We liked it here. We liked the stripped back minimalist room. We liked the efficient and friendly service. And, importantly when you’re spending a couple of hours having dinner, we liked the comfy chairs.
We also liked the menu. Now, it’s fair to say that tasting menus are not our preferred way of eating these days but, sometimes, you just have to go with it for the experience. And we went with it because internet research suggested that this was one of “the” places to go for “Modern Dutch” food. The menu is available in three, five or the full seven courses. That’ll be the seven, of course. They change the menu monthly so it retains seasonality and it’s full of dishes using ingredients that you’d hope to find across restaurants in North European countries at this time of year.
There were a few snacks to start. A carrot cream was almost sweet enough to have been a dessert and it seemed as though the sweetness was just coming from the carrot, rather than with any enhancement. And a single bite lamb croquette. But perhaps the nicest was a dish of sharply pickled vegetables – onion, courgette and cauliflower. Herrings provided the first of the seven proper courses, cured with beetroot and served cold with a lovely horseradish cream. Classic combinations of ingredients which you just know are going to work. There was then a potato mousseline, with slow cooked egg yolk and a sharp goats curd. Perhaps our least enjoyed dish of the evening.
Langoustine was mixed with salty bone marrow and presented in the bone, with crisp Little Gem, a thin crouton and a lemony dressing. Good combo of flavour and texture here. Mackerel divided us. One of us loved it, the other not at all keen. It had been cooked sous vide, so no crispy skin and, again, served cold. There’s more pickled veg – crisp celery, cucumber, turnip and chanterelles. They contrast well with the very soft fish.
Pork belly was lovely and perfectly partnered with lentils. There’s a little cabbage, the sharp flavours of piccalilli and a mustard gravy. All things that are traditional accompaniments to pork but given something of a “fine dining” spin (although I really do hate that phrase).
Onto the first of two desserts which, with bang-on seasonality, paired strawberries with watermelon, the sweetness being cut by a dab or two of goat yoghurt, with shards of thin meringue for a texture contrast.
The final dessert was excellent – thin slices of apple, compressed over a 24 hour period so they softened and then served as a multi-layered slice. There’s cinnamon and citrus in there as well and a rum & raisin ice cream.
All in all, a really good meal which retained our interest and enjoyment all the way through.