Yesterday Michiel and I went for a five course meal at L’invité le Restaurant, which is in the Bloemengracht in the Jordaan district. They have a different chef every month, and you can pick from the chef’s menu, which is a set five course meal, or an a la carte menu.
I had a voucher I got from a deal site for the chef’s menu so I called and made a reservation – I had already been on their website to check the chef’s menu and I liked it, and with only seven days before there was a new chef in I was keen to eat what was on this menu. The chef’s name is Sebastiaan de Winkel, and his menu looked like this:
Baked creamy pepper soup with a pesto crostini
Crispy fried cod with tomato fondue and herb risotto
Slowly cooked beef with roseval mousseline potatoes, green asparagus and red port sauce
Foie gras with a compote of apple, green pepper and gherkin
Parade of chocolate brownie, white chocolate frozen yoghurt and mixed berries
When we arrived at the restaurant we were seated at the front with a view over the canal. We were the first to arrive – the family that lived above the restaurant was outside enjoying a glass of wine, and it was pretty empty. I thought that this was a bit of a shame as I loved the location, but a restaurant is always nicer when it’s busier.
We ordered our wine and waited for our first course of pepper soup with a pesto crostini. I’m not the biggest fan of pesto (sometimes I find it a bit too overpowering) so I didn’t know what to expect and when it came I saw tiny bits of pesto in the soup and on the crostini. When I tasted it, there was just enough pesto, and it wasn’t overpowering at all. The pepper was sweet and the pesto complimented it completely which was a nice surprise.
The next course was crispy fried cod with tomato fondue and a herb risotto which was delicious. I love risotto, and this one was really full of flavour. Most people associate risotto with seafood or chicken, but it worked perfectly on it’s own – I could have happily eaten a whole plate of it. The cod was cooked perfectly and the tomato sauce was sweet and really complimented the fish.
Then it started to get much busier in the restaurant, and for a while we were sure that we had been forgotten. Because everyone else were in seats next to each other, and we were on the other side of the room I thought it was much easier to overlook us. We were both just about to ask about our next course, when the waiter arrived with the beef and mashed potatoes with asparagus and a red port sauce. We had waited for quite a while at this point, but it was really quite delicious and worth the wait.
The course I was most interested in was the Foie Gras. I have never tried it before, so I didn’t know what to expect. Suffice to say I’m not its biggest fan. It was quite creamy but far too rich for me. I definitely think it’s an acquired taste – a bit like marmite. Some people love it, others hate it and because I didn’t know if I liked it, I wanted to try it before dismissing it altogether.
Dessert was divine. I’m not the biggest brownie lover but this brownie was delicious – not too sweet and not too bitter. The frozen mousse was nice, but I didn’t eat it with the brownie as the brownie was so good on it’s own.
Overall this meal was really good, the waiter spoke perfect English and he made an extra effort to explain all of the dishes to me. I think they have minor problems when it gets busier as there was only one waiter for the restaurant when we were there,and the only issue was us thinking we had been forgotten after a long wait for our main and that can be really easily remedied by the waiter checking in on people every now and then, or telling us there is going to be an extra wait.
Cost wise, we got the chef’s menu on a deal site, so it was really good value for us, although we were a bit surprised when we got charged for a bottle of water. We paid 21 euro for two wines, three beers and a bottle of mineral water. The chef’s menu is 49.50 euro per person, and main courses on the a la carte menu are around 20-25 euro.