Klooster Keuken in Haarlem

Hagestraat, 12
2011 CV Haarlem
Tel: 023 533 88 85
(be aware that the restaurant is open from Tuesday till Friday only!)
I am so excited by my dinner from last night that I need to tell you everything about it!!!!
For a long time, my good friend Chris was telling to go to a restaurant in Haarlem and finally, we went there yesterday night: De Klooster Keuken (Cluster Kitchen in English).
This hidden restaurant is located in the Spaarnebuurt in Haarlem, a very nice and lovely neighborhood surrounded by the Spaarne river and the canals.

The restaurant is around 2 very nice gardens, or clusters that provide nice views and light to the big dining rooms. You are welcome by some young waiters that bring you till the table passing by the kitchen where all young guys are working in a nice atmosphere. The building is more than 500 years old and was the widow Lysbeth Jan Bette Heinricxzoons legated her house in order to have it turned into a hospital for poor people. It was back in 1436. The hospital was dedicated to St James and offered a halt and recovery for pilgrims who were going to Santiago de Compostella. It served than as hospital, hospice, orphanage, and finally nursing home,... till 2000 when Perspectief group opened it as a cooking school!

I knew that all these young people where training. 
What I did not know is that De Klooster Keuken is a cooking school (depending on the Nova College). Not any kind of cooking school, though because the apprentice are young people who have failed in mainstream education and have a new opportunity to meet their professional qualifications and get work experience.
Isn't it a great project?

But now comes the best! The gastronomic experience!

The seasonal menu was really tempting,... I finally chose some courgette flower with mackerel mousse served with a a nice salad with dried tomatoes, pine nuts and a lemon dressing. The unusual presentation with some comestible flowers, was only the beginning! Flavors and texture were balanced and it was fresh and original.I really enjoyed it and was totally seduced. This is not that often that I find such great ingredients, prepared with care and love! This is the feeling I had when I tried it! It was far better than any other restaurants in Haarlem who pretend to be gastronomic!

The stock eye salmon served with a whole artichoke and tarragon mayonnaise was also outstanding! And the reaction of my friend Chris, was just perfect! : "wow,... this is the first time I have a whole artichoke served,... I don't even know how to eat it!" It was delicious!

For main, I went for the Irish lamb loin with vegetables and a nice gravey. My friend chose the farmer chicken stuffed with truffles and served with some peas and bacon with a peppery cream sauce,... delicious! Meats were perfectly cooked, and again flavors were really balanced.

You get some French fries as side dish,... organic potatoes, absolutely delicious with an homemade mayonnaise. I could not think that we can make that tasty fries!

For dessert, I chose the sherry clafoutis and my friend a tiramisu,... Again, perfectly done, both was like being at home,...and for me, this is the top mark!

We chose a glass of house wine for the starter, a white and then a carafe of red wine. Both very nice and fruity and quite balanced.

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