June 24, 2000 Thomas and I met, we were married on July 8, 2006, so the two weeks between June 24 and July 8 we try to celebrate our anniversary. July 4, 2020 we traveled to Rotterdam to dine at FG Restaurant by Francois Geurds. Francois Geurds opened his restaurant in 2009, before that he worked at The Fat Duck, among others. In 2014, the restaurant received its second Michelin star. They still have these in 2020.
The restaurant is located at Katshoek 37b in Rotterdam. A dinner at FG is a very nice experience.
The interior is simple, sleek and modern. The comfortable chairs are the eyecatchers in the restaurant. These chairs are designed for FG and are more armchairs than chairs. The armchairs rotate and are designed in such a way that guests have no idea that they are sitting at a table in a restaurant. We came in at 7:30 pm and left the table around 1:30 am, we had no idea we sat at the table for almost 6 hours. How comfortable these chairs are. We were lucky to be in a smaller space. Two fake trees stand in this space and the leaves form the roof of the space. The beautiful black fabric walls give a warm appearance. The wine refrigerators on both sides of the room complete the picture. Very nicely decorated.
We started our evening with a glass of Champagne. The house champagne at FG Restaurant is from Legras & Haas, a Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc. Tasty soft champagne from 100% Chardonnay.
We received 3 appetizers with the Champagne. The first appetizer was a classic of the chef, namely a tomato cone, dipped in licorice with popping sugar. The cone was filled with frozen tomato, you had to eat this dish quickly because the cone started to leak slightly because of the heat. Then we got a tuna tartare with phyllo dough, caviar and avocado. This was a work of art. The phyllo dough was a square. At the bottom in the square was tuna tartare with avocado and on top of the square were larger pieces of tuna (tartare) with avocado and on top of that caviar. A great picture. The flavors of caviar and tuna go very well together. Finally, we received a third appetizer, namely a tartelette filled with goat cheese, pomegranate and broad beans. This was very fresh, the pomegranate gave a delicious fresh bite against the creamy goat cheese. I personally thought there was a little too much goat cheese in the tartlet which made it a very powerful appetizer. All in all very good and surprising amuse bouche.
The Tasting menu consists of 9 courses and can be reduced to 7 courses. We decided to take 7 courses and if we wanted more we would opt for the cheese trolley. We took a matching wine pairing with the menu.
After we had made the choice for the number of courses, the waiter came to us because we still had to make some choices. First came the bread, no choice, it was made for us, but there were 6 different kinds of butter on the bread trolley. We had a choice amongst others of butter with lemon, butter with algae and butter with smoking salt. We chose two types of butter (lemon and smoking salt). The lemon butter was extremely good and is recommended.
Then we were allowed to choose our own types of salt and pepper. A box with 12 different kinds of salt and a box with 12 different kinds of pepper arrived at the table. It was recommended to choose about 5 types of salt and 3-4 pepper variations. The pepper can be put in the mortar so that it can be pulverized to the desired size.
We thought we were done making choices, but nothing was less where a huge blade full of knives came, we were allowed to choose our own. Francois takes knives with him when he travels, so the knives from different countries were on the plate. The knife was only for the main course, but very funny to be able to choose some of your own cutlery.
FG Tasting menu
The first dish was lobster, with vongole and cucumber. 4 different lobster preparations. In a lobster plate was bisque with lobster, razor shell, vongole and very small croutons. In a bowl there was also a piece of lobster tail with cresson and parsnip puree, topped with a sauce of smoked butter. Thirdly, a bowl of cucumber jelly, lobster and tomato and finally a clean lobster head that was removed, under which was a toast with lobster tartare.
Our first impression was: Wow, what a great start. 4 different preparations in a menu that you do not easily see as the first dish. The flavors were so different, but matched very well.
The bisque was full and creamy in taste, large pieces of lobster lay in the bisque, a lot of cream was used. Delicious rich dish
The lobster with smoked butter and puree of cresson (watercress) and parsnip had such a great taste, the smoky taste of the butter sauce was very present, which made this dish very surprising.
The lobster with cucumber and tomato jelly was fresh and surprising. A special taste. A little too much jelly in my view, but the freshness came out very well. The jelly was made from a combination of cucumber and green tomato. A large piece of lobster lay on top of the jelly.
Finally the toast with lobster tartare. We had to start with the hot dishes and work towards the cold. Because of this I was afraid that the toast might have gone limp, but nothing could be further from the truth. Very good taste, very pure: not too much mayonnaise / dressing, but mainly lobster.
As wine we received a Bacchus 2019 from Rheinhessen from Weingut Storr. A young wine, slightly sweet but very well matching with the lobster due to the freshness of summer fruit.
The second dish was scallop with leeks and an egg yolk vinaigrette. A scallop was cut in half and baked briefly. The cuisson was perfect. Not overcooked and not raw. A picture to see. The leek was a piece of the stem and had been boiled briefly, the leek was filled with a scallop tartare. What a great combination. In addition, a hollandaise sauce was on the plate, as was an egg yolk mousse. The menu said it was a vinaigrette but I thought it was more of a sauce / mousse as it was a bit firmer. The waiter indicated that the egg yolk vinaigrette was made like mayonnaise, but with much more yolk to dampen the taste. What a great dish this was.
For wine we had a Pedro Ximénez (PX) from Clos de Vall winery. I myself know a PX as sherry. This wine had a slightly salty / bitter taste, but was also creamy. A very good wine-food combination.
A very nice dish came to the table after this. We got kombu with oyster and duck liver. Kombu is dried seaweed (brown algae). A soup was made from the kombu. Pieces of short roasted foie gras together with sweet and sour cucumber filled with oyster were in the kombu. The taste combination of oyster with liver and kombu is so very good. The umami taste of seaweed with the salty taste of oyster, the sourness of the cucumber and the liver taste was perfectly balanced. One of the best dishes of the evening in my opinion.
This exquisite dish was served with a muscat, Gewürztraminer 2017 from Bodegas Pinord from Spain.
Then came a dish that should have been very spectacular in terms of layout, but unfortunately did not come into its own at our table. Sea bass tartare wrapped with lardo (bacon) with olive and potato. The raw fish was wrapped in unbaked lardo.
The service came to the table with piping hot stones to briefly fry the fish on top so that the bacon becomes crispy, but the fish remains raw at the same time. A very nice concept. As soon as the lardo is placed on the red-hot stone, it starts to scorch and becomes crispy. Then a sauce is quickly poured on the bacon to let the meat caramelize slightly. The first stone we received was not hot enough. The bacon didn’t hiss. Then other hot stones were brought to the table and the hiss reaction that worked perfectly at the other tables did not work for our dish. This stone was also not hot enough. The stone was warm, but not warm enough to sear the bacon. The dish was served and we noticed that the lardo was too raw. We did not eat the lardo but ate the sea bass with olive, a brown butter sauce was served over the dish. How delicious the sea bass tartare was. In the mashed potatoes a crumble of olive was inserted, which gave it a crunchy touch.
The waiter saw that we had not eaten the Lardo and immediately apologized. We were offered a vegetarian dish by the chef: porcini mushrooms with truffle, truffle butter and cresson.
The truffle came from Tasmania. The kitchen only works with winter truffle and the winter truffle comes fresh from Australia. Very large slices of truffle lay on the dish, the truffle was shaved at the table. The watercress had a good taste and the combination of porcini mushrooms and truffle was superb. We found this so very well resolved by the kitchen. Compliments for this solution!
A Chilean pinot noir was served with the sea bass and lardo. The wine came from Villard winery from the Casablanca Valley. You don’t often see a red wine with fish, but because of the lardo and the brown butter sauce that make the dish fuller, the combination was very special.
As a main course we had lamb prepared in 3 ways with cresson and artichoke. A rack of lamb was served with roasted garlic, roasted artichoke and a watercress puree. A piece of chicken was served with the lamb. A combination I had never seen before, but the lamb and chicken complimented each other.
A dish with lamb neck was served as well. The lamb neck was cooked in the pressure cooker and then fried. A sandwich of lamb was also served. 3 beautiful dishes. You notice that the kitchen prepared many different styles and presentations.
With the lamb trio we drank a primitive from Rivera Salento from 2018. Young wines are served. Although the wine was still young, it had enough body for the complicated flavors of the lamb.
The first dessert was rhubarb with rose and raspberry. The rhubarb was incorporated in the ice and there were also pieces of rhubarb on the plate. There was a roll filled with a raspberry mousse and pieces of raspberry and everything was sprinkled with rose water. The rose scent came out very well. This flavor combination was once again so incredibly good, the plate was literally licked.
We drank a petit manseng from Domaine Chaupé from the Jurancon. The wine had fruit aromas which made the wine-food combination with this dish so excellent.
As a final dessert we received peach with a sugar ball filled with crème fraîche ice cream. A picture to see. The sugar ball was a bit too thick in my opinion, which made it a bit more difficult to break. I don’t dare hit a dish hard in a star restaurant for fear of the ball flying through the restaurant. Once open, the creme fraiche ice cream was one of the best ice creams I’ve eaten in a long time. Wonderfully creamy. The peach was slightly caramelized so it paired very well with the crème fraîche.
The last wine was an Alvarinho from Portugal.
Finally coffee with friandises. A huge friandise car arrived at the table. We took 2 cookies, we were completely full.
Highly recommended to dine here if you are in Rotterdam or going to Rotterdam. Keep in mind that dinner can take longer here. We came in at 7:30 pm and left the table around 1:30 am. We were not the last in the restaurant. We had no idea that we were eating for 6 hours, the seats are very nice, the break between the dishes is perfect so where time has gone is a mystery to us. We really enjoyed.
The interior is sleek and beautiful. Due to the corona crisis, the tables were a little further apart. We didn’t mind this, but imagine Francois would prefer the tables to be a little closer together so that there are more place settings in one evening.
The service is good, but should have a little more dialogue. The bread trolley and an amuse bouche came at the same time. As a result, the amuse was not initially explained. When we asked what we were served, the waiter of the bread trolley expertly explained what we received. Later it was again two people came to the table at the same time, with 2 different things. This could be a little better coordinated, but if this is the only thing …
When we are in Rotterdam we go back. A very nice evening, well deserved the two Michelin stars!