We started with a platter of ‘small chops’. It consisted of black olive muffins with sour cream, green olives, tomato chutney, garlic bread, salted peanuts and cheese & cumin balls. This was not on the menu……Of course, excited as I was….I sought to find the mystery of the ‘Michelin’. The food looked appetising and it was well-served. I found that all the different parts, made a well-balanced whole. The cheese balls were nice but the winner by far was the muffin. It was a delight to eat. Its ying-and-yang flavours are very fleur de sel + caramel like…..the balance of sweet and salty perfected. Again, me thinks. The muffin was soft, the flavours of the olives came through and it was a pity when I was done with mine! Next, we got served some bread from a spread. What I can remember from left to right: brioche, bacon and…., wholewheat, lemon, can’t remember but the one on the right end is basil. I went for the lemon. It was served with butter and a chunky herb oil.
Because we were a large group, we made all our choices upfront. I went ahead, ‘hurried up’ (aka didn’t read the ingredients for each meal to the end) and ordered all meat dishes. The lady taking my order asked if I was sure and didn’t want to try any fish and I declared boldly ‘Yes’!
When my dried salted beef with creamed Puy-style lentils arrived, I dug into it straight away. Stopping only to admire the plating. I like it. the beef was almost ‘carpaccio’. It was quite soft and not overly salty. The lentils were cooked but not soft and mushy, holding their shape very well. To be honest, I didn’t notice the bacon or even remember it was a component of the dish. I have to say that I quite enjoyed it, with the delicious, well-dressed salad/garnish.However, I must confess that I had a serious case of ‘food envy’ when the plates of my ‘neighbours’, who went for the curried cabbage meal(on which grounds I had dismissed ordering this) arrived! I loved the ‘amuse glass’ the lobster soup was served in and the panko-crusted shrimp! I don’t know what the sauce was – I didn’t ask but there wasn’t a full plate in the room at the end of this course!
Of course, by this time, I was STUFFED. No jokes, amidst all the laughter and ribbing about your portion sizes reduce with increasing numbers of Michelin stars!
My third course was I think the most spectacular serving of the evening. At this stage anyway. I went with the guinea fowl stew with Ras el Hanout, sauerkraut (which I lovingly ate….and delighted in), mashed potato and guinea fowl nuggets. I particularly like the idea of combining different types/parts of the same meat in distinct manners but in one meal. When it arrived, in a tumbler with a skewer right through it, I thought I’d received the wrong order! But as time went on and the other plates came out, I gathered this was right. Armed with a spoon, I scooped from the bottom up. My spoon was filled with supper tender chunks of guinea fowl and veggies in a smooth, spicy sauce (not overly so) and so was my mouth. It was superb. Just think of it as a proxy for the best Shepard pie ever….only served Michelin style!. The guinea fowl nuggets were nice on their own, but even better with some of the stew and mash. Let it be know that I ate my cup clean!
Pineapple sorbet was also part of the offering, for those who didn’t want any alcohol but as I’m allergic to pineapple….hmmm, that wouldn’t have helped me either!Thankfully, I respected my self and bulging tummy and took it easy. I started with the peachy jellied square/Pate d’fruit. Soft, intensely fruity and a tad too sweet. For me. I decided to call it quits there, choosing to watch from the sidelines (if memory serves me well).
And then I decided that not trying the macs would be a bad thing. After all, these were mini macs. I didn’t really enjoy them. Maybe I’m going off macs. Not sure yet but time should tell!And that was it. I physically had no room for more. Now I have promised myself a return visit to this restaurant (amongst others), as soon as my son turns three and stops going to daycare! Just kidding. I think I’ll go back, just for a fish sampler and to see what their a la carte menu is like. I am super glad I have now joined, been officially inaugurated into the ranks of fine diners. And free too.
Lets *clink* to more nights out. This outing did meet my expectations and I was inspired by the way the food was served and styled. Simple, yet elegant. Perhaps that’s what Michelin stars are made of?????
Paul Van Waarden’s restaurant is located in the centre of old RijswijkTollensstraat 10 2282 Rijswijk, Netherlands 070 4140812 www.paulvanwaarden.nl
I would like to say a special thank you to Sarah of Maison cupcake and Sophie of Sophie’s foodiefiles for both giving me awards. I appreciate it and would like to share them with you all!Also remember the H2Ope for Haiti – an online raffle, organised by Jeanne of Cooksister with BloggerAid – Changing the Face of Famine (BA-CFF) to raise funds for Concern Worldwide’s relief effort in Haiti. The raffle ends on midnight on Sunday 28 February. There are lots of superb prizes, a list of which you will find on Jeanne’s blog. Unless stated otherwise, all prizes are available for worldwide shipping and tickets cost £6.50 (roughly $10) each. Once you have chosen the prize or prizes you want to buy tickets for, take a note of their prize codes (very important!) and click through to Justgiving’s donations page where you will find complete instructions on how to buy your tickets and specify your chosen prizes. Please read and follow the instructions carefully and if in doubt, send Jeanne an e-mail (email cooksister AT googlemail DOT com). Stay blessed, have a great weekend and see you on Sunday for some Umami rich…gnocchi