Calla, a Mexican lily, also means beauty in Greek. In Restaurant Calla’s, beauty reveals itself in many ways – the lovely flower inspired the purity of its chic decor and every plate is delicately presented creating succulent memories. No wonder Restaurant Calla’s has been a key player on The Hague’s food scene for the past 15 years. In 2002, it received a Michelin Star, a well deserved prize.
Tucked on a side street close to a typical Dutch canal, the restaurant is housed in a 19th century commercial building, resembling a coachhouse from the exterior. As soon as you step inside, you feel as if you have entered a different time, far from the noise and the indifference of the street, secluded and discreet. This is exactly how I felt after going through the door of this establishment for a special dinner with my husband.
Sommelier Frank van Scheijndel greeted us with discretion and professionalism. In the open kitchen located on the main floor, the cooking crew was following Chef Marcel van der Kleijn’s lead. I could have stayed there all night, watching their expert gestures and the incessant ballet of pots, pans and plates, but I was too eager to taste the spectacular dishes they were putting together.
We followed the sommelier up the elegant staircase, crowned with a modern and sleek balustrade, to the main room located on the first floor. The purity of the shades (white, cream, ivory) and the soft textures (glass, wood, organza, linen, slate and chrome) compose an atmosphere of intimacy and serenity. I loved how the tables were placed far away from each other, creating an intimate and romantic bubble for each seating. The deep brown of the walls creates an even more contrasted and cosy atmosphere. You will find no frills here but a chic interior with organic accents to complement the Chef’s contemporary cooking.
Maître D’ Bianca Fellinger presented us with the menu choices. We chose the 6-course Allure menu, for its inventiveness and seasonality. It also seemed the perfect option to experience the extent of the Chef’s cuisine. The enormous wine selection, with a predisposition for French wines, is in perfect harmony with the Chef’s cooking. Restaurant Calla’s puts emphasis on quality, purity, taste and freshness of the ingredients, to create classical dishes in the purest of French tradition with a creative twist.
Our culinary journey started with a surprising amuse-bouche of a salted panna cotta served in an egg à la coque, on a bed of black pebbles with a crunchy mouillette. The starter, a fresh seasonal salad, displayed bucolic splendor with delicate herbs, flower shaped white beetroot and shaved radishes. All ingredients came directly from the biodynamic herb and vegetable garden the restaurant owns in the dunes of Wassenaar. The monkfish was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The combined langoustine and black chicken on a brown jus was divine. What followed was a Texel lamb served with young carrot, a puffed potato, and white beetroot, on a bed of croquant fave beans. All the flavors worked so well together to bring out the tenderness of the meat and the freshness of the vegetables. The goat cheese was presented with cooked rhubarb and fig.
The finale came with the dessert, a lambada of strawberries, in different textures, shapes and pink hues. A pure delight for the eyes and our tastebuds. With the coffee came more friandises, home made nougat, coconut macaroon, raspberry financier, strawberry macaron and orange blossom mashmallow. An explosion of flavors to tickle our gluttony. By that time, we were in heaven, feeling delighted and at ease.
If you want to enjoy a meal in perfect intimacy and treat yourself with exquisite food that makes you whimper with delight, Restaurant Calla’s comes first in my mind. You will have to pay the price for this superb restaurant but it is worth every bite.
Restaurant Calla’s, Laan van Roos en Doom 51a, 2514 BC Den Haag, the Netherlands
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