[HK] High Tea @ Le Salon De Thé de Joël Robuchon

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Joel Robuchon was the most influential French chef of the post-nouvelle cuisine era. Commonly regarded as the primus inter pares (first among the peers in Latin) of Paris' 3 star chefs for his work, a meal at Robuchon's restaurant had always been known to be of relentless perfectionism.

Drawing inspiration from the simplicity of cuisine, Robuchon led the way in creating a more delicate style respectful of natural food ingredients. Reputable for her high tea sets, we decided to visit for a food test. Setting wise, the interior of the restaurant could house less than 10 tables. Further down the corridor of The Landmark, there were about 5 tables littered at the balcony, overlooking the center of the shopping mall. What I particularly prefer about the balcony tables were that one would be guaranteed some privacy with your other dining companions, for they were partitioned and separated by wall beams.

High Tea Set for 2 - $325/-

Home made natural, lemon and raisin scones with Devonshire clotted cream and home made strawberry jam

The scones immediately stole the limelight with the glistening surface. They were all natural, lemon and raisin scones with Devonshire clotted cream and home made strawberry jam.

Even after the photo-taking, the scones were still warm to the touch. The glistening surface to the scones carried a slight crisp, while the inside was moist and soft. It would have been one of the finest scones tried even compared to the traditional bakeries in the UK, though I am not quite sure if the lemon scones as suggested on the menu was presented. There was a lack of any tinge of lemon juice or flavours and tasted like an original plain scone. That being said, the buttery taste of the scone was rich but not overwhelming, which definitely won me over. The raisin scone was packed with succulent raisins despite the petite size, making each mouth-bite a delightful treat to the palate.

The Devonshire clotted cream was rich in flavours but not overly greasy and stopping short of making one feel satiated. The second accompanying condiment of the home made strawberry jam was nothing like the purée version commonly served. It was made out of fresh strawberries and the residuals of the fruit could be seen and tasted. It was mildly saccharine, owed mainly to the flavours from the fruit and not excessively sweetened by artificial means such as sugar and syrup. Combined with the scones, it was certainly tantalizing to the taste buds.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Norwegian smoked salmon and caviar sandwich

Presentation wise, this won us over already, with the unique style to showcase the smoked salmon and caviar rather than layering them between the sandwich. The most commendable element apart from the fine ingredients was the light crisp biscuit-like base to the white bread, which balanced each mouth-bite perfectly. The thickness of the sliced salmon was optimal and most importantly, it was served at room temperature. Despite the need to keep the smoked salmon chilled for preservation, the flavours and texture of salmon would be at its prime level if allowed to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This difference could be tasted from the amount of moisture within the fish, which could be enhanced if allowed to rest and served at room temperature.

Verdict: 8.0/10 

Lobster sandwich with tarragon

I was left slightly disappointed upon the first bite. Tarragon being an aromatic culinary spice, was sorely lacking, and the mayonnaise was rich but not impressive. The pruned lobster meat chunks had a slight crunch texture and you could taste the freshness in the meat. The second let-down was the crucial white bread, which tasted slightly stiff owed to airing rather than toast. 

Verdict: 6.5/10

Tuna and poached egg sandwich

The tuna rested upon a small bed of sliced poached eggs and some olives. I was half expecting canned tuna or equivalent quality of fish to be served. To our surprise, the tuna was fresh and seared to a tender ripeness, and you could taste the prime choice. Rounding up the bite was the well toasted sandwich bread, which like the scones had a buttery glistening taste on the surface, yet soft on the inside.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Premium ham with mustard seed sandwich

What I appreciated most was the indulgence in the thick slab of premium ham layered between the sandwich. Once again, the quality of the ingredients was superior though it would be sparing to taste the mustard seeds, so expect no more than an above average tasting ham sandwich.

Verdict: 6.5/10


The Paris-Brest is largely similar to the more commonly regarded chocolate eclairs, with the exception of an icing usually glazed atop the choux pastry. Despite the menu's suggestion that this was the Paris-Brest, I was slightly disappointed with the presentation, especially being a cycling enthusiast. The pastry originated as a creation back in 1891 to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris cycling race, with its intended circular shape representative of a wheel and was a popular pastry during the race due to its energy-giving high calorific value. Expecting a circular version of the pastry, this was done so more like an eclair with the oblong shape of the choux pastry. The praline flavoured cream was light yet packed with richness at the same time, leaving you long for another bite after the first. The choux pastry was also perfectly toasted to a golden crisp, which complemented the softness of the cream wholly. Apart from the presentation expectation of an authentic Paris-Brest, I was left largely impressed, though personally I consider it faux pas if the food served did not match the description off the menu.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Macaroon ganache

Ganache is normally made from a mixture of chocolates and cream to give a desired consistency. It went very well with the vanilla flavoured macaroons. The macaroons had a slight crisp to the surface and a friable inside, crumbling easily, almost melting with each bite. The balance in textures was completed with a crunchy and slightly sweet biscuit base supporting the ganache and macaroons.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Blueberry cheese cake

There was a specially concocted blueberry jam littered on top of each blueberry fruit and further topped with either edible gold foil or chocolate chip. The cheese tasted of premium quality, with the right level of richness, flavour and smoothness. The rather fair colour of the cheesecake suggested the combination of cream with ricotta cheese in the making. A cross-sectional view revealed the balanced proportion of cheese to the biscuit base. It was almost the perfect slice of cheesecake, with an even and consistently flat surface, which was not charred nor overcooked in the oven. There was a tinge too much air present in the cheesecake, which resulted in the presence of 'holes' within the cheesecake. In addition, the layer of cheese was not sufficiently adhesive to the biscuit base and was almost like two distinct layers being stacked atop each other.

Verdict: 7.5/10


The yellow droplets were a beautiful blend of passion fruit and white chocolate cake topped with some glazed raspberry halves on a crunchy biscuit base. That being said, I found the taste of passion fruit distinctly lacking and tasted more of white chocolate, which was a shame for I believed that if prepared as described, it would have complemented the raspberry perfectly in terms of taste and flavours.

Verdict: 6.0/10

Mint and chocolate pastry

This was served instead of the classic chestnut mont-blanc and it was not directed to our attention until my discovery. The ganache carried a stronger chocolate flavour and aroma with a lesser proportion of cream. The mint cream lying atop the chocolate pastry tasted very mild and personally I felt that this dessert might have a more lasting impression on diners with a bolder flavour, perhaps starting with the mint. Also, what I could not tolerate was the serving of a broken slice of chocolate adjacent to the cake slice, carrying the name of L'ATELIER de Joel Robuchon, a Michelin 3-starred restaurant. I felt that more attention could be paid to the pastry, like how it was with the other pastries.

Verdict: 6.0/10

Petit Fours

The name Petit Fours originated from French which literally meant 'small oven'. This was owed to Petit Fours traditionally being made during the cooling process of coal-powered brick ovens in the 18th century. Owing to its expense and high burning temperature, Petit Fours were baked so as not to waste the heat generated. They were commonly eaten at the end of a meal with coffee or tea, served as part of dessert.

The flavour and taste of the cake resembled largely that of a traditional fruit cake, only without the chopped candied fruits. With a slight tinge of rum that lingered as after taste, it tasted smooth and not too greasy, almost like a classic banana cake. The final touch that left me a smile was the tiny cubes of sugar coated jellies that tasted like 'fruit chewies'. The last side was a chocolate coated almond slices, with a crunchy texture, which did not taste too extraordinary.

Verdict: 7.0/10

Blue Mountain Americano and Latte

It was my favourite blue mountain brew so it was anything but poor. Coupled with some coffee art on the latte, it was the perfect way to conclude a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Not too long ago, we visited the same restaurant but only for their cakes after lunch.

White chocolate l'exotique

This was a white chocolate cake layered with passion fruit in the middle. It was very smooth and while the taste of the white chocolate offered the intended sweetness upon the first bite, the second nibble brought our the freshness and robustness of the dessert through the passion fruit which added a bold flavour to the simple looking dessert.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Rose cake

Personally I did not quite like this, but for fans of the rose flavour, this should win them over quite easily. The aroma and fragrance of rose was the dominating factor in this cake. The underlying layer of the 'rose dust' was a very refined and smooth cream that melted in our mouths instantly. It was an 'okay' cake in my personal opinion, though if given a second chance, I would have gone for another dessert, for I felt the rose flavour was too strong, or rather metaphorically, too 'feminine' for my liking.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Original and chocolate financiers

With my other half being a huge fan of financiers, it would be a sin not to give this a try while we saw it available at the counter. The almond and butter flavours were both checked, though the latter dominated and made the pastry short of a more prevailing almond taste. Texture wise, it was perfect, a crisp surface with crusty edges and very soft on the inside. Without the stronger almond flavour in the cake, it would seem to taste more like a simple madeleine.

Verdict: 6.5/10

The restaurant would accept no reservation for the high-tea session, so tables were available on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you would like a seat at the balcony, do note that payment of orders would have to be settled before serving, as opposed to paying at the end of the meal if you were dining inside the restaurant. The ambience of the restaurant is suitable for a romantic date or for business dining. This was my second visit to the restaurant and certainly would not be my last. Especially commendable were the desserts for none was overly sweet causing one to feel satiated. Fine quality products with premium ingredients, though better attention could be paid to some of the products, it nonetheless lived up to standards expected that of a Joel Robuchon restaurant. 

Le Salon De The de Joel Robuchon
Shop 315, 3/F, The Landmark
16 Des Voeux Road Central,
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: (+852) 2166 9088

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