing of 2012 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett with this dish struck the right balance of fruity, clean citrus notes to the spicy flavors of the dish.
Cepes Provencal style in puff pastry and Barolo vinegar is seemingly a simple dish of a deconstructed mushroom tart but utterly delectable and complex. Perfectly baked puff pastry, meaty, large thick slices of perfectly seared mushrooms that has enough Barolo vinegar cooked with it to brighten this earthy dish and the few thin shards of pecorino to add another layer of complexity and salinity.
The lobster, avocado coulis with spicy oil and burrata felt interestingly California inspired primarily because of the avocados. The creamy, refreshing avocado coulis has the texture of gazpacho and the sweetness of the lobster (and provided some chewy texture) and burrata manages to work with the avocado nicely.
John Dory with shiso leaf tempura served on bomba rice was a great fish dish. The mild, sweet flavor of the fish fillet was brightened up by the delicately fried shiso leaf. The bomba rice was perfectly cooked and had a delicate seafood flavor.
Moving toward the last savory dish, we had the quail stuffed with foie gras with caramelized truffled mash potatoes on the side. It’s a delicious dish that acknowledges that autumn is coming where all of the flavors are warm, comforting, heavier and the use of a game bird and truffles. The side of mash potatoes is what everyone has been saying for years – it’s nothing but sweet, creamy butter with a touch of velvety potatoes to hold it all together. The quail is perfectly cooked and great flavor without being too gamy.
La Tedance Fraise was our palate cleanser, so to speak, resetting our palates with the bright mixture of not too tart rhubarb and fresh strawberries topped with a subtly sweetened biscuit (cookie), crispy nougat, and mint sorbet.
If you have a huge sweet tooth like myself, you’d be extremely pleased with the dessert cart here that glides up to you. It’s an homage for traditional French desserts like il flotante, chocolate mousse, clafoutis, baba al rhum, and many types of tarts. And you can pick as many as you want. I had an almost obsessive craving for fresh figs and my eyes widened by the sight of that fig tart decked up with edible gold leaf and also had the fresh mirabelle plums and mixed berries il flotante. My friend had the blueberries clafouti, chocolate tart and slices of roasted pineapple. The fig tart was simply delightful and everything I wanted in a fig tart. Large, lush ripened figs with just a touch of raspberry jam on the base of the buttery, crisp tart to heighten the flavors of the figs. The il flotante was textbook perfect with the silky creme anglaise sauce and cloud-like texture of the mixed berries meringue. The fresh mirabelles are a treasured fruit to the French when it’s in season (you’ll see it everywhere from pastries to the French markets). These plums were delicately sweet and tart. The blueberry clafouti was good. The chocolate tart was dense and incredibly rich that one slice will make you skip the actual dessert course and the sweet, deeply flavored, roast pineapples were a good foil to the heavy chocolate tart.
Our final dessert for this marvelous meal was the Le Grué de Cacao ice cream, crispy tuile, Manjari chocolate chantilly. It’s a chocolate dessert but wasn’t potent like the gilded chocolate. The various Valrhona chocolates used in this dessert harmonized nicely and I adored the crispy and creamy textures of this dessert.
There were doppio espressos and digestifs to finish our meal. Admittedly, we went on the extravagant end with the exquisite, smooth and rare Cognac L’Or de Jean Martell and a somewhat rare Hibiki 21 Japanese whisky. (To the folks who don’t follow or drink whisky, age statements are becoming a thing of the past in recent years.) Both spirits are great in its own way. It’s a great way to spend the rest of the afternoon sip slowly at the chef’s table and talk about this amazing meal until our next one — in about 4 hours.
To see more photos of this visit, please CLICK HERE for the photo set or see the photos below:
Restaurant Joël Robuchon at Hotel Metropole
4 Avenue de la Madone
98000 Monaco, France
Phone: +377 93 15 15 10