The Bilderberg hotel in Apeldoorn has a restaurant open for dinner that offers “surprise” meals. You tell the server what ingredients you don’t like and the chef makes you a “surprise” menu. You can order up to five courses. This sounded like an intriguing idea to Bill and me, so we decided to try it. We asked for three courses, a bottle of wine, and a bottle of water. We asked that mushrooms not be a part of the meal. In retrospect, I really should have included other items to the list. But hell, it’s good to expand the old palate and try new things. My mom would be sooo proud. I was the kid who once would not willingly go to any restaurant other than McDonald’s.
The first thing the waitress brought out was an amuse. It was red beets covered with goat cheese foam and a Parmesan cookie. Now, while I thought this amuse was very pretty, I don’t usually like beets or goat cheese. But I decided to be brave… and I have to admit, the beets and goat cheese were pretty good. The beets were a little sweet, almost like cranberries, and the goat cheese was mild. I was expected to be the least offended by the Parmesan cookie and it was actually a bit strong for me.
It was a pretty amuse… and I actually enjoyed it somewhat.
The bread was very good.
The next course was a pair of raw tuna and duck liver pinwheels that came with a seaweed salad and some kind of wasabi inspired sauce. There was also a small trough of crumbs that we could draw the fish and liver through. I don’t like liver. It’s not something that would ruin my meal if it was mixed up in something, nor do I get freaked out if it’s on my plate the way I do when I am served mushrooms. But I don’t like the way liver tastes, nor am I keen on the idea of eating organ meats. The raw tuna was very good. The waitress offered to bring me something else, but I was okay with just the tuna. Bill said the duck liver was tasty.
Another attractive course… the liver was too icky for me, though.
Next came the main course… lamb. I almost never eat lamb because the first time I ever tried it was when I lived in Armenia. What I probably ate there was mutton and it was so gamey I almost puked at the table. I will admit that the lamb served here in Apeldoorn was very good. It was tender and not too strongly flavored. I still wouldn’t have chosen it off a menu, but I have to say the chef surprised me. I ate and enjoyed the whole course.
It was tasty and attractive… and I never eat lamb!
Finally, for dessert, we had raspberry sorbet with white chocolate mousse and raspberry mousse. It came with a decorative cookie and, clearly, I had no issues with it… until we had coffee and the waitress brought out housemade caramel with yogurt to go with our double espressos. Plain yogurt is yet another food I almost never eat. But I decided that being almost 43 makes me old enough to take a chance. I did and mostly enjoyed the coffee.
Dessert was a winner.
I’m finding out that coffee in The Netherlands often means a second dessert.
I noticed most of the others who were having dinner were getting the same or similar dishes, so it wasn’t like the chef was coming up with something special for every diner. It was more like the menu was a mystery and they hoped you liked it. I have to say, I ate a lot of stuff on Wednesday night that I definitely wouldn’t normally choose to. Fortunately, I lived to tell about the experience.
There were a couple of kids in the restaurant who were very well behaved and tolerating the grown up dishes very well. I was very impressed! They were better behaved than I would have been under those circumstances when I was their age. As we left the restaurant, the dour waitress invited us to take a couple of homemade peppermints. Always a good idea.
This trip to Apeldoorn has been for getting me out of my comfort zone, though I am not sure any of the foods I ate the other night will be foods I start eating on a regular basis.