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Restaurant Rijks - review

By July 16, 2016 ,

I've been meaning to go here for some time and finally got round to doing so.  Rijks has been much lauded in both Dutch and International media ever since it opened, so naturally I hoped that it would live up to the hype. The essence of the restaurant is that it celebrates Dutch produce and makes the most of what is in season. They are also members of the slow food movement which is a huge plus for me. Definitely a restaurant after my own heart.

The interior of the restaurant is simple and modern in contrast with its setting in the heart of the Rijksmuseum. In the back you have the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs in action if you so wish and the front is a mix of banquettes and tables. We opted to have a glass of fizz on the terrace before heading indoors to dine, thankfully the weather wasn't typically Dutch (wet) for a change.

We went there for lunch and you have the option of a la carte, a 3 or 4 course menu as well as the 6 course Rijkstafel menu. We chose the 6 course as we wanted to get the full experience. We also opted for the wine pairing to accompany the tasting menu. They have two wine lists, one is the Dutch list which is a list of international and Dutch wines made by Dutch wine makers and the other is international wines not made by Dutch winemakers which was a lovely touch.

We began with an amuse of chargrilled baby corn simply cooked with butter, garlic and herbs. Simple and yet very tasty.

The first course was a green gazpacho with burrata, avocado and pomegranate. The gazpacho was lightly spiced and you had a wonderful combination of textures and flavours. Creamy burrata, the sweetness of the avocado and the crunch of the pomegranate working well together. So far so good.

Next up was a curried langoustine. Now langoustine has a very delicate flavour which can often get lost when combined with stronger flavours. This certainly wasn't the case here, the Thai vinaigrette only helped to accentuate the sweetness and there was a good contrast with the puffed rice which added a nice crisp texture.

The next dish was a potato gnocchi with summer peas, seaweed and pickle juice. It was a lovely play on sweet and sour. The peas were barely cooked just as they should be at this time of year and with the sourness of the pickle juice provided a lovely combination in textures and flavours. The gnocchi were cooked just right and full of flavour.

The following dish was cooked to perfection, pork knuckle cooked at a low temp with crisp crackling. This was paired with radish, ginger, mustard and dashi all working together to bring out the best in the pork. The meat was falling apart and full of flavour. You did have some good plays on flavour with salt (dashi), sweet (ginger), hot (mustard) and good crunch from the radish and ginger.

The pre dessert was a very interesting combination of creamy Texel goat cheese, sweet white almonds and peppery (yet sweet) watercress korrels. The sharpness of the cheese contrasting well with the sweet peppery watercress.

We finished with a celebration of summer with strawberries and cream. This was a combination of crisp meringue, strawberry tapioca,strawberry ice cream and lemon verbena . A lovely summery finish to a great meal.

A big thank you to the sommelier who had their work cut out for them with the flavours in the dishes,  the wine pairings were faultless. The wine with the pork course was a chilled shiraz!!!! I'd never have thought of doing that myself, but it did bring another dimension to the wine and the dish it was paired with (the pork). The dessert wine was an Italian dessert wine which was a welcome respite from the usual parade of sauternes and sickly sweet muscats. The service was impeccable too, attentive without being overbearing, and good knowledge of the produce and the wines.

All in all a really enjoyable, well paced leisurely lunch, and I'm already looking forward to my next visit!

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