Spoiler: The best meal of my life.
Last Wednesday, I woke up like any other work day, switched on my laptop and went downstairs to make a cup of tea. Except that there was a HUGE-fuck-off-beautiful bunch of flowers waiting for me, along with a note telling me to be ready to go out at 6.45pm. Oh, and that it was our 5 month anniversary! (A nice joke from The Dutchie as 5 is my lucky number and every time he tries to surprise me it somehow gets ruined… so he knew I wouldn’t be expecting this one!! I mean, what weirdos celebrate their 5 month wedding anniversary!?)
I was racking my brains all day, but never in a million years did I expect that we were off to a Michelin starred restaurant!
Tante Koosje is in Loenen aan de Vecht, just 15km from Hilversum. It’s had a Michelin star since 2006 (earned by former Head chef Sidney Heinze) Roland Veldhuijzen now heads up the kitchen… and has managed to retain the star ever since.
A few years ago, neither of us could’ve given a toss about whether a place had a Michelin star or not, but 25 series of Masterchef later (Amateur, Professionals and if we’re desperate… Celebrity) we’re now hooked on all things culinary! Our repertoires have increased tenfold and we now scour Trip Advisor / Iens / Couverts before eating out. I wouldn’t go so far as saying we’re foodies (uhhhh, unhealthy obsession with KFC hot wings!) but we’ve certainly come a long way!
The restaurant is set slap bang in the middle of this historic town and the building itself is picturesque! It actually a protected rijksmonument (national heritage site) and the name comes from it’s former inhabitant, Koosje Edema. It was known as “Het huis van Tante Koosje” (The House of Auntie Koosje) so this was later adopted as the restaurant’s name.
When you walk in the door the first thing you’re presented with is the (immaculately clean) open kitchen and smiling faces of the waiting staff. They are genuinely passionate about the products they are presenting you with and it really shows!
We had the six course menu along with three amuses AND wine paired to match each dish. It was particularly interesting to hear about the wines: you get a little explanation of where each one is from along with its distinctive characteristics. Dinner with a mini wine course rolled in! 😉
I guess I probably shouldn’t say this… but I’m gonna: six courses is a LOT of food. If you’re going to go the whole hog, either wear trousers with a
bit LOT of room (I’m picturing Joey from Friends right now) or do the sensible thing and go for four/five courses instead! Here’s the full menu. (In addition to the five courses listed, we also had a lobster bisque!)
To kick the whole thing off we had a glass of sparkling rose and two amuses. L-E-K-K-E-R!
Don’t worry, I’m not going to post a photo of everything because a) it’ll make you reeeeeeally hungry and b) due to romantic lighting and copious amounts of wine, some of the photos seriously do not do justice to the beautiful food we ate. I’m clearly not going to make a career of food photography! So here are just a few snaps to give you a flavour for this awesome restaurant…
The starter was Tartare of King Crab, thinly-sliced pickled scallops, herring roe, Yuzu salt and a sauce of fennel and apple. The little round egg looking things deceptively appear to be potatoes dusted with green powder, but they’re actually hollow, deep-fried wontons (we asked the waiter!) Light, crispy and delicious! And a big surprise when you take a bite! This course was made extra special by the chef himself bringing the starter to our table, a really nice touch!
The fish course was Brill fillet with spinach puree, hand-rolled couscous and cream of smoked eel (the foamy stuff). I normally hate couscous but this stuff was delicious. Whoever made it clearly has magic hands! As you’d expect from a Michelin star restaurant, the fish was cooked to absolute perfection.
The main course just so happened to be cooked by a friend of ours… this is the main reason why the husband chose this particular restaurant, so that we could see our talented friend at work… and boy did he deliver!
He was in charge of the Roast Loin of Beef, hachée (stewed beef), Beluga lentils, Chioggia beetroot and a jus of Cabernet Sauvignon. Simply stunning! I loved the presentation, especially the mushrooms and the beets made to look like little mushrooms. It was the first ever time I had hachée and it certainly will not be my last!
So main done, and jeans about to burst open… it was time for dessert. But oh no… first, you get a dessert amuse!
Out of all of the wonderful dishes we had the entire evening, this was the stand-out for both of us. The top was mango ice cream sprinkled with hazelnuts and inside the deliciously crispy cone was a coconut gel. I’m not really one for referencing food porn or mouthgasms, but this did it for me!
And… to end the meal, dessert, part 2: Marinated blood orange, white chocolate mousse, yoghurt sorbet, hazelnut biscuit and Scottish yoghurt. I’m not normally a dessert person, but it was divine.
We both had a big surprise when it came out too (even The Dutchie didn’t even know about it) but the staff had taken it upon themselves to congratulate us! The perfect end to a fantastic evening!
So, something to celebrate? Birthday, engagement, 5 month anniversary perhaps? If you’ve got a wad of cash and you’re willing to part with it, I highly recommend Tante Koosje. A Michelin star comes with a price tag, but as an extra special treat, it really is worth it. So much more than just a meal… it’s an experience. And one I’ll never forget.
Big thanks to the Dutchie for the second most romantic thing he’s ever done. The first was propose.
Where’s the best restaurant you’ve ever been to?