Maastricht has several restaurants awarded with the prestigious Michelin stars. There are two 1 star on the street we are living.
I think I am a simple eater, the Michelin awarded restaurants (or the non awarded expensive high level restaurants) often prepare “complicated food”, complicated in a way that I don’t know where to start from my plate.
Since my first exclusive experience with The Tippling Club in Singapore, I told Willem that I prefer normal, simple food than the experiment food where half the food or the decorative items were frozen with nitrogen. It was, to date, still the most expensive dinner in my life. We paid nearly SGD1,000 for 2, taking the full tasting menu with drinks pairing and some champagne and after meal drinks. Not going back there.
My first Michelin star experience was at Toine Hermsen Cuisinier, one of the 1 star on our street. It was a bad day when we received a letter informing us that my Dutch visa application was rejected. We were not in any mood of eating but luckily it was the lunch menu where we only paid Euro35 for a three course meal excluding the wine. Well you see, not all restaurants are expensive and many of the Michelin restaurants do offer affordable lunch/dinner menu.
Chateau Neercanne is located about 4km away from the Maastricht city centre, 5 minutes slow drive and you get to this beautiful 17th century chateau with amazing Limburg landscape. Chateau Neercanne is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Restaurant Chateau Neercanne is awarded with 1 Michelin star and they prepare very classic French cuisine.
On a good weather day, they serve the amuse on their beautiful terrace. Looking down you see the French Baroque garden, looking slightly further you see the valleys of Limburg and also the Jeker river bending just in front of the Chateau.
We arrived at 6.30pm, just in time to catch a glimpse of the autumn forests with some sun light on them. A glass of champagne or two are perfect drinks to start the evening. We had good friends visiting from the States and also Amsterdam and it seems to be the perfect place for catching up with friends over champagne and beautiful landscape. Chateau Nercanne serves Mailly as their house champagne for around Euro70/bottle.
Quickly, the menus were given to us and they have menu in English if you do not understand Dutch language.
Most of us chose the Menu Gourmet (euro77), consists of the below items:
- Scallop with King Crab and radish
- de CrustacésBaked cod with celery, cherry leaf and langoustine with a shellfish sauce
- Grilled partridge with foie gras with truffle sauce
- Tart of creamy chocolate with caramel ice cream and lemon biscuit
By paying Euro40 more, you can have also wine pairing with the menu. Highly recommending this. They have a very good sommelier and also very generous in the wine pouring. They did not stop at one glass per course, the sommelier was constantly topping up our glasses through out the meal.
There were 2 amuse along with the menu. First amuse was lobster soup with coconut milk and garlic boiled mussle. Second amuse was veal tartar. Both were well prepared.
The king crab salad was fantastic but I personally think the scallop was a touch over cooked. It was dryer than I would like my scallop to be. However, I noticed while in Paris, French restaurants always over cook their prawns, maybe it was just French cooking.
The thing about these “fine dining” or Michelin restaurant dining, they describe to you what they serving you to every single dots on the plate. Most of the time I only catch the name of the main meat and always got lost when they get to the tiny decorative dots on the plate. It would be quite funny if I were to describe the Chinese/Malaysian cooking the same way. “You are being served the alaskan cod fish, deep fried in peanut oil at temperature of 160 Celsius Degree for 2.5 minutes on each side. The sauce is made out of caramelised soy of premium quality and touch of sugar and diluted with 1 part of water. The dish is sprinkle with fried shredded ginger, garlic and shallot.” In short, fried cod fish with soy and ginger sauce. I find the Chinese or Asian are very good at shortening sentences while the European or Westerners are good at elaborating/lengthening a simple sentence.
Ok, back to my first course. The cod fish was cooked superbly. It was juicy, “bouncy”, and retaining the good cod fish taste. I only wish they have given me two langoustine instead of one! It was my first time trying quinoa (under the langoustine), it was nice but I don’t know otherwise how were they supposed to taste. Coincidentally we had two south Americans with us at the table and they were not complaining about it. The chef thinks this is a dish with some Asian influence (according to the sommelier) but I thought the hint was vague and maybe they can steal my Aiwee fish recipe. :p
The secondi was Partridge with the most delicious foie gras in the world, top with my favourite truffle sauce. I want this dish to be served at my wedding! Why don’t we all eat a little more foie gras everyday? Why are they so expensive if the Chinese are not exactly eating the duck liver so much, we can have them off their Peking duck!
I am usually not a dessert person, do not have sweet tooth except little Luna Rossa ice cream and the delicious le Salonard’s moelleux au chocolat. However, the tart of creamy chocolate with caramel ice cream and lemon biscuit are just what I like. Nice.
Two of the guys choose to have cheese instead, why eat cheese as dessert? I don’t know. It’s a French thing.
The cheese cart came with cheeses from the area, which I guess about 100km in radius or something like that. One can pick as many types as possible and they cut a small piece of each of the selection. Apparently the cheese guy was very knowledgable and it was Willem’s most pleasurable cheese platter ever.
We are going back to the restaurant some time in near future to try their cheaper lunch menu. In my personal opinion, Chateau Neercanne is all about the experience, the fantastic view, the terrace, the top notch services and the 1 Michelin star. Not cheap, but worth a visit especially if you have a special occasion to celebrate. It’s one of the most romantic restaurant in town.
The total damage for 6 adults, 5 menu meals, 1 main course, 4 wine pairing, a bottle of Champagne, a bottle of white wine, few coffees, few additional wines, 2 cheese platter and some bottles of water = Euro890.