Dining in the Netherlands: Librije*** (2014)

This is the third review of Librije on my blog, which is not a surprise as it has become a tradition for us to celebrate our wedding anniversary there every year (starting with our 3rd anniversary). We started this tradition in 2005, and so this was our tenth visit. There is not a single restaurant where we have eaten so often, and we’ve started to feel very much at home there. It is also interesting to see the evolution of Jonnie Boer’s cooking style. After some forays into fancy presentation, it is more and more ‘back to basics’: just the way we like it.

My first dinner at Librije in 2005 was a revelation to me in terms of pairing food and wine, and the start of a passion. We’re not as blown away anymore as we were in 2005 (which was then our first dinner at a three-star restaurant), but the quality is still at least at the same level and it is still an absolute joy to dine at Librije. We already booked again for next year 🙂

As usual we ordered the 8-course degustation menu (188 euros) with matching wines (92,50 euros). Just like last year, you get to pick 4 out of the 8 courses, described only by the main ingredients. But first, of course, there were amuses bouches.

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This ‘tea’ of red cabbage was a very nice palate cleanser. The cilantro in it worked very well.

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A large part of the amuses bouches consisted of ‘fruits de mer’. All the seafood was of impeccable quality, such as these lightly cooked oysters.

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Very special were the raw North Sea shrimp, which are usually boiled in seawater as soon as they are caught. Librije has arranged a fisherman to bring them fresh live shrimp on a daily basis. They were served ‘au naturel’ (i.e. as is), what a joy!

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The two types of ‘shrimp cracker’ were also very tasty.

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The razor shells were served with smoked olive oil, very nice.

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A repeat from last year was the beef tartare with oyster cream served on your hand. This is an historic dish that was served when Librije started in the nineties, then served on a plate.

Great set of amuses bouche, 9/10.

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For the first course I chose “milk cow and eel”. This was the same type of beef as served last year, cooked on a hot rock tableside just until the fat started to melt. The beef of milk cow has great marbling and has been dry aged.

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The beef was then served on a salad with smoked eel and marinated mushrooms. The match with a dry Jurançon was outstanding. Wine and food played ‘ping pong’ on my tongue and brought out the best in each other. 10/10

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A new dish was a scampi covered in crumbs of dried scampi and served on vanilla-kombucha and piccalilli. We thought the dish worked best if you tasted the scampi and the rest separately, as the flavor of the scampi was otherwise crowded out. Again a very good wine pairing, this time with a Vouvray. 9/10

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The monkfish was served with vegetables fermented in cabbage juice, smoked haddock, and crunchy bacon of a woolly pig. The wine pairing with a white from the Greek island of Santorini was adequate. 9/10

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The red mullet with shrimp and young calamari was delicious. The mullet was perfectly cooked and a great combination with the crunchy shrimp. 10/10 The white Burgundy from Macon was not our favorite wine of the evening, but still an adequate pairing.

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The palate cleansing dish of tomatoes, white beans, beetroot, and orange seemed to be created to go with the red “Kiss of ThĂ©rèse” wine, a Dutch wine made of the Regent variety and named after the maitre d’, sommelier and wife of the chef, ThĂ©rèse. This wasn’t bad at all for a Dutch wine, although it had had a lot of new barriques (oak) to make it interesting. The wine interacted very nicely with the orange. 9/10

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Roe deer venison loin with beetroot, nettles, angelica root, and leg of roe deer venison with buttermilk. The roe deer (cooked sous-vide) was very tender and the components of the dish worked very well together. The Spanish syrah was a bit ‘too big’ for the dish, but still adequate. Angelica is a plant that grows along nearby ditches, which the chef harvests himself when he goes out rowing in his ‘spare’ time. 9/10

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Poached foie gras with bean juice, green strawberry and goat cheese, paired with Coteaux de Layon. Wow. This was simply amazing. Such an usual combination of ingredients that worked so well together and such a great wine pairing. 10/10!

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Also the second dessert was outstanding. Strawberries (ripe ones this time around) with honey-mascarpone, water mint, and Japanese knotweed. It was the wine pairing with an unfortified moscatel from Spain that took this over the top. 10/10

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The chocolates served with coffee or tea were good as usual.

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This mint-chocolate ice cream was very nice.

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And finally a post-dessert made of orange.

Another great meal at Librije. The food is at a very high level, 9.5/10. There are not many restaurants where the wine pairings are at this level, 9.5/10. The service was fine as usual, 8.5/10.

Flashback


There can only be one flashback to two years ago, and that is of course my review of our dinner at Librije of two years ago. As you can see one of the amuse bouche looks familiar.

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5 thoughts on “Dining in the Netherlands: Librije*** (2014)

  1. Pingback: How to Cut a Bell Pepper | Stefan's Gourmet Blog

  2. Pingback: Dining in Amsterdam: Librije’s Zusje** | Stefan's Gourmet Blog

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