Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scrumptiousness Salon de The de Joel Robuchon

Afternoon Tea Stand
Joel Robuchon has become famous worldwide, with restaurants in Paris, London, Hong Kong, and Macau just to name a few cities, many of those restaurants have Michelin stars to boot. Let’s not forget to mention that his Paris flagship restaurant is on the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the World list. Although we had hoped to give his restaurants a whirl on our last trip to Paris and London, given our already busy dining schedule, we just couldn’t squeeze it in. So since we were going to be in Hong Kong for almost a whole month, we were able to fit in both a visit to his L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, as well as a few visit to Salon de The de Joel Robuchon, which has several locations in Hong Kong and is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.

Open Concept at Salon de The de Joel Robuchon
On this particular occasion, we decided to try it for afternoon tea. He currently has two locations in Hong Kong, both of which are located in the Central area of Hong Kong, with a third opening up soon near The Ritz Carlton on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. His first location is located in The Landmark building which is where his other restaurants, L’Atelier and Jardine are located. The second location of Salon de The de Joel Robuchon had only been opened for two months when we visited, on Level 2 of the ifc Mall.

Pastry Cases at Salone de The de Joel Robuchon
The location itself is a bit unusual as it’s situated literally in the hallway near The Four Seasons Hotel, resembling more of a casual café without enclosed walls, floating in the middle, surrounded by luxurious shops such as BVGARI, Tom Ford, and an Italian brand I’d never heard of before. As a result of this awkward location, they do not have a liquor license, the blessing being that children are allowed at this location, the downside being you can’t have a glass of wine or champagne to accompany your meal here.

Staub Teapots at Salon de The de Joel Robuchon
Afternoon tea begins at 3:00pm daily and goes until 6:00pm and is a first come, first serve situation. We arrived around 2:30pm and a line up for afternoon tea had already begun to form. Luckily, the wait wasn’t very long, around 20 minutes and we were able to get a table. Unfortunately the table was in an awkward corner that had been previously vacated by another couple and after a few minutes, we realized why. The service area was directly behind the male humans seat, and was a small space. On more than one occasion it looked like he would get an elbow, a tray or a pitcher to the side of his head, and on one occasion, a limb did make contact. With nowhere else to sit and no room to scoot the table away from the service area, we made do and became hyper vigilant when servers headed in that direction. It didn’t make for the most comfortable or relaxing atmosphere for afternoon tea, but it seemed as though they were still trying to figure out and navigate the layout of their new space.

Of all of the afternoon teas we had had thus far, they had the most comfortable furnishings. Although the red chairs were deep and cushioned, they were not so ridiculously deep that you couldn’t scoot up to the table and we could reach the food without straining. Nor was the cushioning excessive that you felt like you were not getting any support from the chair.

La Salon de The de Joel Robuchon definitely had the most unique looking teapots, as they were square cast iron teapots that came in either red or black, made by Staub. The downside to these very sturdy teapots was they were very difficult to lift and to pour. Their afternoon tea stand was also most unique, with all the food presented on a tiered, black, half circle stand instead of the usual three tiered display made of silver or metal with plates inside.


Their sandwich offerings consisted of salmon, lobster and mango, eggplant, truffle, and a cheese croissant. The salmon was very light, and had a delicate salmon taste to it, while the lobster and mango was mildly sweet and although were two flavors I’d never consider putting together normally worked to compliment each other perfectly. The eggplant sandwich on the other hand didn’t taste like much at all, and would have been difficult to identify had we not known what it was. The truffle sandwich was my favorite, with a fragrant and distinctly truffle smell, and a definitively earthy taste to it. Lastly the cheese croissant was flaky and light, with just a hint of cheese, enough to satisfy but not overwhelm.
Nut Cluster

The scones were unfortunately not the stars of the show, although they should have been. I found the scones were a bit on the dry side, but the clotted cream was the best that we had eaten in Hong Kong as it was rich and creamy. But like every other afternoon tea we had been to in Hong Kong, they were chintzy with both the clotted cream and the jam, and we had to ask for more in order to have enough for all four scones. The additional clotted cream took longer than it should have to arrive at our table, as we asked for it while we were eating the scones, but had not received it until well after we finished all of our desserts.

Raspberry Eclair
As for the desserts, most of them were really quite tasty, minus the nut cluster that was enrobed in chocolate. The nut cluster tasted good but was extremely difficult to bite into, making it the only item I didn’t finish, as it was almost painful to eat. As well the macaron was on the chewy side as opposed to airy, slightly crisp, not nearly as enjoyable as those from Pierre Herme. However the chocolate cake was very light with a mousse like texture and not overly sweet. Meanwhile the lemon tart had the perfect amount of tartness, served on a perfectly crisp base. The coffee caramel bread although it looked like it might be heavy, although sweet, was actually not dense at all, dancing gently on the taste buds. The raspberry éclair had fresh raspberries in it, which were really refreshing. Lastly the crème brulee was silky smooth, bursting with vanilla flavor.

We only wished that there had been two of each sandwich, instead of one small slice that we had to share, as some items were easier to share than others. It also meant the overall serving size of the afternoon tea was significantly smaller than others we had experienced in Hong Kong, leaving us a bit peckish afterwards. It was however the cheapest tea, with the most consistent good tasting food. With such a reasonable price, as long as you don’t go in expecting a full meal, their afternoon tea will satisfy you.

Salon de The de Joel Robuchon
2045A, Podium Level 2, ifc Mall
Hong Kong

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