I remember when I was in a creative writing class, my teacher always reminded us of “KISS”. Meaning, Keep It Short and Simple. Entering Mon Plat Du Jour gave me that same sense of simplicity and efficiency.
On the corner of a street called Mauritskade in The Hague lies a small bistro-like restaurant. Minimal design, white cloth linen with small touches of blue here and there, artwork and dim lights, create an atmosphere as you enter. Paul (the owner) welcomed me, and I was given my table.
The first thing to blabber on about at Mon Plat Du Jour is the concept. The idea behind the restaurant is efficiency. Every day of the week (except Monday when they are closed) there’s a set menu. You have an entree du chef, your main meal — either fish, meat, or a vegetarian option — and for dessert you have two choices, crepes or chocolate mousse. All the meals were inspired by the travelling Paul has done. He took his experience of traditional dishes in various lands (e.g. Portugal, Brazil, Poland) and brought them to the Netherlands with no added changes to the traditional recipes.
Minimizing the menu to only a few options and having a central kitchen to create the food supports the concept of efficiency further by decreasing food waste. Not only is the notion progressive but it also makes dining at Mon Plat Du Jour attainable to dinner guests by making it an affordable meal. The prices of the dishes are entree – 3.50 Euros (EUR), main meal – 8.50 EUR, and dessert 2.50 EUR.
As to my meal, my dinner consisted of the Sunday specials. An entree of carrot soup with a small salad of salted cod frittata. I enjoyed that the food was traditional yet had a daring approach to taste. The balance of the frittata with the cold carrot and hints of ginger soup was complimentary to one another. For the main dish I ordered seafood option since I don’t eat other meats. The special was Arroz de mariscos – a south of Lisbon dish consisting of Carolino rice stewed in a tomato sauce with hints of the sea (shrimp, fish, etc.). The other main dish option was roasted lamb served with potato gratin and green vegetables. The main meals were of a good portion size and had that home cooked sense of taste to them. By this time my stomach was as happy as possible but I still had my dessert to go — crepes with cognac and citrus sauce. I loved the cognac and citrus ending, but then my taste palate enjoys sour flavours. So for those who don’t, I would recommend the chocolate mousse as it is somewhat softer.
And for those of you who are thinking “I want to have a different meal each day, so what if I get tired of it?” Do not fear my foodies! The menu changes through the season, meaning you’ll have plenty of different experiences.
Until the next time when I slave away to eat all this food for you, I leave you with a recommendation for Mon Plat Du Jour.