Michelin experience: Lunch at Joelia, Rotterdam

Technically, restaurant Joelia, two-star Michelin chef Mario Ridder’s new baby in the heart of Rotterdam, still don’t have a star. But the much-publicized restaurant located in the corner of Weena and Coolsingel just below Hilton Hotel, has piqued my curiosity. This little corner is always having a transformation and it was nice to finally see something that looks like it’s going to stay.

The menu at Joelia’s is “peperduur” as we say in Dutch – very expensive. A foie gras appetizer will set you back €39 already and the main course ranges from €35-49. So as usual I tested the waters by coming here for a 3-course lunch menu which was priced at €39. Drinks not included of course.

The interior looks marvelous, very modern, spacious and beautiful lighting (both natural and artificial). That’s expected. There were hardly any guests when we arrived saved for a couple of tourist and a table with some businessmen.

Amuse-Joelia

Voorgerecht-Joelia

Dessert-Joelia

The meal started with one amuse of greens which was delicious but hardly lingered in my palate because the serving was too small (even for an amuse). It really wouldn’t compare to the amuses they serve at Amarone. Then we had an appetizer of greens with horseradish sauce which was nice but not really unforgettable. For the main course, they served a pan-seared white fish fillet with an assortment of greens. It was too bland for my taste that I asked for salt and pepper. I would have appreciated a little bit of sauce and not just olive oil.

The best part of the meal was the cherry and yoghurt dessert. It was the only dish I truly enjoyed and can only come from a Michelin-chef restaurant, a perfect balance of sweetness from the cherries, ice cream and that yoghurt crumble. This is actually the only dish listed on the restaurant’s website.

Verdict? You really only get what you pay for in this country. Except for the dessert, I wasn’t too impressed with the meal. For the same price, you can probably get the same quality from a non-star chef like Antoine Schweig from De Prins van Terbregge. At least you’ll leave feeling like you actually had lunch. However, the Kir Royale and the wine were competitively priced.

Will I go back? Oh definitely! I’d like to know why that foie gras appetizer is very expensive and I am really, really craving for lobster right now! It’s lobster season after all.

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