Tucked away in a tiny alley off Noordeinde, in the heart of The Hague, Restaurant Mazie is a pure gem that deserves several visits. The place is small but very popular. Getting a reservation took me some time. It was a good sign.
We felt right at home with the owner and host warmly greeting us as we stepped into the crowded restaurant. Koen Cramer, a lover of fine cuisine and wine, opened Mazie restaurant in 2010. A homy atmosphere, bottles of spirits from around the world on the main wall, we were off to a good start. On our first visit, we went for the four course surprise menu. This time, the chef was redoing his entire carte so we opted for the five-course surprise menu. It comes with the option of a wine pairing, which we ordered. Our culinary evening was going to be adventurous. Expect your tastebuds to go on a flavorful rollercoaster!
The chef, Takis Panagakis, is a talented and dynamic young chef. He loves to experiment, associating different flavors, combining various textures, creating artful, colorful and tasteful dishes. Fusion food is at its best here.
Surprises, Surprises, Surprises…
Our mystery menu started with two amuse-bouches that whet our appetite. Our first fish dish – raw monk fish with black garlic crispies, peas, and a basil espuma – was so delicate and refreshing.
When the waiter put the next plate in front of me, I really wasn’t sure about it. Octopus! Eel! I never was a big fan, but luckily it was a revelation. The octopus was cooked to perfection, firm but not chewy. The smoked eel had such a fine texture and a delicate taste. White asparagus, a crusty shell filed with octopus and black olive tapenade. Everything was delightful. Two meat dishes followed. A cut of ribeye with crunchy vegetables and a delicious red pepper sauce. The beef had a ‘je ne sais quoi’ taste, tender inside and glazed on the outside — out-of-this-world. The second plate was a succulent piece of lamb served with a crunchy cone stuffed with lamb tongue -yes, you read that right – and a citrus creme. Divine!
Desserts, Sweets, and Miniatures…
Our culinary journey was not over. Sweets were coming our way. After a tasty amuse-bouche, the rhubarb strawberry dessert was very creative and mouthwatering. The Chef unveiled his origins using a Greek alcohol, Skinos, to create a very inventive combination of flavors and textures. Once again, we were blown away by so much inventiveness and talent. With tea and coffee came more imaginative mignardises. By that time we were just in another world, trying to digest what we just ate and witnessed.
There is no question in my mind. I will be back to feel the warm welcome of Koen Cramer and his staff and uncover the deliciousness of chef Panagakis’ cuisine. I am ready to be swept off my feet, one more time.