woensdag 22 juli 2009

La Viña

Yesterday was the 51st birthday of my dearest sweetness and delight so what better gift to give her, (she who has everything already - especially moi ) than a restaurant treat?

A dinner treat it was. I did not want to go too far out of our way, so I picked a nearby restaurant. The chip- and krokettenshop Bram Ladage is just that bit too far away, so I chose La Viña.

This restaurant serves mainly as a watering hole for ministry staff and their visitors, mostly. During week days you see hordes of suites and skirts after work, holding their drinks, blah-blahing away about the state of world affairs (all happening in the broom cupboard of their department) and you hear gossip treats about who got dissed by whom at the meeting with the minister or ambassador of whatever-wherever. True intellectual metier naturellement.

The cuisine is European/Mediterranean, although I don't know what's so European about a sashimi of tuna with tempura prawn for starters.

In any case, now you know what I had for starters. Miek did not want any starter, bless her (cheaper for me).
Again there was an amuse de bouche. This time it was cold cucumber soup with Dutch North Sea shrimp. Very nice.

We also drank a glass of very good prosecco as an apperative. Prosecco is, of course, THE summer drink for anyone who wants to appear adult, hip and 'with it' these days. It is the rosé of last year. As I said, it was very good indeed.

My starter was really excellent. I loved every euro-japanese morsel of it!

The main dish was grilled grouper on a bed of risotto with green asparagus for Miek and a steak with mushroom and chorizo saus for me. This was accompanied by French/Belgian fries.

Both dishes were quite good but the fries were too dark and dry. Not the way to treat fries at all. The Belgians and French would have shot the chef at dawn had they tasted it.

Nevertheless, the fish was grilled well, the rissotto was nice and creamy, as it should be and the presentation was tidy. My steak and sauce was nice too, but there were practically no other vegetables than those dark brown fries accompanying it. That is a pity.
Also, they did not ask me how I would have liked the steak: rare/medium/well done. Tsk-tsk.
Lucky for them I like mine medium, because that is how it was prepared. The mushroom and chorizo were cut very finely and added to the sauce. They went well with the steak.

Dessert was cheese board for Miek and vanilla ice cream with a soup of fresh, red summer fruit. Quite good.
Coffee and cognac finished it off.

In comparison to Les Ombrelles, this restaurant is not outstanding, but it does well enough.
I expect many a business lunch is enjoyed here as are dinners. The talk and the deal are what matters most. The food is secondary, but has still to be good enough to impress the average businessman or -woman.

The service at Les Ombrelles was excellent. La Viña was not bad either, I mean who would not smile at being served by an Allison Moyet look-alike with a gap-tooth down the center?
But again, compared to Les Ombrelles, service trailed a bit.

I give it 1.5 peppers.

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