Saturday, July 24, 2010

Utrecht, Netherlands: Goeie Louisa Brasserie: First bday in NL

"What do you want for your birthday?"  asked HT hubby.  To be honest, I can't think of anything.  He was joking around that I'm too spoiled that's why it was hard for me to answer his question.  (yeah right!)

So, what did HT wife got for her birthday?

HT wife is always hungry...fond of taking pics of food, and writing it on her blog...*bang* suddenly, an idea pop out into his head.

I want my birthday to be special but no fuss.  No dressing up necessary.  So, hubby who is now a foreigner in his own country after years of staying in Singapore, made a research on where to go...and we end up in this brasserie.

Brasserie is  a type of restaurant with relaxed, yet upscale setting which serves simple dishes. (Wikipedia).  What appears on the card is what you get.  No fuss.  Just good food.  (Goeie Louisa website).

You know why I don't want to dress up? As we have to cycle on our way to the restaurant.  Yes, this is another typical dutch.  Hoop earrings, short dresses, long sleeves with coat and tie, everyone was fleeing with their bikes. I just love the uniqueness this country offers.

We entered Hotel Karel V which used to be a cloister - from the 13th century onwards, but now houses a 5 star hotel, with restaurants Brasserie Goeie Louisa  and a Michelin star restaurant (which is closed for renovation).  Both restaurants work closely with their house suppliers to offer biologically grown veggies, meats and cheeses, and they prefer to grow traditional or oldfashion type of breeds.

Goeie Louisa ("good Louise") have 2 rooms to suit customer preferences.  You can dine in the living room or in the kitchen.  Guess where we end up to?
keuken, of see what the chefs were cooking

The ambiance was really a true brasserie...simple yet elegant.

A tin base plate for a medieval look

As soon as we were seated, this plate of toasted bread with olive tapanade was served.

The menu (menukaart), was indeed straight forward.  Not too much choice for main course, 1 beef, 1 chicken, 2 types of fish, 1 veg and 1 lamb.

I've been researching on restaurants here in NL, almost every place offers set menu.  In this brasserie, they don't print out the set menu details so I have to listen carefully to the waiter (which I was very fortunate since he spoke excellent English).  While he was enumerating each ingredient in the 4-course set, I was already salivating, that i had to secretly swallow a bit and got me somehow demotivated to look at the menu as I already know what I want.  HT hubby felt the same too.

After waiting for our orders, they served a basket of bread with this very aromatic olive oil (the best I ever had).
unfiltered, Valderrama from Spain

Finally, the set arrived...
Salad with organic veggies, scallops and bacon - when it was place in front of us, hubby and I were thinking where the heck is the bacon that the waiter mentioned? :)  See those translucent sheets on top of the small scallops ?(yes i was a bit disappointed as the scallops were tiny)  Those were the bacon fats! I gorged into it as it was so tasty, and didn't give me that tingling feeling everytime I accidentally eat meat fats.  Lightly drizzled with citrus dressing, it was a great starter.

King prawns on saffron risotto with sea lavender - The king prawns were not really kings, they're more of young princes...coming from Asia, where the king prawns are really huge.  The prawns were lightly grilled giving its yummy natural taste.  The winner for this dish I would say is the risotto!  You don't even see the grains as it was fully covered with cheese that's not overwhelming but delicious.  Those leaves were called lamsoren (literally lamb's ear) in Dutch.  I was shocked for a second, then the nice waiter explained, that its called sea lavender.  It grows in an area influenced by tides or flood giving its salty edge (wikipedia).  And, since it's not available all year round, this ingredient was considered special.  And it tasted pretty good, just well-balanced green for this plate.

Lamb on mashed potatoes and fennel with tuinbonen - Ok, i'm not very sure what is the English word of tuinbonen whether it's petai or broad beans but i can attest that it was very fresh.  The mashed potatoes and fennel tasted so good, which we really can't think of what's making it so tasteful that we suspect it was the fennel (read more about it).  The lamb was tenderly cooked and heavenly.   The main course was such a delight.

click on the picture to see the up close and personal
Strawberry pudding with citrus cream - this big bowl was placed in front of me, making my dessert look small.  But first bite, it was absolutely divine.  It was nectarous and the citrus cream was a great complement.  I just love its lightness to end the meal. 

Hubby had his dose of coffee and this was what came with it...
macarons, nougat candies, cinnamon chocolate covered almonds

A great meal wouldn't be as great without a fantastic service!  And, it's always nice to see how your food is being made.  I've seen the waiters do return to the chefs if they think the dish they're about to serve doesn't look good enough or  doesn't have enough sauce.  I love how they worked together, all for the satisfaction of the customers. *clap clap*

Thanks to HT hubbie for the wonderful dinner. 

Price Summary in Euros
4-course set €42.50
Still water €5.50 ( too much )
Coffee with all the sweet €2.25 (better drink coffee than water)

Geertebolwerk 1 3511 XA Utrecht
The Netherlands
*reservation is a must (especially in the kitchen)


  1. Happy Birthday to you!! :D Wow.. I really envy your lifestyle right now. Cycling to the Brasserie and enjoying the nice scenery at NL. Something that Singapore does not have.

  2. What a fabulous birthday spread! It's nice that everything went well from the beginning till the end. Now i'm looking forward to mine! Haha :P

  3. Happy birthday Loraine!

    Good food, good place, and a good hubby, I'm sure you are enjoying it eh! =)

  4. Hi PY, thanks!

    Hi Bella V, its the uniqueness of this country makes my lifestyle exciting. :) Thanks for the greeting!

    Charlene! Thanks and Yes, yes, you'll be enjoying yours for sure...going out for dinner or good cookin' at home?

    Daniel, Thanks! I surely did!

    Miss Ping, Thank you hope to see you soon.

    Jer lin, thanks...back in SG and back in school?

  5. I'll be going out! Whoopee! *more things to blog abt* Haha! :D

  6. Happy Birthday! And the lamb looks gorgeous I say!

  7. yup i've been back for 2wks+ ... back to a life filled with homework, quizzes and tests haha! the journey to gain knowledge will require much sacrifice, but it will be worth the effort in the end!

  8. Hi Glenn, Harris, Thanks!

    Charlene, waiting for your post!

    Jer lin, chia yo! Bad pinyim but you know what I mean

  9. HT's hubby knows the way to a woman's heart, his woman, (: is through her stomach.

    Happy Birthday Loraine!

  10. happy happy birthday!! may all your foodie wishes and dreams come true~