SO and I were married 5 years ago. Seems like only yesterday and at the same time as an eternity. Over time we always have managed to make our wedding date special. It is one of only two days SO needs to remember (the other is my birthday) When we married our parents presented us with a gift to go to a 3-Michelin star restaurant at our one year anniversary (de Librije). Magical and we have kept the tradition of good food on our anniversary up. In the following years we have always had dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant. Our intention was to go to another 3-starred restaurant “Oud Sluis” at our 5 year anniversary. Had it all planned with a stay in the associated B&B Ah bliss……[imagine noise of screeching record]. Mr Sergio Herman threw a spanner in our works when he announced he was going to close Oud Sluis as of 2014. Whaaaaaaat…………nononononono but yes he did.
We ran back to the drawing board and what to do next. We were so very disappointed, but needed to go forward. After ticking off many new possibilities we decided to go back to where this whole being married idea started.
It was the 30th December of 2007 7am in Kasteel Vaalsbroek near the three country point. As far into the corner of our country as one can get. I had managed to get SO there under the guise of a nice weekend away to celebrate our one year officially together. It was my christmas present to him and he loved the idea.
It was the 30th December of 2007 7am, to the hour one year after my arrival date in the Netherlands where SO had picked me up that we had breakfast brought to our room and with it was a large beautiful red rose for my loved one. He thought it was so thoughtful. He got all emotional when I handed him a love letter written on hand-scooped paper (we’d bought together) When he came to the end of the letter tears welled up as in it I asked him to marry me. He said yes and also asked to keep it to ourselves for 3 months so that he could get used to the idea. I agreed and that is one of the reasons I did not blog about it. We were married a year later.
Now all of a sudden with our schedule out of whack we needed to make a change and decided to go back to that part of the country. But because that hotel was a bit of a drive from Maastricht we decided to stay in the city this time. We selected a restaurant there that has been on several lists as should have had three stars but has two Beluga. Beluga’s Chef Hans van Wolde got fed up with trying to get that third star that he has changed his restaurant. Apparently to take it a notch down and find pleasure in cooking again. We decided to go to experience this in the area where we have fond memories. Not only because of my marriage proposal but also because other visits.
We need not have worried. Our anniversary dinner was an experience and a half. We loved it there at Beluga. We arrived relatively early and we directed to the lounge to warm up a bit. SO started with a sherry and I had the first of my alcohol free cocktails of magnificent taste. After a while we were shown the lovely dining are. Light, crisp and welcoming. Round tables and couches in a warm light brown tone and accents in a clear seablue gave a chique but playful atmosphere. The all male young crew were amazing. Well dressed but not all dressed alike but in a similar style. The exception was the cocktail man that wore red suspenders and no jacket. It felt relaxed and well sorted without being too matchy match. During the whole evening they were friendly, chatty, but not in an intrusive way and we really like the way they approached us and the meal
As choice was too hard we went for the 10-mini course meal. Sounds like a lot and it was, but not too much. What it was though was a festival of flavours and texture. We so totally enjoyed the meal. Really we think that if this is a notch down from where he was, that the third star should have been there. Let’s just say we’ve eaten in 2- starred restaurants of lesser quality.
So what did we eat; The list is as follows
- Amuse;truffle on puff pastry. Cucumber in different ways (icecream, sour and something else
- Amuse: Tomato, cheese and basilicum but different: Parmesan icecream, foam, and baked; basilicum icecream and pesto. and cherry tomato in an ingenious was. Lovely
- ‘Fruits de Mer 2014’ – oysters, cockles and coquille in different ways. With all the shells it looked more full than it was. It was ever so nice with the texture of the coquille being nicely offset against a silver pearly thing. I have no idea what it was but it tasted divine!
- Langoustine / bergamot / celery / radish / miso – This one wa brilliant. With the celery drapes in such a way that it held a cucumber sauce (tiny bits) This was one of my favourites as it truly was a carnival of flavours dancing on the tongue.
- Hamachi / crab / apple / frozen curry / yuzu – Hamachi is Japanese mackerel. It was nice and a salty bite to it.
- Four times quail / ‘red ’ vegetables – The red vegetables beetroot and I think kale The quail was so nice and soft, yet the skin so crisp. Yummie
- Turbot / roasted vegetables / curry / mandarin – Our favourite fish and the plate was so colourful with the orange from the mandarin giving it a playful feel but also a citrus but sweet note. Highly recommended.
- Seabass / kale / cranberry / oyster-mustart – A combination I would never have thought of cranberry and fish, but really these two are a match made in heaven. Seriously going to investigate it.
- Deer calf / pear / red wine / sprouts / ginger – As I had no alcohol I got a separate jus and not the red wine sauce. Such attention to detail of the customer. We were most impressed. The dear was nicely rare (I love it that way) and the sprouts were of the bitter variety. This is how sprouts should be prepared. So nice!
- Gooseliver / Munster cheese / black pudding – The cheese is a strong one and really holds its own against the liver and black pudding. It was to me the heaviest/strongest flavoured of the dishes but indulgent in that giggling way.
- Winter truffle / pine / lemongrass. Hidden it was. A layer of sugar under the lemongrass icecream hid the winter truffle Once the treasure was found the flavours blended in a desert way that only a good desert can.
- Hot chocolate / rosemary / kaki / pomegranate – The hot chocolate was a chocolate fondant with kaki icecream. The pomegranate gave its tang and it was just soo good and though the last of the official courses not the last
- Coffee/tea with nougat and mandarin cake and something else we forgot (all bite size of course).
- My cocktails: Sour apples with cucumber and coriander, nasipear with ginger and Liquorice and finally Blackberry, pineapple and basilicum All were wonderful and we thanked the cocktail man specifically as this was really very very nice for a teetotaler like me.
Well fed and truly impressed we walked back to our hotel. We slept well and have happy memories of this place. We’d recommend it to everybody. The rest of our stay – well that we put into another post as there is more.