Thursday, 29 May 2014

Restaurant Beluga Loves You in Maastricht

I did not intend to write another restaurant review. In fact the only restaurant I blogged about so far was Beluga in Maastricht. That was last summer, just before they changed their concept.

Last weekend I finally got back to Maastricht to see and taste the new concept 'Beluga Loves You'.
Because my first post about Beluga is still very popular on my blog. And even more important, because visiting this restaurant always makes me very happy, I decided to share my experiences again.
The 'old' concept; a 2-Michelin star restaurant working hard to get 3-stars with an average price range for this level. The 'new' concept; a 2-Michelin star restaurant with less fuss, aiming to continue their service for a more affordable price.

Let me start with saying I had no intention to write a new blogpost about Beluga. Actually I must admit I was suffering from a bit of a foodwriters/bloggers block since the beginning of this year. But already 10 minutes after arriving at Beluga Loves You, sitting in the lounge area, I regretted not taking my DSLR camera for some decent food pictures. The pictures you see here were made with my Samsung Galaxy S4 mini camera, and therefore not as clear or sharp as I would like them to be. But good enough to share here anyway.

Toast with Cava and a mocktail at Beluga Loves You

So what about the 'new' Beluga Loves You concept? I loved it! And except for some extra appetizers I did not miss anything at all. Lots of recent reviews online complain about the loud music and the rushed service. Almost all of the people who wrote those reviews visited during dinner time and took a 10-course menu.
We went for lunch, took the 4-course all inclusive menu (plus 1 extra dish), didn't notice any loud music (while I'm very sensitive to sounds) and did not feel rushed at all.

Off course there is a big difference between serving 5 courses in one seating or 10 in about the same amount of time. But that wasn't any different from the old Beluga. And I cannot give an opinion about the volume of the music during dinner time, because we were there at lunch time. 

So what about the food; still tasty, innovative and little pieces of art on your plate. Hans van Wolde continues to aim for the best. That's also what you read through the lines of his very personal (cook)book; 'Moods' (in Dutch). He loves food, he loves to entertain people, he loves light and tasty dishes with some Asian influences. And that's exactly what I love about eating in his restaurant.

We started with a stunning looking amuse bouche of 4 different preparations of black olive. Surprisingly served on a plate together with a small herbal plant; in Dutch this plant is called 'Olijvenkruid' which is translated as: 'olive herb'.

Amuse boche of black olives at Beluga Loves You

The 4-course all inclusive lunch menu we ordered consisted of three fish-dishes and a sweet dessert.
As an extra (main)dish we had veal. I did not wrote down the exact ingredients of the dishes,  but here's an impression:

4-course lunch menu at Beluga Loves You

Veal main dish at Beluga Loves You lunch

The service, with less waiters than before, is still flawless and relaxed. And I never met a more enthusiastic sommelier than Mathijs Vranken. Even though I wasn't as impressed with the wines this visit than in the former Beluga restaurant, his enthusiasm and knowledge are worth a visit on it's own.

Included in the price are coffee or tea and a plate of sweets. From which the Beluga candy bar was absolutely to die for. I wish I could have taken a few back home.

Tea and sweets at Beluga Loves You lunch

For an idea of the prices check out the Beluga website. We paid € 108,- per person for a 5-course lunch menu including pairing wines with all the dishes, and including Cava, unlimited mineral water and coffee/tea with sweets (excluding tip).

So in a nutshell; Beluga Loves You is still worth the long trip down to the South of the Netherlands.
Great food & great ambiance at a great price /quality ratio for a 2-Michelin star lunch.

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