In the year 2000 Daan and I got married in a magnificent white villa situated in our city's central park called 'Sonsbeek'. As everything always does, things decline over the course of years, as well did this white villa. It now houses a restaurant, which uninspiredly is called 'Villa Sonsbeek'. It's a restaurant where the well-to-do dine whilst enjoying the most pretty view over our city. The plebs usually wouldn't choose to dine there when the lottery was once again not won that month.
Luckily for us we have a thing here in the Netherlands where during one week most restaurants offer everyone a chance to sample their new menues for a fixed price. To cut a long story short, you apply online for a table and when you're lucky you get in. Well we did, and we went for a rather posh dinner at the rather posh white villa.
We were pretty sure the rabbit was canned corned beef, and the smoked ham it supposedly was wrapped in did not appear to be smoked, nor ham for that matter. The white fish tasted like water it once swam in. (Did you know that a cod changes his name when it reaches maturity, and only swims at Swedish shores? Neither did we, but now we know). And if a pureed carrot looks like a pureed carrot, smells like a pureed carrot and tastes like a pureed carrot, it's most probably a pureed carrot. And not the ointment (I kid you not) what they exclaimed it to be.
The main dish was cheek of veal (again, I kid you not) which tasted just like the big chunk of meat your nanna stewed over the weekend and was as savoury as it was easy to digest as it had started to decompose in the pot due to the elongated cooking time. Given, it's nice though, but just call it a big chunk of meat (from which we only got a sliver). Served with it was parsnip puree, stop pureeing everything, beans (3) and a few very touch to chew pieces of cow. The dish was cold, and when told the friendly waiter, he left and appeared back at our table to bring us the chef's sincearest apologies. That was nice.
The desert was pretentious. But it lived up to expectations, thank god. Can't really bitch about that but I will say this: don't serve crème brulée out of a flower-pot. And if you choose to decorate with fresh mint, ensure that it's just a leaf or a small twig. Not a bush. Or in Daan's case, nothing at all.
This experiment has once again proved one of life's most important points: the downside of being pretentious is that you have to live up to expectations associated with it. If not the gays will bitch and moan (and all the people who sent back their cold dishes twice will kindly agree).
We Dutch like to eat stuff with mud still on it, preferably yanked from the clay we live on by ourselves. I have to stop pretending that I belong in these kind of restaurants in private-time. It doesn't make Daan happy and I just get overly anxious if I have to stare at my empty plate for 20 minutes after finishing my mains, which in its turn annoys Daan. And when I paid I realized that I could have easily invited two friends to join if only I had decided to go to our usual joint where they serve you half a dead cow, spill wine over you and apologize with a sincere smile, have the best fries in the world ánd the hottest waiters in the city for just about the same amount. Lesson learned: Daan's home-coocked food is the best. Restaurant-week food is not. At least not at Villa Sonsbeek.