Eetlokaal Kuiter, Rotterdam
We had heard about Eetlokaal Kuiter for quite a while and were excited to finally try it. An unpretentious restaurant in the west of Rotterdam with an open kitchen and a staff of only four – one in the kitchen, two serving, and one in clean up. They serve a three-course menu for 32 euros with four items to choose from for each course. It’s French bistro type of cooking with local sourced products. Pure, simple and flavorful food without unnecessary frills and not unimportant, the portions are quite generous, so you will not go home hungry.
I love it when you go to a restaurant and they place a bottle of tap water on the table right away, which is what they did at Kuiter. I find it ridiculous when you’re at a restaurant and the option for tap water doesn’t exist. Mind you, obviously only in countries where tap water is fine to drink, I wouldn’t ask for tap water in Indonesia. But even at Michelin star restaurants, what’s the problem really? Get a good looking bottle and fill it with tap water – image problem solved. I’m not going to taste the difference with the Himalayan or Arctic water you’re making me buy. OK enough of the water rant, my point is that tap water should always be an option and restaurants that do that get bonus points from me! After the water came the sourdough bread and butter. We ordered a white wine to start with, Menetou Salon. And later moved on to a Beaujolais, a lighter red that would go with both our fish and our friends’ steaks. But I’m skipping ahead, first we had our starter.
Pano ordered the calf’s tongue and I had the chicken with goose liver. The calf’s tongue was very tender and was served with an interesting creamy bearnaise-like sauce with pickles, eggs, capers, and tarragon. Some grilled baby gem lettuce finished it all off. The sauce was so good we attempted to copy it at home the next night when we had côte de boeuf. As for my dish, I was actually expecting (or hoping for) something along the lines of a chunk of goose liver, but I wasn’t at all disappointed with what I received instead. My chicken and goose liver roll was more like a good pate with some meaty chicken parts, and was complemented with a light frisee salad. For our main dish both Pano and I ordered the catch of the day: tub gurnard (rode poon in Dutch). There was a brown sauce made with bacon and mushrooms on top and though the fish was ever so slightly overcooked (I’m being nitpicky here, sorry), the dish itself was well balanced and flavorful. As I said before, our friends had steak, and they were wildly positive about it.
For dessert we all chose cheese, the other options were ice cream or cake. We were all given a plate with three cheeses. The first one, at the bottom of the plate, was the vacherin. And this is where I realise I should maybe take notes at restaurants because I have no idea anymore what the other two were. But then I feel sort of silly writing in a notebook during dinner. I even feel silly taking pictures of everything on our table! Anyway, the second cheese had a bit of blue in the middle, and the top one was a slightly older and riper cheese. Awesome description right? The blue one was my least favorite because it was a bit boring. Everyone but me had a glass of port to go with the cheeses. For some reason port or dessert wines at the end of dinner always lead to my demise, so when I remember that I skip it. We had plans for some awesome gin tonics at LaBru later that night so falling asleep at the end of dinner was a definite no-no. We finished our dinner off with a cup of coffee and were all very satisfied about the food, wine, and service; afterwards, while waiting outside, we got to chatting with another restaurant guest who was equally happy with his meal that evening. Eetlokaal Kuiter is exactly that which it wants to be, a restaurant without too much fuss but with great food and wine. I think we’ll definitely be coming back.