Last weekend we visited in Middelburg, Zeeland and took the opportunity to discover a local restaurant with my brother and his wife as they made a booking at Restaurant Scherp.
The restaurant is spread throughout several monumental buildings in the center of Middelburg, thus creating a very long dining area. The modern yet warm interior changes from building to building, creating a slightly different atmosphere in each of the parts of the restaurant. A very nice touch!
Mart Scherp and his wife Dhani function as chef and sommelier respectively and they are a member of the Jeunes Restauranteurs ‘d Europe (JRE): a collective of more than 350 restaurants and 160 hotels spread over 16 countries throughout Europe and Australia. These young restauranteurs focus on high-quality culinary craftsmanship, local traditions, and produce.
Restaurant Scherp definitely fits in as it is an “all-round concept”: meetings or private dining up to 30 persons can be held in one of the 2 room upstairs, and they also have 4 B&B apartments, so you can stay overnight as well.
The cooking style of Restaurant Scherp is described as “refined and tasteful with attention to fresh fish and local produce”. This was nicely accentuated by these custom-made plates whereby one of the many folkloric costumes of Zeeland is recreated with local products: razor clams, mussels, oysters, beans, samphire and lamb’s lettuce.
Their menu consists of set menus for lunch (2 courses, €29,50) and dinner (3 courses, €35.50) or 4, 5 or 6-course surprise “JRE” menu (€45.50-62.50) which can only be ordered for the entire table. The regular menu consists of oysters (€3 apiece), 5 starters (€17.00-20.50) and 5 mains (€24.50-32.50), desserts and a cheese platter. Wine pairings can be arranged at around €5 a glass.
As expected there is quite a lot of fish and shellfish on the menu. Oddly enough, there are no specific vegetarian items other than a Chicken and Gamba dish that also could be turned into a vegetarian option and a bag of (excellent) homemade French fries.😁 They are open to offering a surprise menu for the vegetarians.
After an aperitif (champagne for the ladies and Gin & Tonic for the gents), we decided to order à la carte. Afterwards, our waiter confided with a broad smile that we were the “most challenging” table of that night as we managed to order 4 different starters (chicken and gamba / scallops and truffle / smoked salmon / vegetarian chicken and gamba), 4 different mains (skate wing / farm duck / beef / vegetarian tomato dish) that were accompanied by 7 different wines.
These wines were very nice and definitely not standard choices: a beautiful red from Washington State that went very well with my picaña steak, and they even served an awarded local wine, a Schouwen-D®uiveland Blanc, an awarded Pinot Blanc from De Kleine Schorre Winefarm in Dreischor, the village next to where my brother and I actually grew up!
The food was good, everybody was quite content, but the vegetarian entree could have been better. It is always a bit of a letdown when restaurants serve meat substitutes you can get in the supermarket (even if it’s one of the better ones).
The service was good and knowledgeable on both the food and wines as well as attentive: giving pointers on how to fillet the specific cut of skate wing and later on indicating that there is also a fillet at the bottom when they saw it was left untouched (we were completely stuffed). I was also notified that the rib roast mentioned on the menu was no longer available and asked if I was okay with substituting it with picaña and the waiter was also being able to correctly explain in detail which cut it is.
The à la carte portions were large, so we didn’t bother with desserts, but the homemade friandises with the coffee and tea were quite satisfying too.
Together with the appetizers (€10 each), the 2 courses including wine pairing and coffee/tea came to €75 per person. Although not very cheap, the food and service were very good and the portions ample, so overall recommended.
- Restaurant Scherp
4331 PM Middelburg
+31 (0)118 634633