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Restaurant Witloof in Maastricht serves Belgian fare

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By: Jackie Chow

 

As we were spending only 2 days in Maastricht, it didn’t seem quite right to go for Belgian fare on our first night, but we didn’t regret the choice of Witloof.


Its mix of décors is at first sight somewhat odd, but the award winning combination of different styles is actually a deliberate creation by renowned interior designer Maurice Mentjens. Our table was in the front section of the restaurant, which is typical of a traditional farm house in the Belgian Ardennes. Just behind is a section with plain white tiles which are common in Belgian establishments where one would go for ‘frites’ (French fries). Beyond that is the cozy ‘salon’ with its baroque style green-gilded wallpaper. The impressive cellar, which dates from the middle ages, has been transformed by Mentjens into a Sistine chapel with lifesize erotic prints of Venus and Cupid.


The menu, clearly considered a work of art as well, was presented in a large picture frame (in Flemish but an English version is also available). As appetizer, my husband chose a tartar of fresh and smoked salmon with watercress, which he was quite pleased with. I had the salade au fromage (cheese salad) with goat cheese, Belgian endive, arugula and hazelnuts with a vinaigrette. The vegetables were lovely, fresh and crisp.


As the main course, my husband picked the A la Minute Steak St. Paul in onion sauce. According to our knowledgeable and eloquent waiter Stefan there was only one way to serve this type of steak and that was saignant (rare). He was right. My husband doesn’t often rave about steaks, but this one was just right: juicy and tender. I had the traditional Belgian dish of waterzooi, a lovely fish stew of generous amounts of seafood - northern seafish and mussels – and potatoes and vegetables.


Of course we had to try some of the famous Belgian beers to go with our meals. We ordered a La Trappe beer and a Brussels blonde beer and sampled eachother’s picks. We tried quite a number and variety of – mostly Belgian – beers during our short stay in Maastricht, and now, several days later, I honestly can’t remember anymore which one was which. But there wasn’t even one that I didn’t enjoy.


The grand finale of our 3-course meal was Café à la Chouffe (coffee with an unusual but surprisingly good beer-based liqueur) with a Belgian Leonidas chocolate for my husband and a pretty trio of crème brulée and white and dark chocolate mousse for myself. Very rich and very sweet!