The first Joël of French catering.
Joël Robuchon is up there with Alain Ducasse in the top five of France’s best (or, at least, best-known) chefs. His is a perhaps more sober style. His Michelin two-star Monaco base is within the Métropole Hotel and shares with it a retro-modern town-house style.
In truth, the restaurant is not unlike the brighter sort of London club – velvety armchairs, wood-panelling and drapes.
If it lacks the mighty splendour of Ducasse’s Louis XV restaurant (see elsewhere in ‘Monaco restaurants’), it is a more relaxing spot in which to eat. You’ll still want to be on best behaviour, mind.
Cooking is modern French of the finest order, with a marked preference for Mediterranean fare, and all worked through the prodigious Robuchon imagination. This doesn’t eschew simplicity – for instance, lamb cutlets with thyme – but does get everything just right.
Naturally, prices are ambitious … except at lunch. This can be had, express-style, for 29 euros. You get starter, a main course like beef julienne, and dessert, all on the same tray – but with top-class attention and surroundings. I don’t know any other Michelin two-star restaurant where you can lunch so cheaply. In Monaco, it’s simply astounding.
Being a globe-trotter, Robuchon is a star world-wide – and notably in Japan. No surprise, then, that he has now opened a Japanese restaurant – Yoshi – also at the Métropole. It’s an attractively stripped-back zen composition of bright colours, wood, a sushi bar – and another 29-euro lunch … in, of course, a Bento box. It gained its first Michelin star in 2010’s guide. Full dinner prices leap up to 120 euros.