Restaurant De Leuf located in Ubachsberg (South Limburg) has one Michelin star. The restaurant is run by the Van de Bunt family. In the past when Paul van de Bunt was the chef, the restaurant had two Michelin stars, Paul passed away in 2014 and in 2018 his son Robin became chef at De Leuf. Mother Sandra and her daughter Michelle are both hostesses who are the face of the restaurant. After the death of Paul van de Bunt, the restaurant lost one star and it has since had one Michelin star.
The interior is classic. The chairs are large and dark in color, the white walls have coarse white polish and the floor has authentic orange tiles. Paintings hang on the wall of which we have the impression that these are paintings depicting the family and the work in the kitchen.
We decided to take the 7-course menu. This is called the Sensation menu. Of course it is possible to take matching wines with the menu, we chose the matching wine package.
We start the evening with a glass of champagne. The champagne that is served is Ruinart. We were served five amuse bouches with the champagne.
First we received papadum with a foam of tomato. The foam tasted quite like tomato, but like tomato, the taste was somewhat neutral. Felt that this appetizer was served to neutralize our taste buds before the real work started.
Second appetizer was crispy fried chicken skin topped with green curry, roasted peanuts and coriander. The chicken skin was so crispy that it looked like you were eating a cracker, you could taste the taste of the chicken very well. The curry and coriander provided a delicious oriental flavor. Then we got a passion fruit filled with salmon and passion fruit. The taste was slightly sour due to the passion fruit, but the combination with salmon was very good. We were enjoying.
The penultimate amuse-bouche was very special: caviar made from edamame and sesame. The caviar was served in a caviar tin. The content in the can looked like caviar, even the texture in the mouth was like caviar, only the salty taste was missing. A real surprise Finally, a large bowl of oysters came on the table, in the bowl was a lot of coarse seaweed and the oysters on top. Nitrogen was poured on the seaweed and we were asked if we would like to smell before we would taste. The salty smell came to the fore as well as smells of seafood. What a grand effect. The oyster shell contained oyster, shrimp and other seafood. This amuse-bouche was a memento of Paul van de Bunt and is one of his classic dishes. What a great dish this is, this one has to stay!
All appetizers had a completely different taste, nothing resembled each other, so we were pleasantly surprised. As a result, our expectations were high.
As the first dish we got steak tartare. This can be supplemented with caviar, we have not done this. The dish was served where we did not even think of steak tartare. A black dish came on the table, only color was on top of the steak, namely avocado with wasabi. The tartare was wrapped in a crispy dark rice crust with ponzu (Japanese sauce). The steak tartare was well prepared. The wasabi gave it a slightly spicy taste. What a great dish, there was even a smoky flavor present in this dish. We had a completely different expectation of steak tartare, but this was the most surprising steak tartare we have ever eaten. A Weissburgunder from Raddeck from Germany was served with this dish. A good match for the complex flavors.
Then we received scallops with dashi and wild garlic. The scallop was prepared as ceviche. The scallop was sliced paper thin and drizzled with lime juice. Under the scallop was sticky rice with dashi and over the scallop a wild garlic dressing. The dish had a slightly sour taste, very refreshing. A second dish was served with the dish, namely Malaysian street food made from wild garlic, filled with scallop and topped with caramelized onion. This Malaysian street food dish was completely green. Even the onion was green and very crunchy. With all this a Dutch wine from Maastricht was served, namely a Riesling from Hoeve Nekum.
The third dish was Thai style langoustine. The langoustine was fried short, covered with puffed pandan rice. The langoustine lay in a Tom Ka Kai foam with Thai basil. The Asian flavors were magnificent after the tart flavors of the previous dish. Again a completely different taste experience. Robin knows how to cook and surprise the guests. A viognier from McManis from Napa Valley was served as a pairing. Again a good match in our view. Good explanation why certain wines were chosen.
The fourth dish was turbot. Again a completely different dish. The turbot fried briefly and coated with aioli. The turbot was in a bouillabaisse made from the bones of turbot and harissa, a red chili paste, which gave it a nice bright orange color. Croutons of sourdough bread lay on top of the turbot. This dish was again exquisite. The aioli created a surprise effect, without dominating. As a wine we had a very special wine namely a Palomino Fino from El Muello. The wine is matured in PX wine barrels so that a little sherry flavor is created. There are also some PX grapes in the wine. Special wine-food combination that was successful. The chef himself came to the table to explain the dish and to check how our evening had gone so far.
The main course and only meat dish was crispy fried sweetbreads with mushroom and miso. The sweetbread was deep fried. Most of the portobello mushrooms were in the miso and fenugreek sauce. This sauce had a rich flavor, very smooth. Under the sweetbread lay very slowly cooked oxtail. Very successful dish. The wine served was a German Spatburgunder from the Stern winery.
Then came the cheese trolley. The trolley was quite stocked with different types of cheese. The cheeses all come from cheese refiners Van Tricht from Antwerp. Many different sheep cheeses, hard cheeses, blue mold and runny cheeses were on the cart. Guests can choose their own cheese platter from the menu. I personally think this is very good. You regularly receive a pre-assembled cheese platter, but at De Leuf the guest can choose for themselves. The wine served was a 10-year-old Tawny port, specially composed for Alliance Gastronomique.
Dessert was very refreshing, two different preparations of yuzu were served. Very sour yuzu ice cream with crumbles and a dish in the form of a yuzu fruit (citrus fruit) filled with a yuzu mousse, yuzu parfait and valrhona chocolate with yuzu. The yuzu lay in a ginger beer juice with yuzu. Slightly sweet to counterbalance the sour notes of the dessert. Very tasty and not at all lavish. Wow what a great dish. This time no matching wine, but a matching cocktail. The cocktail consisted of Sake and Yuzu sake. You want to drink this all evening, but this was very strong.
The interior is classic. I myself think that a small upgrade is not a luxury. Expect the restaurant to quickly reclaim its second star, but then something will have to be done about the interior. The second star is not related to the kitchen. If every evening is cooked as on August 15, 2020, a second star is absolutely deserved. The kitchen continues to surprise, every course. Many different cooking styles and many Asian influences in the dishes, each time a completely different taste experience.
The two hostesses are very professional, Michelle has so much energy, nothing escapes her, she is very personable, loves to chat. Sandra is a bit more reserved, but knows the dishes through and through. You notice that people cook and work with love here. What an privilege to have been eaten here.