Hop on the train to Den Dolder, it is just 13 minutes away from Utrecht central station. Then you walk along the green overgrown lane; when you pass by the beautiful houses and hear the birds sing, you’ll see de Hoefslag at the end of the path. You’ll find yourself on holiday while on this strole. Get yourself away from the busy city, have a good night out. A star restaurant, that creates expectations! But obligations as well? Don’t worry, you can leave your fancy dress etiquette book at home. De Hoefslag is just very laid back, watch our video for a good impression!
The interior is open, young and fresh. The same goes for the waiters, maître and sommelier. It stands out that these people have a passion for good food, fine wines and great hospitality. You can start the evening with a cocktail, hanging at the bar of the café — just recovering from a hectic workweek. Fancy a gin-tonic? Or a nice beer? When you’re ready to go to your table, you take a seat in the restaurant: it’s spaciously set up with a marvelous view on the terrace (keep that in mind for summer, lovely!) and the big garden.
We were welcomed with a glass of champagne and scallop crackers with squid ink. What a warm welcome! Of course we asked the chef to surprise us this evening — we were very curious! But if you’re not as adventurous don’t worry, you can also choose á la carte. And the prices are not too crazy either! Try the “experience de Hoefslag menu” for instance: a four course menu accompanied by wines, unlimited tablewater ánd coffee with friandises, you can enjoy all this for 99 euros per person. That sounds really reasonable! They also offer a lunch, the same arrangement, but for only 75 euros.
At first they served us two appetizers: different preparations of jerusalem artichoke, never knew it had so many tastes! And a taste experience of babi pangang, a vegetarian pallet of different ingredients, with the táste of the Chinese dish, very extraordinary. All dishes were accompanied by matching wines of course -all carefully chosen – that were all provided with a fun anecdote. The seabass that followed was an art piece. Rouleaus from this fish, with razor clams, sake and wasabi, poured over with a cucumber sauce. Taste explosion!
In the meantime, we were still enjoying the surroundings — what a great location. While the fireplace was crackling in front of us, they served the next course. Never had a halibut been so soft, complemented by the saltiness of oyster, freshness from grapefruit and the sweet note of fennel. This chef knows how to create taste sensations!
The next course seemed to be more robust, beef with piccalilli, pickled onion, potato and carrot. But the tastes were used so subtle, that this also was such a tasteful dish. All the ingredients are fully appreciated. And the gravy was poured onto your plate at the table.. A bit more please, more, a bit more..
Now! Cranberry. A dessert with cinnamon, beet and stranice. The young chef rasps some extra cinnamon on the plate. Especially on the pink, shimmering mousse, that turns out to be the flavour of those Fireballs from wayback. The beet makes the whole dish somehow less sweet, in turn creating the perfect closing course for the menu. You are feeling happy and satisfied, but not stuffed in the end. So you can now enjoy an espresso cocktail at the bar. What a night!
During the stroll back to Den Dolder train station, we chat about what a privilege it’s been to experience de Hoefslag for an evening. We will be back!
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Pictures Huib Dommers