Even though are favorite way of dining is to let the chef decide what to cook and the sommelier which wines to serve with it, we had never yet tried Utrechtsedwarstafel because of the pricetag (between 65 euros for 3 course with basic wines and 125 euros for 5 courses with premium wines) and mixed reviews on Dutch leading restaurant review site Iens. But since their formula is exactly the way we like it, we decided to give it a try and go for the full treatment (5 courses with premium wines). We had high expectations of the wine pairings, since it is the theme of this restaurant.
All of the dishes were good, although none of them blew us away. My favorite was the first: scallops with white truffle. The biological pinot grigio that came with it was a great wine, but way too strong for the dish. The next was a large ravioli with egg, spinach and ricotta. It went well with the interesting red from Valle d’Aosta, although the wine was more interesting than delicious. Next was very tender beef with a nice sauce and mashed potato with cavolo nero and a nebbiolo that was OK with it. The 4th course was a slice of foie gras pate with icewine. This could be a good combination, but this particular icewine was too sweet and therefore did not match very well with the foie gras. For dessert vanilla icecream and some kind of light chocolate tart. Nice, but overpowered by the PX from 1971.
The style of the maitre/waiter/sommelier took some getting used to, but in the end we got along fine. We found out that he likes really strong wines, and it seems that he lets his own love of strong wines take over his better judgement when making wine pairings since 3 of the 5 wines were too strong for the dish. It might also be that the wines have become stronger over the years due to the climate change, since they have served some combinations of wines and dishes for years already. Our advice would be to depend less on routine and take more time to taste the dishes with the wine. This should be possible if you have only one fixed menu.
All in all good, but a tad expensive and not really living up to the high expectations with respect to the wine pairings.
Food 8/10, wines 8/10, wine pairings 6/10, service 8/10.