When I saw that Jaimie van Heije started with a Test Kitchen Tuesday concept and that there were still some places available for this month’s edition, I didn’t hesitate to book a table.
I think it’s a great concept whereby regular guests are asked to test and judge new dishes and to provide detailed feedback via a questionnaire. That way chefs can get firsthand commentary on whether what has been “work in progress” in the kitchen actually strikes a chord with the guests and determine if dishes should end up on the next iteration of their menu or need further refinement.
The dishes can be in various stages of development, so they can be a hit or a miss, as can be the wine pairings. With prices usually lower than the regular menu, the concept is also more commonly used to draw more people on a relatively quiet evening for restaurants.
Personally, I first encountered the TKT concept at Copenhagen’s Kokkeriet*, where you could expand their regular tasting menus with 3 additional courses from that week’s offerings from the test kitchen. Furthermore, every member of the kitchen crew was encouraged to contribute new dishes.
Jaimie van Heije has taken it a step further by offering a possibility to sample a full 6-course TKT menu, albeit the frequency is only once a month. It is still possible to opt for their regular lunch and dinner menus on that day by the way.
As we have eaten there several times before and are fans of Jaimie’s cooking style and vegetarian dishes, we were pleased to learn that the TKT menu could also be served with vegetarian options.
The 6-course TKT menus were EUR 55 (compared to EUR 65 of a regular menu) and a additional cheese course (EUR 9,50) can be added. The wine pairings consisted of pours of 2 different wines for each of the courses, so you essentially have 1 glass of wine per course which – at EUR 45 – was priced the same as their regular pairings. Also available as at halfsies for EUR 22,50 which effectively leaves you with a sip of each of the wines per course. I indicated our personal favorites below as underlined.
As they are still test dishes, please see the pics and information form the menu below. There were no real misses; some dishes just need some tweaking, but we were most impressed by the first and fourth dishes. Chantal had a roasted pumpkin instead of corvina and a slightly different dressing, but hers tasted amazing too and the dish looks so good! The vegetarian egg course had some interesting ingredients unknown to us, like the coco de paimpol beans and the honey truffle. Not fully balanced yet, but we thought it has all workings to be a spectacular dish for autumn and winter menus.
Not pictured, but definitely worth mentioning: I started off with a Fine de Ronce Oyster (EUR 4,00). The experimental Moscow Mule dressing was amazing. The hit of freshness from the cocktail elements (ginger and mint) went so well with the salinity of the oyster.