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Noma ** Kopenhagen may 2010

After spending many years in Michelin starred restaurants you might start to think that you are becoming a seasoned authority. You might even become snobbish and think it’s almost impossible to amaze you. But then suddenly it happens like a bolt from blue. Well it wasn’t totally unexpected. We were visiting restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. It was as rainy as you expect Copenhagen to be.  René Redzepi is the man who brought this restaurant to the absolute summit of the world as the ambassador of the ‘New Nordic Food’ movement. This movement aims the exposure and value of Nordic food and the Nordic food culture.

The restaurant is positioned in an old warehouse. The inside looks massive with big wooden tables without linen! The bare stony walls and heavily built beams create a bit of a chill impression. But we are in Scandinavia and maybe it is appropriate here. After the overwhelming amuses we were now completely focussed on the food. The first amuse sets a good example of the surprising kitchen of Noma. Living shrimps in a preserving jar were caught a few hours ago in a fjord near Copenhagen. After a photo session and a moment of doubt we experience strange tickling feeling in our mouth and you feel the shell between your molars. Then when you stop being distracted by the weird sensation they give a very pleasant taste. A creamy, a bit sweat and crispy because of the shell. Delicious! What a start! The parade of amuses continuous with a quail egg, which is smoked on hay. A flowerpot filled with tarragon cream in which radish was ‘planted’.  Followed by a crisp with herb cream and a piece of dried chicken fat. All 7 amuses were exiting and of high quality.

We go for the 12-course menu, which eventually become 14 courses. For the first time it was no selection of wines pairing the menu, but a selection of juices that matched very well. The first course was Sea urchin powder with salty local plants and raw shrimps from Greenland. The frozen plate did not disturb the great taste of these beautiful products. It allows you to taste the purity. The shrimps are softer then you can imagine. The sea urchin powder and the local plants strengthen the rest of the dish.  Another astonishing dish is the Danish interpretation of the classical steak tartar. They use 48 days aged ox meat and used a knife to cut it in little strokes.  A soft emulsion of tarragon and local herbs accompany the meat. This course is mend to be eaten by hands. Soon you start to get comfortable with this tradition and it makes you feel a bit primitive (in a good way). There was a good balance between the tarragon and the beastly taste of the ox meat. An extraordinary steak tartar!

All plates are a lust for the eye. They are all original and so much fresh energy is send out by each dish. In most restaurants the chef de cuisine is the star of the restaurant. Here all 25 chefs are equally attributing to the restaurant by serving and explaining each dish. The traditional difference between the kitchen brigade and dining room brigade not present. On one hand it adds something when a chef brings you a plate. But we cannot help missing a maitre who looks over you wellbeing.  The visual highlight of the day was a crudités of beetroot, carrot, rutabaga and cucumber. A heavy font accompanies the vegetables.  Not only a visual highlight but also very tasty.  The main course is ox cheek with salty pear and chicory. A nice piece of meat and go’s well with the pear but the magic is gone.

Although Noma has the newest kitchen equipment, they don’t cook very much. Most dishes are raw or near raw. When all the chefs are serving the courses at the tables, it is not possible to cook as much as other restaurants with a dining room brigade. We cannot deny that we have the impression that most of the dishes were not prepared ‘a la minute’ and just had to be served. For the main course some real cooking was required and that was seen in the result. The deserts are cold and the wonderful illusion of chef Redzepi returns. The first desert is cream made of cheep milk with granite of wood sorrel. Beautiful acid tones and deep flavours give it complexity. With the last two deserts with carrot and apple they finish with style.

It is four a clock and the brigade kindly us to finish our visit in another room. The brigade wants to prepare for the diner.  A bit remarkable request considering that we flew al the way to Copenhagen that morning. We arrived as soon as possible (12.00 hours) and are not able to finish our lunch in the restaurant. It seems that there is no endless hospitality.

In conclusion we can say that Noma is a special restaurant, which makes experienced eaters feel like a child with many visual highlights and surprising flavours. El Bulli gives the same experience, but feels more professional and ‘mature’. Maybe it is because they already have 30 years of experience. Noma gives the impression that they are not yet fully grown.

Quail egg smoked on hay.

Radish with tarrengo cream

Dried chicken fat with herbes

Fish though dough

Fresh raw shrimps with sea urchin and local salty herbs

dried slices of scallops with grain

Ox steak tartare with herbes and tarragon cream

Langoustine on a rock with oyster and sea weed powder.

Oyster with local plants/herbs

king crab

Crudités of beetroot, carrot, rutabaga and cucumber with strong fond.

Sheep cheese desert

Creamy carrot ice

Packing of the caramels

Caramels

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When you look at the part of the Netherlands, where the finest ingredients come from, Zealand wins with flying colours.  It is a sparsely populated province, which is characterized by peace and quiet. Important characteristic features are salt marsh, water, polders, coves, beaches and dunes. They form an inexhaustible source of food.  Think of Oosterschelde lobster, shrimp, eels, razor blades, oysters, mussels and cuttlefish.  On land you can find asparagus, lamb, apples and raspberries.  This abundance of products has contributed to the fact that two of the best restaurants in Netherlands can be found here.  Close to the Belgian coast Oud Sluis, the famous estate of Sergio Herman.  Unfortunately it is a penalty to drive from Amsterdam to Sluis by car. It is so isolated that it requires a very long journey. And as if the distance is not enough, work is always in progress along the road.  At one point we decided on a try our luck at Inter Scaldes, since it saves us more than an hour drive.  This restaurant has long been known beyond national borders.  In the Netherlands, Inter Scaldes is a ‘dark horse’, and we were not really looking forward to eat there. The Belgian, French and Germans had, however, have seen it more clearly. It’s a very good restaurant with the corresponding class. The restaurant is part of a manor with beautiful, attractive rooms. The English garden is of great beauty, which is especially noticeable on a beautiful sunny day.  The owners of this beautiful estate are chef Jannis Brevet and his wife Claudia. The first experience in Inter Scaldes was far from a punishment; it was on of the best diners we had in the Netherlands.  From now on, no more prejudice. We have to see every restaurant for our selves. Today is sixth time we eat in Inter Scaldes our sins and have been already forgotten.

Tonight is a dinner planned. Due to the excellent weather conditions we decide to make a nice walk along the Oosterschelde. A walk in the beautiful nature with its smell of the sea stimulated our taste buds.

After the appetisers presented on spoons the diner continuous with a royal of egg with smoked eel and cauliflower. It has a pleasant rich flavour and the synthesis with the eel from the Eastern Scheldt is perfect. The first dish of the evening is a canard Beijing.  A layer of Peking duck liver flavoured custard hidden beneath the layer or popcorn foam. On the side a brioche and a spoon full of mashed figs is served. It’s a light and refined liver, but remains strong characteristic taste of duck (lucky/happy) feet. The foam popcorn complimented the duck well.  Filled with fig compote spoon must be combined with duck liver mousse.  The beautiful acids (also sweet) of the fig compote give the course an extra depth and complexity. We experience it as a female-friendly foie gras course, since most of them are very filling. The subsequent dish consists of crab with laurel, white tomato cream, rice vinegar, parsley and drops of ink from sepia. Except that this is a visually beautiful dish it stimulates the mind as well.  It is a modern interpretation of classic Crab mousse with tomatoes. No sophisticated, complex flavours on your plate, but a superb ‘one-dimensional’ taste. The combination of the salty and rich crabmeat with the sweetness of the tomatoes, crunchy and earthy taste of the laurel rice vinegar is delightful. De second surprise of the evening petoncles from St Malo, marinated with curry and an onion cream.  The petoncles melted on the tongue and had a nice salty flavour.  The marinade of onions and curry cream gave the refined taste of the petoncles a boost to make it a very tasty dish. It is unfortunate that petoncles are rarely found in restaurants. We continue with lemon sole with spring turnip mash, burned mustard, kombu sauce and champonzu. It is an optimal preparation for a fish with modest culinary value. It is a pleasant dish to eat but unfortunately not the same as the other creations. The next two dishes form the climax of the evening. First, a simple-looking dish, but with deadly precision prepared large langoustine (from Norway), white chocolate mousse and smoked over which is poured melted butter. The langoustine, which was superbly prepared, was impressive.  The cream of white chocolate and the smoky flavour of the melted butter gave the langoustine more complexity. This time it’s earthy flavours that compliment the langoustine instead of frequently used acidity. But probably the biggest highlight was the simplest dish of the evening; asparagus, black truffle and a mousse of champagne. The asparagus naturally derive from Zeeland and are therefore superb quality. They are so softy prepared that they melt on the tongue. The black truffle is no stranger to us.  For their signature dish, scallops with black truffles and cauliflower, the same truffles are being used. Only this time the truffle is ground into a strong paste-like substance.  It is a heavy and powerful plate, but the champagne mousseline brings a little acidity to the dish, which is quite nice. There is a good balance between the three elements.  The main course is lamb with Parmesan cheese and Pumpkin mash. Not bad, but personally we would have preferred a nice piece of fish. The high level of previous courses is not met. For desert three preparations of strawberries.  The combination of strawberries and cumin is very convincing.  After the meal we still receive an endless quantity of mignardises. It is a privilege to stay the night in one of the beautiful hotel rooms at Inter Scaldes.

The style of cooking of chef cook Jannis Brevet is a very refined. Tastes are often subtle but very tasty. Therefore it is possible to taste all the facets of a dish. As one of the few restaurants in the Netherlands, they are product-driven. Only the best products, and the combinations will always be added to let the main product to excel.  Hostess Claudia Brevet is a highly skilled woman who does not miss any detail (even remembers all her customers). It allows anyone with a good feeling going home. For many years there are rumours that Inter Scaldes is nomination is for third star. After six visits, we can conclude that this would not be inappropriate.

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Biological duck liver with beetroot jelly and olive crisp

Rillette of whitefish with curry crisp.

pear foam with nuts and raisins

Ginger snaps of poppyseed and sesame

Slowly cooked egg with cauliflower and smoked eel

Peking duck cream with popcorn cream, cacao, a warm brioche and fig

North sea crab with laurel, white tomato cream, rice vinegar and parsley

Petoncles with marinated vegetables and union cream

Lemon sole with spring turnip mash, burned mustard, Kombu sauce and champonzu

Langoustine in smoked butter with white chocolate, mirin, parsnip, radish and lavas.

Asperge with black truffle and champagne mousseline.

Lamsback with parmesan cheese, fenugreek, pumpkin mash and caper

Strawberry desert with drained yogurt nutmeg ice, palm sugar, comino soup, brown rum, blanc manger rhubarb jelly and yogurt crisp

This was a visit to El bulli when in the time it was still world’s number one restaurant. We are not very satisfied about the image quality, but it gives an impression about the experience. Since then we started to pay more attention to our photography and we still try to improve.

It’s probably not necessary to introduce this restaurant or tell you about the food lab and the discrepancy between reservation requests as compared with the capacity.

From Barcelona it is an approximate two hour trip to El Bulli by car. It got a bit tensed because the of busy traffic. We were stuck for about an hour and we really did not want to miss this experience. Out of Barcelona we can speed up to Roses. From that moment we beat the navigation prediction time easily.

The last part of the ride was up hill on a very little road. The view over the Cala Montjoj bay is magnificent. Only the drive was worth while. The most beautiful located restaurant you can imagine. Fortunately we are still in time.

We have the honnour to see the kitchen and meet Ferran Adria. The number of personell in the kitchen is impressive. Adria told us that at the time 42 people were working.

An authentic and casual interior like a living room which you don’t expect in a three star restaurant.

They  try make art of everything they serve us, even the orange juice. Very fresh and yet such a powerful orange taste. With the experience of this juice, all other orange juices are a bit disappointing. Every time we order orange juice we hope it looks like this, but it certainly does not.

The direr consists of about 25 small courses. The tastes are so daring and powerfull that some of the dishes get a 10+ rating, while other dishes are more difficult to appreciate. It is more about the spectacular taste explosions and see what is possible with food. One of the most rememberable diners, but certainly not the best meal ever. It starts with plenty explosive amuses. The first photo is the beet meringue with yogurt.

In the front tomato and basilic/mozzarella kookies. A new interpretation of classic caprese salad. The most strange amuse ever was a fried rabbit ear with Provençal herbs. It tasted much better than we expected. If you look carefully on the top you can see the spherical olives. They explode in your mouth and release a overwhelming pleasant olive taste. A great amuse!
The first dish is two different cocos flavored marshmallow like dish with a spongy consistency. It was a pleasant course but not spectacular yet. They pay much attention to the composition and the plates it is served on.
Next is sesame sponge cake with miso. Splendid and tasty combination.
Lyo cream was not so spectacular.
The carbonara sauce on a spoon. A strong good carbonara taste.
One of the highlights of the evening is the flowers in eatable paper. It was presented in a sort of a towel which was unfolded at your table. The paper had a cotton candy structure and tasted sweet as well. It combined perfectly with the more sour tasting flowers. For us the best experience with eatable flowers ever. Great and original course.
Horchata truffle, a beautifully  designed dish with white truffle cream on one side, tiger nut oil on the other side and a tiger nut in the middle. The ingredients combine superbly well.

When you get about 25 dishes it’s possible to forget one….

Razorclams and Laurencia. You can really taste the ocean in this one. A refined preparation of clam on the right with salty seaweed and seaweed jelly on the left.

Giant kidney bean with Joselito’s Iberian pork fat and blackened garlics. You have to eat the giant bean together with a blackened garlic. A strange but tasty combination that is hard to describe. This was one of the best dishes of the evening. A typical example of one of the 10 + dishes we had. At first it did not look so appealing but the taste is fantastic.

Tangerine flower and pumkin oil. Another highlight of the evening

Almond jelly with a almond cocktail. You have to eat a jelly and take a sip of the cocktail. The exiting flavors that come out are again not easy to put in words.

A salad of beans and peas with a turnip flower and creme was okay.

Turnip cous cous with sea urchin was a less successful combination.

Another very great and original dish. All asparagus on this plate have had a different preparation and topping. In the middle lay some nitrogen prepared egg yolk particles. One asparagus was a bit to hard to our taste, but it remains one of the favorite dishes.

On A dish you expect to have at El Bulli. Two types of peas. On the right fresh original peas and on the left artificial peas, which are infused with ham. In between there is pata negra. Adria Ferran wanted to prove that its possible to create better tasting artificial version compared with the original product. Great to see what is possible with cooking. We enjoyed this plate very much. You can watch a video on you tube to see how it is made.

Sea anemone with oyster and lemon. Special to taste sea anemone for the first time. But this dish was so bitter. We could not appreciate the taste of it.

Gnocchi of Polenta with Coffee and Safran Yuba

A abalone with sea snail, sea weed,  mushroom and iberico porc, a very complex but enjoyable course.

Game canape with pigeon, goose liver and cacao.

Hare jus with truffles and apple jelly.

These gorgonzola truffles also explode in your mouth

Honey peach particles created with nitrogen and marzipan. A fantastic combination of tastes.

Bubble

After eight

Petit fours

We still have a go to Barcalona by  again. No traffic this time but enough time to discuss our very memorable evening at El Bulli. It felt a bit unrealistic because we believed it was almost impossible to go there. If we get the chance we will go back. It is very much worth the trip to Cala Montjoj bay. This restaurant is more comparable with a night in theater than a relaxed, stable (romantic) dining experience.

Amuses.

Amuse.  Tomato caramalized and lemon icecream. Very tasty.

Bouillon of langoustines. Excellent concentrated taste of langoustines. Very simple but delicious.

Goose liver and Calvado’s. Good quality of goose liver. But this dish was kind of old fashioned.

 

North sea crab, apple, cucumber and radish. Good but I have seen this kind of preparation in many other restaurants.

Tartare of scallops and smoked eel, citrus and chicory. Good but the smoked eel was overpowering the dish too much. It was hard to taste one of the other elements.

Seabass, asparagus, Riesling sauce and lamsoren. This was an excellent dish. Great quality and preparation of the Seabass. And in combination with an intense Riesling sauce and asparagus made this dish wunderfull.

Lasagne of lobster. This was a nice dish. Good structure of lobster and intense lobster sauce.

Sole, gooseliver and morielles. The sole was overpowered by the melted foie gras.

 

This was by far the best dish of the meal. A true 2 star dish. It is as simple as it looks like. Spareribs, melon and gooseliver. Intelligent combination and it worked perfectly!

Pigeon, rosemary and kohlrabi. Good preparation of the pigeon and the rosemary gave more depth to this dish.

Tosti on a stick.

Cheeseboard.

My cheese selection.

Strawberries and cream. Nice!

Vanilla citrus souffle. 

Espresso, almond and mocca. Nice!

It was a nice meal but definately not of two star standard. if you’re looking to product quality only the quality of the seabass was impressive and the gooseliver good. The combinations of ingredients is a little bit boring. Most of the combinations I saw many times at other restaurants and most of the time better. The only exception was the sparerib dish. It was a clever combination and it tasted fantastic. The location of the restaurant is wonderfull and I  come back when I can eat outside at the terrace.

Ledbury ** London March 2010

The Ledbury is according to a good friend one of the finest restaurants in London.  The picture above is  lamb shoulder, Jerusalem artichoke (as chip and crushed) with winter savoury milk. A wondefull way to start the dinner.

Tuna with bonito flakes and a yuzu cream

Ceviche of Hand Dived Scallops with Seaweed and Herb Oil, Kohlrabi amd Frozen Horseradish. A fantastic dish. Great quality of the scallops and in combination with the frozen horseradish made it delicious.

Celeriac spaghetti were served with smoked bone marrow and mustard (from Orleans). Again a delicious dish. It reminds me of the celeriac dish I had at L’Arperge.

Pork belly and morels. Excellent preparation of the pork. In most restaurants is pork slightly overcooked but here it was just perfect.

Venison, cooked on the bone, it is set on hay, which is then burned. This gives the Sika deer rack another dimension and even more complexity in terms of flavour. The texture was brilliant too, as it was incredibly tender, and juicy. The accompanying elements worked beautifully with it, and complemented it perfectly. Arguably the best meat I ever tasted in my life.

Olive oil panna cotta, served with white chocolate granita, mango sorbet and candied black olives. Very good.

Rhubarb was served with Pepper sorbet and a few bits and pieces. 

C

Custard tarte.

Banana’s. Good but it this point I was to full ro enjoy this dish.

One of the best meals of 2010 for me. Every single dish was delicious, original and authentical. A strong 2 star level and in the future maybe even 3 star. I would definately going back when I will be in London.

The owner of Ivy was three years sous chef of The Fat Duck. Now he has his own restaurant in cosmopolitan Rotterdam.

Amuse 1

 

Amuse 2

Amuse 3 Goat cheese macaron

Amuse 4 Cornet picalilly

Oyster, almond and tarragon. Great start of the meal. 

Scallop, Oosterschelde lobster, white chocolate and seaweed. 

Seabass and toffee of pumpkin. This was a three star dish. Absolutely amazing!Geat piece of bass with a crunchy crust with toffee of pumpkin. The pumpin was slowly cooked for hours and at the end it caramelized. It had a great powerfull flavour. Complemented with small toast of jamon Iberico.

This was another winner. Asparagus with melted foie gras and small pieces of crunchy potatoes. Simple but delicious.

Lardo and slowly cooked pig. The dish was ok. Too many elements made it a confusing dish.

Nitro coctail. Great entertainment. You get lots of new energy because it was so fresh and spectaculair to see. Nice interception.

Vongole and toast with jamon iberico. Good but nothing special.

The other highlight of the meal. Trufle macaroni with egg yolk, toast with Peccorino cheese. Again a three star dish. Very simple but it tasted heavenly! Only downside are again too many ingredients. What does eatable gold adds to a dish?

Lamb with orange and onions. Great dish

Dessert 1

Dessert 2 Popcorn, cream of pistache, chicken. Strange combination but it tasted good.

Coffee and chocolate. Good.

It was an intresting meals with 2 absolute highlights ( seabass and truffle macaroni) and 2 very good ones ( oyster and asparagus). It was my first visit to this place. The chef showed great skills and intellect.

Le Gavroche is situated in a basement of an unremarkable  building. There are no windows, so you can’t see whether it’s day or night. The paintings on the wall are made by Picasso, Dali and Miro. Once they where frequent visitors of this place. If they had no money they where able to pay with paintings. It gives this restaurant a magical touch.

Whipped cream cheese quenelle with herbs served on toast and tart with celery remoulade. 

Smoked eel with carrot salad.

  Tartine of calve’s head with a herb salad. The richly flavoured calve’s head was almost melting and in combination with the crunchy toast made this dish deliciousl. The salad gave the whole thing the fresh note. 

Langoustine and snail gratin. Simple, featuring a spinach puree , a large snail and some small langoustine tails, this dish is as classical as it gets nowadays. Again a wonderfull piece of classical cooking. 

 Artichaut et foie gras “Lucullus”. Another classic, this dish was a textbook rendition of one of the great French dishes. The artichoke was filled with a slice of foie gras, some truffles and hen wrapped in chicken mousse, which was also studded with truffles. The whole thing was sauced with a truffle jus, and then one was in heaven. Texturally, taste-wise and visually, this was my favorite dish of the meal. 

Bresse pigeon with a nut crust, and date puree. 

Souffle Suissesse. The famouse cheese souffle cooked on double cream. This was very creamy and rich but I loved it. Very special.

l’assiette du chef. A collection of mignardises.

Omelette soufflé Rothschild. This was a very airy and light souffle with great taste. As I’m a souffle addict I loved this old fashioned souffle.

I didn’t expect much of Le Gavroche but I loved the place. let’s hope that this kind of cuisine will survive. For me the level of cooking is close to the three star standard.

After two times in the summer restaurant we can now enjoy another beautiful part of this restaurant. This is quite a large contrast with l’ami Louis. It is a very overwhelming and luxurious ‘royal’ inside with many crystal chandeliers. For a Monday lunch over 30 guests is probably not bad. We deside to taste the seasonal menu of 85 Euro’s.

The amuses were overall very good. A cream made of white asperges and green pie mouse in the middle was pleasant. The lolly with foie gras with the sweat taste cotton candy wrapped around was a good combination. The amount of foie gras was enough to recognize the excellent quality. Next to the lolly there was a amuse called ‘pizza’, two pieces of very thin puff pastry full of italian herbes with a bit of sauce in between. A fantastic powerful pizza taste (more than most pizza’s). A guacamole jelly with a bit of mint was okay.

What I appreciate a lot in le bristol is the bread. You can choose between many very fresh and delicious pieces of bread. The butter served with it is of very good quality.

The next amuse is a mouse of herring with union, beetroot and croutons and a beetroot jelly under it. Not my fouvorite dish, but my aversion against herring could be the main reason. Although sometimes even a course with products your not font of can be surprisingly tasty in a three star restaurant.

The starter is the baba cake. This is a perfect dish. A layer of french cheese and whipcream with white wine on top. In the middle lays a piece of baba cake, hen and pig. The hen was infused with pine tree leaves and covered with truffle and bacon. Al ingredients combine very well and can only think of many superlatives for this course.

I was happy to see a main course with duck. Canard orange from bristol is a superb main course. This time it is Canard with szechuan pepper, pine apple and candied fruit. It was almost as good as canard orange. The quality and taste of the wild duck is excellent. There are pistache crumbs on top. The candied fruit comprise of prunes, fig, apricot. You can also taste lemon, coriander and orange zest.

The selection of cheese is impressive and derives from Bernard Anthony. I choose the mimolette, comté and salers. They are very generous with the portions.

It continues with a Cocos meringue on top of cocos ice, rum-jelly and mint.

The next desert is a piece of art. A beautiful plate with a caramel crust on top, and a caramel antenna on top with some gold foil. Under lies safran creme and hazels nuts, chantilly cream, orange ice and parts of the orange.

After tasting macarons from Ladurée you think it will never be better. But the next day in Le Bristol this appeared to be a idea of short duration. The caramel macarons are even better. They have a soft caramel filling.  They are accompanied by pleasant tasting tea jelly’s on a spoon.

We are completely satisfied and have no space left for friandices. But they prepare some boxes for us instead.

Eric Frechon gave al the guests a hand and we are invited to see the kitchen.

The kitchen is clean and modern. In the middle stands a cubicle where Eric Frechon puzzles out his new recipes. Some african women were cooking(chicken) in the kitchen to make food for an african embassy who visited Le Bristol (tree star restaurant not good enough??)

Le Bristol has a great lunch for only 85 euro’s. They try to spoil you as much as possible. There is so many personel and the portions are so generous. I doubt if they make any profit on this lunch. The visit of Eric and the possibility to see the kitchen make this experience complete.

L’ami Louis has been recommended frequently on foodblogs. Therefore they leave us no other choice then to see for our selves. We have a reservation at 22.00 hours because it was the first option. In Paris this seems quite normal, since some other customers arrive even an hour later.

The inside is a bit antique with a nice old stove in the middle of the restaurant.  The tables are close to one another, which makes it cosy and easy to share your experience with other guests. The personnel who are very casual contribute to a relaxed atmosphere. Since L’ Astrance I haven’t seen such informal laughing and joking waiters. They certainly enjoy their work.

As the starter we had the foie gras des landes. When ‘Foie gras a la mode des landes’ is written on the front window you cannot ignore this. Several blogs warned us about the size, so we decided to share. Thanks for the advice. Even a half portion was a mighty starter. The texture was beautiful. Around the foie there was fat as well as inside the liver (were the vessels were before). This fat gave a pleasant lighter taste to the whole. One of the best Foie gras we ever tasted.

We planned to have a desert, but after the starter we knew two dishes is probably enough.

The second dish was the roasted chicken.  They show us the chicken before serving it. The perfect brown crust makes us very exiting.  First the breast is served followed by the legs. A delicious concentrated jus from the chicken was poured over the dish. On the side a plate with beautifully piled up thin crispy fried fries were served. We cannot recall to have eaten a better roasted chicken before.

Compared with other restaurant two dishes and wine for 209 Euros’ is quite expensive for a restaurant with no Michelin stars. For about the same price you can have a fantastic lunch in a tree star restaurant were they keep surprise u with amuses, extra dishes and friandises. On the other it was a very pleasant/romantic experience. Different from other restaurants in Paris. We tasted 2 of the best dishes with chicken and foie gras ever. We certainly don’t regret this visit.

Seagrill ** Brussel April 2010

Amuse 1. Chicken liver, smoked eel and apple

Amuse 2. Flan of asparagus

Amuse 3. Pasta filled met goat cheese and truffle.

This was the first course and when I saw it I wasn’t impressed. But it was a very impressive dish. What you see is sashimi of scallops, fried gooseliver, different kinds of citrus, sweet crunchy cilinders and the absolute star of this composition was the sauce. The complexe sauce was thick, like honey and tasted like soy but stronger and sweeter.  I think this combination didn’t worked without this thick sauce. Every bite was different, some where sweet and the other one sour. It was strange to experience different kind of tastings just inside one dish. Also the quality of the scallops was outstanding. Excellent.

This was the star of the meal and one of the best dishes of 2010 for me. The combination was very simple: 2 oysters from the Oosterschelde (00000), Beluga caviar and a foamy mayonaise (like the  famous lagoustine dish of Ledoyen) of potatoes. It  was heavenly, even at this moment of writing I can still taste it in my mouth. The quality of the oyster and caviar where top notch and the combination worked so well with the earthy tone of the potatoes. Brilliant, a strong three star dish.

Another jewel. Two langoustines from Norway, squid, mussels, blood sausage and mandarin. The langoustines where of the best quality and preparation perfect! The texture was firm but stil a litlle bit raw from the inside like the way it should be (in most of the restaurants fish or crustaces are slightly overcooked). Like the scallop course you where able to experience at every bite another taste because of mussel, fried squid, mandarin and sausage. Another winner.

Steak tartare of  Bluefin tuna with home made fries and salad. The quality of tuna was outstanding. They prepared it at our table. Very good and especially fun to eat fries with your fingers in a two star restaurant.

Two thick pieces of Dover sole. Morilles, morille bearnaise and peas. The quality of the sole was brilliant. Two large tick and firm pieces (it’s hard to see on the picture) with an incredible taste. This must have been wild caught and very mature sole(s). The taste was sophisticated and subtle but still really tasty. The bearnaise was not overpowering and in service of the outstanding sole. Perhaps the best quality sole I ever experienced in a restaurant. Not in my life because I’m in the fish business so it’s quite ordinairy for me to eat it at my home when I get some top quality sole. The sole from the Northsea is maybe even better quality than the Dover one.

Amuse

Trolley with fresh fruit and diffentent kinds of ice cream

Trolley with patisserie.

I forgot what I ordered but I can assure you that it was delicous.

I didn’t expect much of Seagrill and I left totally confused by this flawless meal. This is one of the few, pure ingredient driven restaurants I came across. The combinations are great and intellectual but it was only in service of the great quality of the seafood. It was definately food wise a three star experience. The service and ambiance where poor and staff had no interest in doing their very best.