Each year for the anniversary of our first date we go out to dinner on December 23 or 24 (the official date is December 24, but it’s not always possible to dine on that date due to restaurants preparing for Christmas). Last year we went to La Torre del Saracino near Naples, but this year we stayed closer to home and went to De Kromme Watergang in Zeeland. This is in the far South-West of the Netherlands, almost in Belgium and close to Oud Sluis. De Kromme Watergang is the restaurant of chef Edwin and maitre Blanche Vinke, but unfortunately we did not see them around while we were there. In restaurants of this level the presence of the chef and maitre is always an important factor, as it may determine the difference between a very good and an outstanding experience. I’m not referring to meeting the chef — we don’t really care about that. What I mean is that the chef will check every plate before it goes out to the guests, and that the maitre will watch the service like a hawk. That can make all of the difference.
We opted for a 10 course degustation with matching wines and we also stayed in one of the suites that belong to the restaurant. (This is not a hotel with a restaurant, but rather a restaurant with some suites.)
The degustation menu changes daily based on what is available and write ups are not provided, so I’ve written the descriptions from memory. At the end of the evening (i.e. after 11 glasses of wine) my recollection may not be completely accurate.
The first amuse bouche was really good: a hot & cold campari cocktail with a hot layer and a cold layer that you are supposed to drink ‘bottoms up’. Both the flavor and the contrast in temperature and texture were really good. I also liked the oyster. The sheet of caramelized seaweed was a bit too caramelized for me.
The first course of the degustation was potato ‘sushi’ with brined sea bass and razor shell sashimi. The ‘sushi’ is really boiled potato, cut to the size of grains of rice. There was also a deep-fried shrimp. Good wine pairing with a dry grüner veltliner from Niederösterreich, although it had some trouble with the potato. 8/10
The combination of a sea scallop with hazelnuts and duck foie gras worked really well and also paired well with the off-dry silvaner from Germany, but unfortunately the scallop was overcooked and tough. Did this happen because the chef wasn’t around? 6/10
The flounder (a flat fish, “bot” in Dutch) had a very soft texture — probably cooked sous-vide. Nice combination with the shells and the “krupuk”. Good pairing with a sauvignon blanc from South Africa. 8/10
De Kromme Watergang is a great place if you like seafood and white wines. The food and the wine are all of a very constant high level. Except for the glitch with the scallop there are no dishes or wines that were bad or didn’t work, but also no dishes or wine pairings that blew us away. It’s certainly worth the two Michelin stars and the prices are at the same level as comparable restaurants. 8.5/10 for the food. There is a different wine with each dish and they are all good. 8.5/10 for the wine as well. The service was fine too, also 8.5/10. Compared to nearby Oud Sluis with three Michelin stars, for about half of the price you get better wine and service at De Kromme Watergang. The food is slightly better at Oud Sluis, which is not surprising with those prices and three stars.