22 Jun 2019
Refined Dining: Quality and Style
l’Hermitage – the facts
l’Hermitage is a high-end restaurant that is specialized in fine dining. In their own words: Refined Dining. Their dishes are at a particularly high level when it comes to taste, presentation and the quality of the ingredients. In addition, we offer special and hard-to-obtain products in Suriname that we want our potential guests to desire.
They pay exceptional attention to the entire experience of the guest. Eating out is entertainment for all the senses, it goes beyond taste, but it is also visual, auditory, and in fact, the overall feeling of well-being is important. You want to feel special and appreciated as a guest. l’Hermitage gives personal attention and advice, offers beautiful decoration through light, art on the walls and the right choice of music. In addition, the necessary things happen at the table: dishes are served with explanation and finished at the table by, for example, pouring out sauces or applying the finishing touch to the eye of the guest. These cared-for actions contribute to the total experience.
Everything is framed by excellent etiquette from service staff, impeccable presentation of drinks and food, a wide selection of wines and professional advice, flexibility when it comes to the special wishes of our guests. The quality is monitored daily by the management in the kitchen and the management on the basis of mutually agreed verifiable standards. l’Hermitage critically selects its employees, trains them well and continuously and repeatedly train them during the work process. By ensuring a good working atmosphere based on professionalism, enjoyment of work and a good valuation, they ensure continuity. A good atmosphere in the restaurant where everyone works with love for the profession is certainly noticed by the guests. All these essential factors make a visit to l’Hermitage a valuable experience that makes guests happy to return.
The appearance of the logo is classically inspired by a modern touch, despite the somewhat frivolous (“French”) font from 2018. The “wipe” symbolizes, on the one hand, is the coulis that serves as decoration on your plate, on the other, it refers to the painting that is abundantly present with us [l”Hermitage].
The restaurant is located at the end of the Henkielaan, near TBL Cinema’s, in the former house of Coenraad “Coen” Valk. I have been in this house and going back to see what has become of it after they renewed it and made it into a restaurant…. felt like coming home. The ambience, the music, art, the lighting… everything combined felt like home itself, like you are in the place of serene pleasure. A look of cleanliness and being welcomed and seated.
Before opening the restaurant to the public, the owner invited family and friends to come and enjoy the superb dishes. A nine-course dinner was presented. According to one guest, she thoroughly enjoyed herself. She is one of the least culinary persons, these are her words, I know. She also doesn’t try new things very often, so this evening was the first of maybe many to come for her and said that she loved the food, even tried more new things.
The guests were able to taste the different dishes, and the even received a little survey sheet which they could fill immediately to better the restaurant.
Chefs and preparations…
Three chefs from Europe… that’s the core that will drive the business. Coen traveled to Europe for several interviews with potential chefs. The one chef that suits the best, to guide the rest… Daan Scheffers van Soelen is almost retired, but to his saying “wanted to add this project to his resume”, and didn’t want to leave it be as long as he still had the energy to do it himself. Together with Coen, they scouted chefs since December 2018. Several came for the job interview and two were selected for the Sous Chef and Junior Sous Chef job. Daan is the Executive Chef.
The chefs about the technique:
– With regard to preparations: an exclusive presentation, for example, creams instead of vegetables on the plate. Cauliflower cream e.g. with an extra, and surprising taste additive. Knowledge of taste and the ability to combine ingredients also plays a major role. And then we are talking about Scallops with cauliflower cream and a hint of Vadouvan for example.
– With regard to technology, it is possible that you vacuum five times to marinate well. So fill the vacuum bag, vacuum, re-air, vacuum again, and so on.
To the chefs the experience is important and fun, and of course they like it when their dishes are photographed and posted.
We had the pleasure of being invited to the Mother’s Day dinner event. While I’m not a mom myself yet, I felt absolutely special on this evening. Presented to me was a 5-course dinner. Restaurant l’Hermitage has three menus, the 5-, 7- & 9-course dinner and an a la carte.
Below I’ve added the pictures of the evening, each with the name of the course and my feel on the dishes.
French Kiss Cocktail
This little item was certainly a burst of surprises! Looking at it, you see a little square thinking at first it’s some strawberry thingy. None of that at all!!!
Placing this beauty on your tongue and crushing it… the outcome: foodgasm! If you haven’t experienced it yet, you should. OMGosh! I had to keep quiet for a moment, just to think of all the different tastes combined in one little bite. A sugar cube, filled with alcohol infused juices. I think I’ve tasted passion fruit and strawberries!
Fried sushi, soy, avocado cream, and yuzu gel… a crunchy bite. The crunch really comes out first, but the ingredients combined made this little thing a delicious surprise. The combination of the soy, yuzu gel, and avocado cream made it a wonderful pleasurable bite.
Gazpacho Melon, Cucumber, Chili Oil and Mango… Do you know what Gazpacho is? No, here’s an explanation: “Gazpacho or Andalusian gazpacho is a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables. A classic of Spanish cuisine, it originated in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and Portugal, particularly during the hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.” l’Hermitage made this look so simple and delish! And just as it’s stated, it early is refreshing and cool, especially after you’ve consumed the fried sushi.
Tartar of home smoked salmon, pumpkin, and pickles… the finishing touch that completes this course. Apart from the fact that the salmon was extraordinary, the pumpkin was a match that gave it an extra oomph. Yes, the pickles too… I think that if these were not added, you with find this amuse incomplete.
It is an extraordinary journey and we’ve only tasted the pre-amuse and the amuses! Are you as eager to read about the other dishes as I am looking back?
Caprese actually says it all, for the ones who know it. This course, this version is slightly different. It has lobster, a tomato cremeux, parsley sorbet, herb cake, parmesan, olive crumble, cherry tomato, and basil. Apart from the list of things I named above, the mozzarella was not even close to what you would expect. And looking at the picture below, you would really not have guessed that this is a Caprese.
I’ve tasted a lot of different ways some meals/dishes are prepared, but not all can compare to this one. The cremeux is something you would not often see. I wouldn’t name it a rare find, knowing that some of our own Surinamese chefs should and would know how to prepare this. For me it’s a great addition to the plate.
Now I’ve used the word plate… have you seen the playing on this course? It’s an awesome piece of art don’t you think?
Parsley sorbet… If you thought you knew it all, you are quite mistaken. The sorbet for me was something new, and I really didn’t know what to expect. A very refreshing “little” item, a spoon full of bliss.
La Celery – Rave
Celeriac soup, foam cepes, truffle, potato crisp, and chives… This is a very powerful soup. It comes in a glass dish with a diameter of 10 cm. And not to be mistaken with a super hot plate on which it is served. I burned my fingers a little lol. This happens if you want to be premature and you don’t listen carefully to the waitresses after they have put it on the table for you. Celeriac can be used as a substitute for potato when you eat ketogenic. But in this case it is not a ketogenic dish and the flavors cannot be argued, but simply enjoyed.
Duck, Asparagus, silver onion, beet structures, foie gras, hollandaise, pointed cabbage… My first bite… again “Foodgasm” on a high level. I took a bite of the duck and it actually felt like melting in your mouth. It was so soft, so moist, so tasteful… I had to take a moment to myself to enjoy the rapture happening before I could attack anything on my plate.
There are many beautiful items on this plate, a piece of art i could name it. Except for the duck, two other items really amazed me too. Not that the others weren’t equally delicious, but these two were really YUM for me. The foie gras and the beet structures! Foie Gras, if you don’t know it, is duck liver. It usually has creamy, and a “metaly” liver taste. Not everyone likes it, but I adore it. On this plate it wasn’t creamy at all, and that liver taste, was far from available. It amazed me to see how different techniques can change structure and taste to each ingredient. The beet structures… beets were jelly structures. I love yelly! It was fun eating them. There were really moments I thought to myself how was it all prepared and would I be able to do it myself… lol I’ll just leave it to these professional chefs.
Le tour de l’Hermitage
Chocolate/ Pineapple sorbet/ mango/ Almond crumble
The above explanation almost says it all, but… what are all these little balls on the plate?!
Well, let me explain how I thought they were all the same thing, but with different food coloring! NONE OF THE SORT… NO! These beauties look different because they actually differ from taste and ingredients. LOL… One for me was Mango mixed with passion fruit, the others are passion fruit, melon, and pineapple, but even now I still don’t know for sure if those really were all the ingredients. I should have asked Chef Daan! Oh well, I just have to go back and have another taste… don’t you think so too? Maybe you should go too and tell me about it!
Now for that beautiful white piece on that deliciously looking plate: a piece of art I kid you not. It is chocolate! OMG it is chocolate. I’ve always adored these forms of art. Now that I’ve tasted it I can only say that the techniques used to create this, and of course the love and passion, made sure that I increasingly appreciated the experience and the value in this stunning restaurant.
What to expect when you read “les formages”? Cheese! yes, different sorts plated together with sweets and fruit. The one cheese that stood out for me was the Blue Cheese. It wasn’t the one we normally know… white with mold (green-blueish). No! This one was orange looking. It tasted sharp and salty, but less moldy LOL. I usually think that when I eat the original one, it feels like I’m chewing on sand. But with the Older version… that’s not the case. I love it!
According to Wikipedia the name for this cheese is: Shropshire Blue
Shropshire Blue is a blue cheese made from pasteurized cows’ milk and uses vegetable rennet. The orange color comes from the addition of annatto, a natural food coloring. Penicillium roqueforti produces the veining. The cheese has a deep orange-brown, natural rind and matures for a period of 10–12 weeks with a fat content of about 48 percent. Made in a similar way to Stilton, it is a soft cheese with a sharp, strong flavor and a slightly tangy aroma. It is slightly sour but sharper than Stilton and generally creamier.
Etiquette: Table manners & Dress code
Dress code: Now this is one thing I want to put my finger on. l’Hermitage restaurant will not tell you what to wear, as you should of course always feel comfortable in what you wear and how you wear it. But I do want to suggest to each reader, that when you visit a restaurant, especially a fine dining restaurant, please do your research on what NOT TO WEAR. Sneakers, T-shirts, jeans, ripped jeans… are a total NO GO. Of course… If the restaurant has a happy hour, like Friday Apero… It is a happy hour, so it is okay to dress a little more casual than the usual formal wear. By dressing properly, is a way of showing respect to the people around you. Think about it… 🤔
We’ve written an article about Etiquette: Table manners & Dress code. Read it here.
Quality and Style
All and all this restaurant has quality and style.
Quality in food & drinks, service, and ambiance! The success or failure of a restaurant is tied to the quality of the product, service, and atmosphere. Customers expect fresh food that is tastefully prepared. They want impeccable service from knowledgeable staff, and they want an environment that is clean and comfortable. By reviewing a checklist of vital points daily, you can consistently provide a quality product that will keep customers coming back for more. (source)
Style in decor. The decor is one of the things the owner(s) of the restaurant does by his/her taste. Coen and his wife love the look and feel of the cleanliness the rooms have, but also the beauty of artwork that’s placed on the walls.
What I expect from my readers…
Now imagine the above 5-course menu as yours and let me know what you think of it. I can imagine it is difficult for you to picture it or taste it for that matter, so why don’t you just go over and hop in. Remember to look and feel your best, and enjoy the wonderfulness that will be presented to you ~ service first, atmosphere/ambiance second, and the product/ food/ drinks third. I’m curious to know what you think.
Photo’s by Helio Phoeli
Where to find the restaurant? Click HERE!