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The unsurprising dish of the day at Basilica

The unsurprising dish of the day at Basilica The unsurprising dish of the day at Basilica

Photographer:Fotograaf: Kate Surala

Work like a slave, eat like a king

As you enter the Vrijthof, one of the most beautiful squares in the Netherlands, the first thing you see is the carmine red St John’s Tower and the impressive Basilica of Saint Servatius. Directly opposite its namesake lies the restaurant and bar Basilica. There is a cheerful atmosphere in the restaurant, and a sense that most of the people already have been there before. Around 20 tables, including outside ones with overhead heating, are arranged just efficiently enough to feel cosy rather than crowded. The second floor is more private, ideal for private talks or parties.

Since I see challenges as opportunities, I blindly picked the ‘dish of the day’. At this the waiter dashed off to the kitchen to find out what the dish of the day actually was. I’d understand not knowing the daily specials at 11:00, but being caught off guard at 13:00 strikes me as bizarre. My lunch turned out to be a sour beef stew with homemade apple sauce, salad and French fries. This was in fact listed as a regular dish on the lunch menu, but for three euros more than I paid (€15.90). This lack of creativity on the part of Basilica’s chef left me feeling disappointed – was there even a dish of the day?

My meal was served quickly, but it took some time before the additional ketchup arrived. The stew came with cooked carrots and numerous chunks of tender, cartilaginous beef, neither thick nor fatty. I imagine that the meat was cut from near the joints of the bones to make the most of the expensive portion of beef. That said, the meat was well cooked. By contrast, the sauce was not sour at all; instead it was quite sweet thanks to all those carrots, and I’d bet it contained a not insignificant dash of wine that made it even sweeter. Overall, it combined well with fresh, crispy fries.

I couldn’t figure out whether the homemade apple sauce was a dessert or a sauce to dip my fries in, and in any event I couldn’t bring myself to eat it because it would have made the dish even sweeter. On the upside, however, the heavy taste of the stew was balanced by a refreshing salad full of tomatoes, pine nuts, sprouts and fresh herbs served in a separate bowl.

Overall, there’s a lot of value to be found on Basilica’s menu, which makes it well worth the occasional wait for a free table.

Kate Surala

-> Basilica, Vrijthof 15a, www.basilicamaastricht.nl

 

My menu

 

Dish of the day

 €12.50

 

 

 

 

Every week Kate Surala, master's student of European Public Affairs and student tutor at the Faculty of Law, reviews a restaurant, coffee bar, catering shop or 'to go' in Maastricht.

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