We kicked off 2021 well with snacks and dinner boxes from De Hoefslag aka HFSLG.
About the restaurant
Restaurant De Hoefslag is located in Bosch en Duin, a small place in the forests outside Zeist in the Utrecht province. A former roadhouse stop for carriages over a century ago, the culinary history is also long and illustrious. The Fagel brothers started the fine dining restaurant in the mid-70s, and recognition came soon: a Michelin star between 1979 and 2005 and even two between 1981 and 1986.
By 2009 De Hoefslag had regained 1 Michelin star, but – under new ownership – part of the restaurant became a bistro in 2016 to appeal to a larger audience. That step worked well, and in 2018 the bistro swapped place with the much larger fine-dining area, and they rebranded the restaurant to HFSLG. With the head-chef Raoul Meuwese leaving for Restaurant Bridges, these changes did not sit well with the critics: their Michelin star was lost and dropped from 14 to 12/20 in Gault Millau. However, the current head chef Bjorn Stukje has turned the corner and got HFSLG back to 14/20 in Gault Millau, and it currently holds the #42 spot in the Lekker 500 index.
About the menu
Early January’s selection of open restaurant was not significant as quite a few took the first couple of weeks of 2021 off or decided to stay closed during the lockdown altogether. Koen and I landed on HFSLG as they offered a regular (meat or meat/fish), fish only, and vegetarian menus, thus catering to our four preferences. The vegetarian and regular snack boxes for two persons also helped, as only little to no effort was needed pre-dinner.
As said, snack boards (EUR 25) are available in regular and vegetarian versions, so we ordered both. The frequently changing 3- and 4-course menus (EUR 32,50 and 37,50 respectively) come in meat/fish, fish and vegetarian versions and we went for the 4-courses of each of them. Cheese boards with regional Dutch varieties are offered for EUR 9,50 (we ordered 2 to split), as are oysters (EUR 18 per 6), Pata Negra (EUR 10), foie gras shavings (EUR 4), and friandises (EUR 4). Affordable (sparkling) wine parings are EUR 17,50-19,50, and the beer pairing (for 2) is EUR 12,50.
A bonus for me was that it was a beautiful winter day, so the scenic 45-minute drive to the restaurant in my convertible was a delightful one. I received two paper bags and one huge box that didn’t fit in my trunk and ended up in the passenger seat. I thought that the paper bags held the snack boards, but it was the other way round, so we had plenty to graze from!
On the left: the focaccia served with tapenade and herb mousse. On the right: Top plate with the vegetarian snacks:
- Pitas with Goat’s Cheese and Grilled Vegetables
- Bruschetta with a pomodori and burrata dip
- Wraps with roasted pepper and pesto dip
- One the left: Taleggio with figs
Bottom Plates: the regular snacks:
- 3 different types of Fuet (Sun-dried Tomato, Truffle and Iberico)
- Pinchos of Chorizo with Roasted Peppers
- Mackerel Rilettes with Crème Fraiche and Caper berries
- Carpaccio with Pesto crème
- Taleggio (Italian cow’s milk cheese) with Figs
- One the left: Nagelhout (Dutch version of bresaola) and potato salad
As this weren’t enough snacky things, the warm ones were still in their aluminium containers in the oven (and gone before thinking of taking a picture):
- Yakitori of chicken thighs with a teriyaki glaze
- Yakitori of vegetarian chicken pieces with a teriyaki glaze
- Courgette and Aubergine Tempura with a tofu dip
- Falafel with crème fraîche and lime
You will understand that we took a very easy pace with dinner 😉 The 4-course dinners elements mostly came in plastic or paper containers, the soup in small plastic bottles and the mains in aluminium oven trays. The components had different stickers for each course and needed very little preparation further to the written instructions. Most of them came already plated, so it was merely transferring them to the plates. Otherwise, there was no washing up except the saucepan that we needed to heat the soup.
Both the boxes were great. The Falafel and pitas were a tad dry, but there were plenty of dips to remedy this. The vegetarian yakitori was very well executed. From a dinner perspective, the Buratta was top notch, the Tom Kha soup was delicious but could have used a bit more garnishes. Mains were good, but not very special. The cheeses were very lovely, but unfortunately, HFSLG did not explain which ones were served. Come dessert (and 6 hours later) we concluded that the combination of a snack box and 4-course dinner and cheese board might have been a bit too much 😉