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Steakhouse Terroir Leiden - Review

By June 17, 2016 ,

For those of you who read the blog you will have noticed by now that I’m a consummate carnivore, for those of you reading it for the first time, well you know now! 

**Update January 2019, I've be coming here on and off since this last review. Sadly the standards that were set at the beginning have slipped and the service and food are not what it once was. Probably down to the original chef and many of the waiting staff leaving in the past year. It is a shame as it had a lot of potential, but recent visits have not been as impressive and I doubt I will be coming back.

Steakhouse Terroir was brought to my attention by a friend who happened to mention that they had marrowbone on their menu, so naturally my interest was picqued. Terroir has only been open four months now and is the brainchild of chef Merlijn van der Krogt, formerly of Kasteel Woerden and sommelier Justus Brasem formerly of Oud Sluis and The Jane. The main focus of the restaurant is meat, meat and more meat.

I have to admit I was a tad wary of going, simply because steak (sorry Dutch readers) in many restaurants (not all)  here tends to be imported and not aged.  It’s also because Hawksmoor in London has spoilt steak anywhere else for me because of their high quality cooking and attention to detail at source. Having a big green egg and sous vide at home doesn’t help either.  So, yes, I’m a steak snob!

The restaurant is situated in North Leiden on the appropriately named Slachthuislaan 31 (the name refers to the fact there was once a slaughterhouse on the street). The décor is simple, yet elegant, a light open space, ironically it reminds me of Hawksmoor Spitalfields.

They have a well-structured drinks menu with cocktails, beers and spirits, one of the gins is Sacred gin which is a favourite of mine and they have a butchers gin with a meaty flavour. There’s  a good selection of wines where the prices will appeal to all pockets. I did notice there were quite a few Riojas on the list, I’m not complaining, it’s one of my favourite wines.  We started with a glass of fizz from Roger Manceau and I picked the 2007, Vino Ardanza reserve to accompany the dishes. The menu only has one cognac, it would be nice to see more.

The starter menu is very heavy on the offal side which I was very happy to see as it doesn’t really feature in a big way on menus in the Netherlands. They also had eel which again, you don’t see very often. The main courses are divided up into varying sections for meat, steaks (which are sold by weight), good to see lesser known cuts such as bavette and longhaas sitting next to rib eye and entrecote. They also had dishes such as ribs, poussin, pulled pork, burger and confit duck. There’s a good selection of seasonal side dishes and naturally fries!

Naturally I asked about the steaks, so it was a pleasant surprise when I enquired where the beef was from and how long had it been aged that the waiter could quite happily tell me about the provenance (I normally get a blank look followed by, "I'll ask the chef"). Thankfully the meat wasn’t all imported and was aged longer than the usual 14 days (which, sorry, is barely aged in my book at all). The rib eye was aged for at least 7 weeks and had the most awesome marbling on it from what I could see in their meat cabinet.

We kicked off the meal with marrowbone and onions, crispy sweetbreads and steak terroir (tartare). I also had to resist the urge from also ordering the blood sausage and tongue and also the eel (next time!). All the dishes were cooked to perfection, in the case of the tartare (not cooked naturally) it was well seasoned and good to see that they had sliced the meat into cubes as opposed to mincing it which often ruins the texture. Tt was served with a raw egg yolk on top, which I always love. The sweetbreads were juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside as they should be and accompanied by a mushroom sauce which had a good depth of flavour. The marrowbone was served with crispy bread and sweet onions which was a nice contrast in texture.

Next came the main courses, my other half had opted for entrecote which was seared nicely (they cook on open charcoal grill which adds some good flavour) and seasoned well. Though oddly it was only seared on one side. It was a little on the thin side, which was probably down to the fact they had quite a long piece of sirloin (which I noticed in the meat cabinet), so even with 200g it will end up on the thin side. Still, it tasted good and was served with a very well made béarnaise sauce (so well made, I was told to back off from eating it all). My other half had also ordered fries which were nice and crisp.

 I went for the confit duck (only reason being that I knew my other half would order steak and I’d get to try some anyway) which was well seasoned and cooked. The meat of the duck was falling apart as it should be, I didn’t even need a knife to cut it. The only quibble I had was that the skin could have been that little bit crispier. It was served with nicely roasted potatoes and a roast onion stuffed with cheese and bacon which was divine.

Sadly we didn’t have any room for dessert or cheese course as the portions were generous in previous courses. I did notice that they had Keens cheddar and Stichelton amongst others on their cheese menu.

All through the evening the service was good and attentive. I liked the fact we got a flask of tap water when we arrived and no faffing with decisions on still or sparkling. They also have a bring your own bottle of wine for 5 euro corkage on Wednesday’s which is a nice touch.

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