Perceel restaurant - 1 Michelin star in Rotterdam | 19 April 2012


PerceelDon't get me wrong: I love great restaurants and I love great chefs and I often find myself in awe at the history of long-established restaurants and the reputation and skill of legendary chefs. In fact I'm going on a culinary pilgrimage later this month to the likes of Ducasse, Gagnaire, Blanc, Troisgros, Bocuse and Haeberlin. However, nothing beats the excitement of going to new restaurant recently opened by young people starting on their gastronomic journey and chasing the restaurant dream.

After an internship at Noma restaurant in Copenhagen the young couple Jos Grootscholten (head-chef, 27) and Sharon Tettero (maitre d'Hôtel, 25) opened their own restaurant in the former town hall of Capelle aan den IJssel (15 minutes by car from the centre of Rotterdam) in July 2010. Apart from Noma, the couple has trained at Spanish three-star restaurant Marin Berasategui, two-star Beluga restaurant in Maastricht and several other Dutch Michelin starred restaurants. Perceel was awarded a Michelin star in November 2011.

Perceel is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday till Sunday (no lunch on Saturday) and you can choose between a 'Perceel' menu (4 courses for €49,50) and the a la carte menu. I had dinner there on Thursday 19 April 2012 and I ordered the 'Perceel' menu.

First up were two amuses bouches. A delicious kohlrabi cracker, very tasty and crunchy and Crisp pita bread served with some Gruyere cheese and wild herbs crème, wonderfully crisp and lovely spicy finish. Two light and elegant amuses bouches.

Next was Oyster, passion fruit, cinnamon and Cava (this was offered as an extra dish for the very friendly price of € 3,50). A playful dish and even though passion fruit and cinnamon are quite intense flavours the oyster was the star of this amuse bouche and provided a wonderful salty finish. The Cava balanced the dish perfectly.
Then the final amuse bouche was served, Tomato bouillon, sweet and sour cherry tomato, Parmesan foam. Delicately flavoured stock with a lovely sweet and sour tomato. Good strong Parmesan flavours and nice hint of basil. Light and refreshing.
We were also served some delicious sourdough bread with goat's milk butter and pine nuts.
First course of the menu was Cod, potato, egg, parsley, apple, lettuce, mayonnaise. Terrific slow-cooked cod with two textures of potato, crushed and crisps.  Wonderful clean and pure parsley and apple sauce. A dish with beautiful flavours which all complimented each other but were great on their own too. Great texture and acidity from the apple sauce and finely chopped apple. Nice texture and saltiness from the potato crisps and I loved the mayonnaise foam, very clever. A well conceived dish with harmonious and exciting flavours.
Second course: Halibut, celeriac, cucumber, carpet shell jus. An amazing piece of halibut, succulent and flaky and perfectly caramelised. Refreshing cucumber and wonderful warmth from the celeriac puree which had beautiful and intense flavours, high on umami. Lovely foamy carpet shell jus, an excellent choice for this dish, light and elegant.
Third and main course. Sirloin, mustard greens, courgette, mushrooms, potato. Perfectly cooked beef which had great texture. The mustard greens were served as a pesto and went fantastically with the beef and didn't have a single raw note. Potato mash sprinkled with some chives and spelt was served in separate small bowl, gorgeous. A linear dish that was very digestible, perfect for spring. No picture unfortunately: it was getting too dark by now.

Fourth course and dessert: Dark chocolate and tangerine. Wonderful textures of dark chocolate (mousse, crumb and aerated) served with a delicious tangerine ice cream and jelly. Lovely pairing, rich dark chocolate flavours and wonderful zingy tangerine flavours. Again, no picture.
Lately Michelin is often criticised for overlooking restaurants or of being reticent when it comes to handing out new stars. Well in this case they lost no time in getting there and right they were. In less than two years' Jos Grootscholten and Sharon Tettero have created a restaurant that has contemporary and user-friendly food on the menu; well-composed and balanced dishes that show passion and originality. Grootscholten produces calm and confident food; with just a few ingredients he creates vibrant and attractive dishes that have carefully judged flavours, without having to resort to exotic or expensive ingredients. He also grows his own herbs and flowers.The team in the kitchen is small and so is the team in the dining room but both perform at a high level. Front of house manage to created a relaxed and intimate atmosphere without ever becoming careless. A concept that I have noticed to be successful in several other restaurants recently and also a concept that allows them to offer excellent value for money. Perceel restaurant is one to follow over the coming years!

Posted 06-05-2012