Yoshi, Metropole, Monaco
LUSSO was invited to dine courtesy of Joel Robuchon at his newly-starred Michelin restaurant in Monaco. With the invite comes a little biography – surely superfluous for such a famous man? In fact, the full list of M. Robuchon’s achievements is so long that you have to sit down half way through and wonder whether this is actually a spoof. Head chef by 28. A world-beating 26 Michelin Stars. “Best Chef in the World” award. “Chef of the Century” award. “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” award (Best Craftsman in France). Credited with reinventing world cuisine post-nouvelle. It’s all true.
So with our acceptance of the invite comes one doubt since everything he served would undoubtedly be perfect, would it mean that nothing would stand out? Marilyn Monroe was said to have been humanised by a slightly wonky nose – without it, she’d have been too beautiful for the ordinary man. Would it be just too good to appreciate? We set off for Monaco.
Don’t believe what people say about Monaco being gaudy. It’s such fun. You can play guess the number of Bentleys you’ll see in an 18 hour, overnight stay (24). You can see a couple in love walking down the street and play, Third Wife or Hooker? You can wonder what you do round here if you fancy a bacon butty.
The restaurant is situated in the Metropole Hotel. For all the lack of taste in Monaco, the Metropole does alright. The rooms are Manhattan tight but they’re comfortable. The service is good. The place is immaculate. And, of course, it has a restaurant by M. Robuchon, newly awarded with a Michelin star. Even better, it’s been awarded to a sushi restaurant, Yoshi.
It’s a small place, perhaps 40 covers, mostly à deux, or if your circle of friends doesn’t extend that wide, you dine alone at a sidebar. The decor is delicately Japanese, rather than forcefully authentic.
I took some notes, but they’re mostly along the lines of “another course – the best sushi I have ever tasted.” It’s followed one line later by “another course – the best I have ever tasted since the last course.” It was all great. All perfect. Almost disappointingly so. Perhaps there is a ceiling to how good sushi can be – it’s just raw fish. Unless you’ve bred a new strain of ginger for pickling, what are you going to do? (In fact, the pickled ginger was brilliantly fresh as well. Although purists say it’s the equivalent of putting ketchup on everything.)
Finally, after a featureless plain of superlative tastiness, green tea ice-cream. First bite – perfect, again. Then, a little bit crunchier than I expected – Ah! Success. There was something less than perfect: a small chip of plastic, like the flanged edge of a container, had somehow become mixed in the green tea ice-cream. Suddenly the true perfection of the rest of the meal could be appreciated…unless of course, this was a perfect little trick by M. Robuchon? CHRIS WEST