We started 2020 well, catching up with friends at Bistro Bord’o in Leiden.
The restaurant, run by chef Oscar Zitman and his wife and sommelier Maike, started 5 years ago at the Apothekersdijk in Leiden, a 30-minute drive from Amsterdam. Over time, Chantal and I have visited the restaurant pretty much every year, sometimes alone but mostly catching up with friends. Their classic French and internationally inspired cuisine never disappointed, and especially the vegetarian dishes are recommended. The service is correct but pleasantly laidback. Therefore, it is fine – yet pretty casual – dining.
The past couple of years GaultMillau has awarded Bistro Bord’o 15/20 points and 3 Toques and in 2017 their wine list was even awarded as the best in the Netherlands. The restaurant is also featured in the Lekker 500 list (of which only the top-100 gets an explicit ranking). Given the similar GaultMillau ratings of various restaurants in and in the vicinity of Leiden who are included in the Michelin Guide , Bistro Bord’o should be on the brink receiving recognition as well.
About the Menu:
Besides the à la carte, you can choose 2 through 6 courses from the Bord’o Menu (€31-63) and wine pairings available at €7 per glass. All-in Bord’o menus (including water, wine pairings and coffee/tea with friandises) are possible as well, but only for 4 or 6 courses (€78-103). You can also splash out and go for the all-in Menu Gastronomique (7 courses selected from à la carte and Bord’o menus served with champagne, oysters, a cheese board and exclusive wine pairings) which will set you back €150.
About the Food:
Our group of 8 selected the 5-course Bord’o menu (of which 3 vegetarian versions and 1 without meat, but including fish). We had 6 wine pairings (I was the only one driving, so halfsies for me), 1 person was checking out their craft beer section, and 1 person had a non-alcoholic pairing. Maike informed her that their non-alcoholic drinks section was expanding but it was still work in progress. Consequently, it was not a real pairing, but the various finds thus far (non-alcoholic wines, gins, and craft sodas) were served throughout dinner. The main beef fillet was the clear favourite with the carnivores, especially due to the excellent red cabbage. Only collective niggle was with the surf and turf dish, which – with the pork belly – felt a bit disjointed, also with wine pairing. For the rest: the food, nicely balanced, and wine pairings were delightful and the dessert was outstanding!
We started off with a rose-hip and Cava aperitif and some tasty amuses:
Left: Duck liver, Cocoa and Hazelnuts (the vegetarian version was Parsnip based)
Right: A Thick, Foamy Thai Yellow Curry soup
Left: Tuna | Foie Gras | Bottarga | White Soy Sauce
Right: V: Sprouts | Burrata | Jerusalem Artichokes | Balsamic Vinegar
Left: Brill fillet | Soto Sauce | Quinoa | Watercress | Paksoi
Right: V: Quinoa | Fennel | Paksoi | Verjus Sauce
Left: Porkbelly Sous-Vide | Lobster | Citrus Bisque | Tomato
Right: V: Oeuf Cocotte | Parmesan Cheese | Truffle
Left: Fillet of Beef | Pot Roast Steak | Polenta | Red Cabbage | Oregano
Right: V: Ravioli | Pumpkin | Carrots | King Oyster Mushroom
Pré dessert: Coffee | Chocolate | Salted Caramel
Dessert: Granny Smith Apple | Dates | Crumble | Honey Ice Cream
(That honey crisp!! 🤩)