In this last blog post of the year 2015 I’m taking you to Rotterdam where I had the best restaurant experience this year. I saved the best for last. Restaurant FG Food Labs is a 1-star Michelin star restaurant led by patron cuisinier François Geurds. Before he opened his own restaurants in Rotterdam he worked as a sous-chef in The Fat Duck in England when it was awarded as best restaurant worldwide. But François Geurds is more than a patron cuisinier, he is a food guru, a flavours scientist!
In his laboratory of the restaurant he develops and experiments with flavours and substances, which result in his unprecedented combinations and food recipes. According to Francois, there are only three laboratories in the world that are connected directly in this way with a restaurant. There’s mysterious equipment, such as a rotary evaporator. Machines that can boil water at room temperature or can extract a product leaving only the essentials, which is the authentic flavour. Geurds’ mission is to extract and experiment with natural flavors, no additives, no coloring, no binders. And only fresh, preferably local products and ingredients that he curates and picks out himself.
A lunch or dinner at Restaurant FG Food Labs will therefore not disappoint you. The food is truly an explosion of flavours, served in an urban chic, yet robust interior, with an unpretentious and laid back, casual chic atmosphere.
Restaurant FG Food Labs is situated in the upcoming and edgy part of Rotterdam in the Hofbogen, where multiple hip boutiques and restaurants are situated. The interior is like a tunnel transformed into a hip design decor with wooden planks on the walls and ceiling, mirrored walls, and an open kitchen in the back. Focal point is the bar with leather details, but also the many meats and sausages dangling above it which reminds you of a Spanish scene. The boudoir style lamps also caught my eye, as if they were laced up like a corset. Another detail I loved was that all the velvet and leather stools and chairs have a built in shelf under the seat to store your handbag. How female-friendly is that? Do pay a visit to the restrooms, where you’ll find more sleek design and black toilet paper! And another small detail that makes impact is their communications. On each table there are feedback cards, business cards, but also a card to express your emotion about a certain dish.
Jeannine (30s magazine’s new food and hotspot contributor) and I were treated to a surprise 4 course experience. However you can also opt for a selection of small dishes or more or less courses if you like. I would recommend at least 4 courses because it takes you on an experimental journey, as Francois often premieres his concoctions in FG Food Labs first, before introducing it in his other more posh restaurant: FG Restaurant. Naturally they also take into account if you are vegetarian, pregnant or have a food allergy. You can already inform them when making reservations, but they also check again when they seat you.
Our starters already brought us in ecstasy. We had an entree to remember: a gazpacho with some spike and oysters. It was the best gazpacho I ever had. Never knew tomatoes could have so much flavour. The soup was topped with a crouton filled with different kinds of tomatoes, all with a distinctly different taste. Jeannine who is an oyster lover and had a few in her life-time to compare with, said this one was one top oyster!
Then next was the in-between course: plaice with foam of lemon grass, parsnip, rolls and slices of beet and radish, watercress mash, and a sweet and sour roll of topinambour. It was so tasteful and I loved the combinations! No need to use spices because the ingredients in itself were an explosion of flavours. As a main they served Angus beef with bacon, a mash of potato and carrots, baked potatoes, and different colors of carrots (red, orange, purple). It was like a painting. (Ofcourse you can also choose to have your beef well-done, rare or medium, but below I took a photo of the medium baked)
The desssert were pastille of banana and liquorice (drop in Dutch), liquorice ice-cream, dried fennel, and jelly made of tarragon. Our tea came with small sweet delicacies and marshmellows.
It was fabulous! The service was also extremely good. If you like to try new flavour combinations and taste what food should really taste like, so no watery tomatoes, then this is the place to go! Restaurant FG Food Labs, Katshoek 41, Rotterdam