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The cow died twice: once in the slaughterhouse, once in the kitchen

The cow died twice: once in the slaughterhouse, once in the kitchen The cow died twice: once in the slaughterhouse, once in the kitchen

Photographer:Fotograaf: Kate Surala

Work like a slave, eat like a king

On the one hand, cooking a steak is tricky because you can’t see the inside when you serve it. It takes time, experience and knowledge. On the other hand, preparing French fries is easy: use the right potatoes, run them through the hot oil until they turn golden and taste a couple for good measure. What a pity that Grand Café De Perroen failed on both dishes.
First a positive word about the atmosphere. Seated in a beautiful, closed winter garden, I’m amazed by the huge glass windows and stylish plants reaching up to the sky. The candles smell like flowers on a late summer evening. From here, it all goes downhill.

When the depressed-looking waitress arrives at our table, I order a rump steak with pepper sauce and fresh vegetables accompanied by French fries. The waitress doesn’t bother to ask how I want the steak done, and before I open my mouth, she is gone. As we wait among the Thursday evening crowd, we suddenly smell the sharp odour of burnt food coming directly from the kitchen. Could it be my steak?
When it arrives, I follow Gordon Ramsay’s rule of thumb and test how the steak is done. Turn your hand and press on the top of your wrist: this is what a well-done steak feels like. A tad lower in between your bones and you get the feeling of a medium rare, and even lower on your arm rare. I try to love my steak, I really do, but I just can’t. Clearly the poor cow died twice: once in the slaughterhouse, once in the kitchen. The steak is so well done I can’t even cut it with the blunt knife I’ve been given. And with two dozen balls of pepper floating in my sauce, it looks as though the chef accidentally dropped half the pepper shaker in my dish. I try to cheer myself up with the fries, but they are dry and so hard that they almost resemble crisps. The only thing that saves the evening is the freshly cooked vegetables (bell pepper, spring onion, celery and leek).  

On a different visit I try Perroen’s Classic Burger, again with fries. It turns out to be mushy, with an excessive amount of liquid soaked up in the bun. Apparently the chef forgot to dry out the meat before putting the burger together. The fries – or perhaps I should say crisps – are again too dry and blunt. We are told we can take the leftovers home if we like. Thank you, but I’ll pass.

Kate Surala

-> Perroen, Vrijthof 34-35, www.perroen.nl

 

My menu

 

Rump steak

€16.90

Perroen's Classic Burger

€13.90

Glass of white wine

€3.80

 

 

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