Dining in the Netherlands: Terroir

Terroir is a restaurant in the picturesque old town of Utrecht with an extensive wine list and a weekly changing à la carte menu. For starter (15-17 euros), in between (18-21 euros) and main course (25-30 euros) there is one vegetarian, one fish, and one meat option, with some additional meat options for the main course. The wine list is not only extensive, but also has very reasonable markups, so you can order a nice bottle without breaking the bank.

We opted for this Chassagne-Montrachet and chose three times fish to go with the wine. It was great that the sommelier/waiter could tell us what the various wines were like. Because even if you know what a Chassagne-Montrachet is generally like, it is impossible for most people to know how the wines from different producers and vintages have turned out. This wine turned out as advertised, and was decanted to bring out it’s potential despite its youth. The wine had great minerality and length, and its evolution during the evening worked very well with the progression of dishes.

As starter we had barely cooked mackerel with vichyssoise (cold leek and potato soup) with terragon oil, pickled herring, and croutons. Vichyssoise can be a bit bland, but the terragon oil made it interesting. The combination with the mackarel worked very well, and the croutons provided a nice crunch.

The in between course was tub gurnard with kale, mushrooms, and a dashi of smoked fish bones. The fish had been grilled briefly, so it had the smoky flavor of the grill marks but was barely cooked. That was perfect, because this type of fish is easily overcooked and then dry. The dashi was very flavorful and really worked with the kale. The mushrooms provided some nice bite.

The main course was monkfish with white beans, a Riesling beurre blanc sauce, leeks that were scorched and then steamed, and codium seaweed. The monkfish had been pan fried in butter and was perfectly cooked. The leeks were nicely sweet. Part of the beans were pureed and velvety, another part provided texture. The seaweed looked nice but the flavor was not very interesting. The beurre blanc tied everything together and worked very well with the Chassagne.

For dessert we opted for classic crepes suzette: pancakes with a Grand Marnier and orange sauce. Instead of vanilla ice cream it was served with tonka bean ice cream. It was paired with a glass of nice Sauternes.

On the website it is stated that Terroir serves good quality seasonal produce in classic preparations with a modern twist, with real flavors and love for the art of cooking rather than frills. This is a very accurate description. The food was very well prepared and flavorful and classic but certainly not boring. I prefer classic any day over original but lacking in flavor or with combinations that are original but don’t work or where presentation is more important than flavor. The service was impeccable (although it was a slow Monday night) and the wine list is wonderful. Recommended, especially for wine lovers!


5 thoughts on “Dining in the Netherlands: Terroir

  1. A restaurant well worth the drive . . . and a little different to the ones you usually describe – the name seems familiar ? Loved the look of the fish meal . . . and, yes, quite a few parts seem ‘classical’. You drank one of my favourite wines . . . daresay all the labels thereof bring somewhat different experiences . . . thanks !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Came back to ask a Q – Is it usual these days to decant white wines as this was done – in my ‘ignorant’ case have never had this wine served decanted . . . do not remember whether any white has so been served? Perchance a Trockenbeerenauslese way back during a holiday in Rudesheim . . . ?


  2. What a gorgeous meal! Love tonka bean! I’m always impressed with the quality and value of restaurants in Europe. A few weeks ago we went to a chain restaurant for lunch (sadly, most independents are not open for lunch) and we each had a salad. The total was $58 plus tip (18% and taxes) no booze!!! Unfortunately, greed has crept into the equation to make up for losses during covid.


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