A friend had recommended the restaurant Terborght (one Michelin star) to us a while back, so when we noticed that Groupon were offering a tasting menu for two at a very attractive price we jumped at it. In fact this is the first time we’ve seen a starred restaurant using Groupon, but I guess they’re more and more keen these days to try special promotions and discounts (RestoPass, RestoDays, etc) to get customers through the door.
Here’s our menu, for those of you who can understand (or Google translate) Dutch. The only thing here we didn’t get was the ham and melon, but I could live with that.
Our first amuse-bouche was sardine and radish. Fresh and sharp and tasty.
Foie gras with onion chutney. Fine, but the foie gras was a little cold and hard.
This one was the first in a series of dishes to use a presentational novelty. A flat plate for one dish, which serves as a lid for a warm dish in a bowl underneath. Two variations on cockles.
And then one of the best selections. The chorizo “pizza” on the right was fine, but the tomato macaroon in the middle was lovely.
On to the main courses, and this was undoubtedly the highlight of the meal. It’s just tomato and shrimp, as traditional a starter as you’re likely to get in Belgium, but the use of different coloured varieties of tomato and the slightly “deconstructed” presentation, along with the quality of the ingredients made this a winner.
And of course this was just the lid, covering the selection of shrimp, egg, croutons and avocado inside.
Another course, another lid: a slice of eel with apple, meringue and balsamic blobs.
And in the bowl underneath another Belgian classic: eel in green sauce. No complaints here either, although the traditional version comes in a slightly larger portion.
Another wacky presentation for the consommé, which was covered with a crusty dome.
Once broken, the aroma of the pigeon broth wafts free, and crumbs from the dome fall in to give you something to chew on.
Oxtail with truffle and a soft-boiled egg. Probably the evening’s only failure. It looks rather unfortunate, like something that’s been dropped rather than constructed, the egg yolk smothered the flavour of the oxtail, and the truffle was lost completely.
But we were back on track with the final meat course: pheasant with endive and sprouts. Beautiful tender meat.
Unfortunately things ended on a slightly sour note (ironic, as we were at the dessert stage). Service had slowed down enormously throughout the meal, and we’d already had an interminable wait for the pheasant. It was getting late and snow was starting to fall pretty heavily, so I enquired as to how much longer the rest of the meal would take, throwing in a casual reference to our babysitter as justification. The head waiter got the impression that I was saying we had to leave ASAP, and gave me the option of skipping any remaining courses. One of the two desert courses would be ready almost immediately, whereas the other would take more time, so I told her we’d like the quick one only. We received our plates of cold, citrus-flavoured sorbets and ice cream shortly afterwards, and the bill almost immediately.
Service had been a little spotty throughout, to be honest. We’d been served by three different staff, one of whom was obviously in charge and spoke to us in English when she heard us doing so, another who spoke in Dutch (which we managed to follow), and a third who barely spoke two words to us in any language, and who plonked our plates down in front of us without any explanation as to what we were about to eat.
Still, these slips aside, it was an enjoyable meal of modern versions of Belgian classics.