My parents have been visiting me in The Hague for a weekend – which implies the struggle of searching for unique and typical things to do. For the past few years, we have had an increased interest in culinary art to please our palate. We enjoy so much tasting curious combinations of flavours, guessing what single element is and analysing how they are presented. Good wine comes on top of that. We could satisfy this pleasure by simply going to any type of restaurant, from big Italian chains to little “chambres d’hôtes” in hidden small villages.
But this time, we decided to take a step further. When looking at restaurants in The Hague, my mom found Hanting Cuisine, and I must say that the rewards they received (proudly displayed on their website) were already promising: one Michelin Star, 16 points Gault&Millau, Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice, among others. I was excited and really looking forward to this new experience – although my internal debate started with “How should I get dressed for this kind of place?”. I decided to keep it simple and classy: a dress, blazer, and heeled low boots.
The contemporary Asian-style decoration took us on a charming trip.
As announced on the menu – I couldn’t resist the temptation to check it beforehand – the chef’s cuisine is a result of a French-Asian fusion, which raised my curiosity. The contemporary Asian-style decoration took us on a charming trip as soon as we crossed the doorstep of the restaurant. The cosy light and dark red/brownish colours create a relaxing atmosphere in a relatively large dining room (I was imagining it smaller from the photos). The table was dressed in a very simple and elegant way, with Asian sticks and fine cutlery. Thankfully there was not a countless amount of forks and knives ranked either side of the plate; from which I would have been unable to pick the right ones to use!
The three of us ordered the 3-course surprise of the chef menu. Honestly, everything on the menu seemed to be delicious and it was hard to make the best choice for this particular occasion. This way, we’ve been avoiding a 3-time difficult choice and we would get a glimpse into the chef’s culinary identity. We asked to receive advice for the wine. We’ve been recommended to take the wine arrangement (1 different glass in accordance with each course), but that would have been too much for us, so we ordered a bottle of Sancerre following the sommelier’s suggestion.
Gastronomic cuisine thus highly involves the customers.
Then, the eating part could start! Besides the 3 courses of the menu, we’ve been served some “welcoming” appetizers straight after ordering. See the masterpiece for yourself.
This fancy presentation was already announcing a feature we praised in every plate: there is a story behind it. Gastronomic cuisine thus highly involves the customers as we enjoyed trying to guess the chef’s intention, and all had different interpretations. For example, the appetizers plate took us on a gastronomic journey from the sea on the left with squid ink crisps, to the forest on the right.
There is a story behind the fancy presentations of every plate.
Despite receiving explanations on the components for each course, we sometimes couldn’t make the right guess as the combination of the different ingredients can create a completely new taste. This was the case with our first “mise en bouche” (see photo). We knew we had aubergine somewhere in the oyster shell, and surprisingly it was not the green jelly, but the orange little dome.
The first course fused the most intriguing ingredients: scallops, avocado, wasabi, goji berries, and the sliced squid under the little crispy bread bridge. We had to ask again for the sliced squid as we were debating whether it was fish or meat. The taste was slightly smoked and the texture very unique.
The second course was a sole filet and a langoustine with various pickled vegetables, cucumber-quinoa and carrot rolls, and… hell of a sauce!
Yet, I have awarded my ‘coup de coeur’ to the third course for its deer meat. This is normally not my favourite type of meat, but these pieces were sooooo tender, perfectly seared on the outside and red inside like it was roasted in the oven for hours at low temperature. The different kinds of pickled radishes, green beans, and mushrooms lying on a Thai soy-curry sauce on the side were exquisite.
Just as curious as little mice in a kitchen, we ordered a dessert: mine’s theme was citruses. It was fresh, light, with different textures and perfect for finishing this excellent dinner.
To sum up my general opinion about Hanting Cuisine, I would just say: delightful and humble. Humble in the cuisine and the service provided. The Michelin star awarded is more than deserved and has surely motivated the chef to innovate. However, the team doesn’t seek to over-impress the customers and that’s a pleasant feeling. The chef dares interesting and original combinations of products and flavours, which are mastered. The waiters, waitresses and sommelier are courteous, prompt, and interested in receiving feedback on the customers’ experience. Most importantly: the quantity served is not ridiculous!
The only negative point we could possibly think of was the noise when the restaurant was full, but honestly, isn’t it a good sign?
2513 CA Den Haag
T: +31 70 36 208 28