Beluga ** | Maastricht (NL)

A unique culinary collaboration with a best of two chefs menu.
Love the “old” Beluga and the “new” one needs to refine his signature!

Beluga is situated along the river Maas in the wonderfully indulgent and refined city of Maastricht in the most Southern part of the Netherlands. Opened by Chef Patron Hans ten Wolde in 1997, the restaurant always received outstanding ratings from the various culinary lists. Beluga was awarded with it’s first Michelin star in 1998 and the second followed in 2005, which they still hold.

We visited Beluga at a very special time, the last week of August. Two months before Hans van Wolde announced that he sold Beluga to Servais Tielman, Head Chef of Cucina del Mondo * in Heerlen, who worked for Hans as a Sous Chef in the past.
Before the handover of the restaurant, the Michelin starred chefs worked together in a unique culinary collaboration. The best dishes of both chefs merged together in one menu, which they cooked together in July and August.

After having been Chef of Beluga for 22 years, it was time for a new adventure for Hans van Wolde. In 2020, he will open restaurant Brut 172 in Reijmerstok. Within a small, intimate setting, Hans will go back to the “primal cuisine”. With vegetables and herbs from the garden and products from the local area.

Servais Tielman has been at the helm of Cucina del Mondo for five years. In 2016, he received his first Michelin star as a chef at Cucina del Mondo. Before Servais started there, he worked at De Leuf ** in Ubachsberg and at De Librije *** in Zwolle. Thereafter, he was a sous chef at Restaurant Toine Hermsen ** in Maastricht, Castle Terworm in Heerlen and Beluga **; to which he will now return as a next step in his culinary career.

Beluga is open from Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. The Best of Both Menu was the only option when we had dinner there 6 weeks ago. A 7-course menu (at €105), also offered as an All-inclusive menu (at €175), including wine pairing, mineral water and coffee.

We stayed the night in Maastricht, so went for the all-inclusive option, as I didn’t have to drive afterwards. We were served 4 amuse bouches, of which 2 from Hans van Wolde (HvW) and 2 from Servais Tielman (ST). The 7 courses were also split between the two chefs.

Gin & Tonic
Gin & Tonic

It was a beautiful summer day, so we had our aperitif outside on the terrace, overlooking the river Maas. Discovered a gin and a tonic I didn’t know yet. Nice!

Mushroom Muffin with Gulpener Mustard
Mushroom Muffin with Gulpener Mustard -HvW-
Oliebol of Yoghurt & Caviar -ST-

The first amuses arrived as well. On the menu it said Egg from Reijmerstok with Gulpener Mustard, but instead we got a mushroom muffin, with some mustard and a slice of raw mushroom on top. Lovely, moist savoury cake. The mushroom giving a truffle-like flavour., Very nice!
An oliebol is like a fried donut, which is typically made and eaten on New Year’s Eve in The Netherlands. This version is particularly light because of the yoghurt and indulgent with the caviar. Excellent start!

After the first amuses we went inside into the trendy dining room, with light panels on the wall, which changed colours all the time. Nice, but played tricks with the colour scheme of my photos!

Hit Me!
Hit Me! -HvW-

One of Hans van Wolde’s classic dishes. Parmesan cream with basil and tomato. Powerful taste and love the clear and clean flavours. Just plain delicious!

Focaccia Sticks
Focaccia Sticks

Fried focaccia sticks to go with the amuses. Nice twist on toast or standard focaccia.

Caprese 2.0
Caprese 2.0 -ST-

Servais Tielman’s version of cheese, tomato and basil is this Caprese 2.0. Ultra creamy house-made cheese, with tomato puree and basil. Strong Mediterranean taste. Tomato puree a bit too much. Prefer the Hit Me take on caprese.

Oyster Ice Cream
Oyster Ice Cream
Lime Pickled no. 1 Oyster

The first course was a celebration of the oyster, In the glass, intense flavoured oyster ice cream, granité of celery with lime and seaweed and algae crumble. In the shell, a cut-up lime pickled oyster with sea vegetables. Beautifully fresh with hibiscus ice pearls, yuzu and a bit of rettich (like radish). Excellent and different!


Salmon instead of the oyster for Joanne, as she doesn’t eat cold fish or shellfish. With kind of the same accondiments that I had with the oyster. Granité of celery, sea vegetables and the hisbiscus ice pearls. Pure summer freshness on the plate.

Bread & Butter
Bread & Butter

Freshly baked and slightly warm sourdough bread with a smooth beurre noisette.

Carabineros with Briny Greens & Dutch Soy
Carabineros with Briny Greens & Dutch Soy -HvW-

A carpaccio of raw carabineros (a large deep-sea prawn), with fresh ginger, kohlrabi and briny greens. Miso gel from dark wheat and a fermented soy sauce to add a bold flavour touch to the delicate prawn taste. Giving the dish a pleasant Asian feel. Clever dish!

Carabineros with Briny Greens & Dutch Soy
Carabineros with Briny Greens & Dutch Soy -HvW-

Joanne basically got the same dish, but with cooked carabineros and the kohlrabi in a different shape. The tastes and flavour work and give the same enjoyment as my dish, regardless of the different texture of the prawns. Excellent.

MRIJ Dapple Red Cow, Umeboshi & Seaberries
MRIJ Dapple Red Cow, Umeboshi & Seaberries
Beef jelly, Barley & Un-yeasted Beer

Well seasoned beef from MRIJ dapple red cows (a breed that origins from a part of The Netherlands, which is enclosed by three rivers: Maas, Rijn and IJssel. Hence MRIJ). Fruity sweetness from umeboshi (pickled ume fruits common in Japan, related to apricots) and seaberries. And some fermentation flavours from brewers’ grain and yeast.
In the little bowl some parsley leaves, beef stock jelly with mustard seeds, barley, un-yeasted beer and horseradish. Didn’t really get this part and also not why it was served separately. Would have worked better maybe when everything was served on one plate. But for me there were just way to many elements which don’t necessarily all work together.

Steamed Sole with Pumpkin Curry
Steamed Sole with Pumpkin Curry -HvW-

Steamed Dover sole was moist and seasoned beautifully. Pickled shallot and citrus to enhance the fish. Loved the pumpkin curry foamy sauce with mild sweet spices. Excellent flavour package. Clear tastes and not too complex. Yet enough elements to make it interesting. A calling card of a great experienced chef! Perfect dish, ticking a lot of my boxes!

Heilbot buik I gerijpte eidooier I as van prei I shisoblad
Heilbot buik I gerijpte eidooier I as van prei I shisoblad -ST-

The next course came in two servings. First a small bite of halibut belly sashimi (Joanne’s was cooked), with leek ash and ripened egg yoke grated over it. A flowery and herby shiso leaf to pick up the halibut belly and eat together. Nice taste with gently smokiness from the leek.

43° Halibut, Lovage & Dashi Beurre Blanc
43° Halibut, Lovage & Dashi Beurre Blanc -ST-

Then halibut, which was poached at 43°C. Lovely flaky texture. Lovage and leek work very well with the halibut. Pickled fennel is a great addition with crunch and freshness. A dashi beurre blanc ties the dish together. Nice harmony of the flavours. Love it.

Bresse pigeon in all it's parts
Bresse pigeon in all it’s parts -ST-

Bresse pigeon in three ways. The breast was cooked beautifully, the pigeon sausage was delicious and tasted a bit like black pudding and the little wing was very tasty, but a bit dry. Garden peas, forest mushrooms and charred onion were pleasant garnishes and the bold jus was packed with flavour. Very enjoyable!

Crème of Salted Caramel, Fresh Coffee Crunch & Lemongrass ice cream
Crème of Salted Caramel, Fresh Coffee Crunch & Lemongrass ice cream -HvW-

Lemongrass ice cream was very delicious, with mint and djeruk (kaffir lime leaf). Fresh coffee crunch with bits of peanuts and salted caramel merengue discs and cream. Lovely sweet strawberry jus. Didn’t get the strawberry sponge on top. Looked and tasted like cotton…. Other than that a tasty dessert. Presentation could be better, compared to the previous dishes.


We went outside again to have our coffee (hence the poor picture quality). With the coffee came an array of sweetness. A chocolate and rhubarb bonbon, the Beluga chocolate bar (like a Snickers, Lion and Mars bar in one!), Baileys and popcorn, a strawberry macaron and madeleines.

Chocolate Russian Roulette
Chocolate Russian Roulette

And then the waiter came with a box, with a handgun, a shooting target and 36 chocolate bullets. 2/3 of the chocolate bullets were salted caramel and 1/3 loaded with chilli. And you could pick one…. I was “lucky” and picked a chilli one. Joanne picked a good one, but tried the chilli one afterwards as well. I can confirm, they were hot!

We had a great evening and enjoyed the restaurant, the atmosphere and, not in the least, the food. It really was a special dinner, with the menu being the best of two chefs. Both chefs definitely have their own style and the difference is very visible in the dishes.

Hans van Wolde’s dishes are well balanced and you just feel the experience of the chef. Less is more and not to many frills on the plate., which results in pure and natural flavours. The steamed sole and the carabineros being the highlights of that. I love the “old” Beluga and look forward to Hans’ new venture!

Servais Tielman’s approach seems almost the opposite. A lot of elements on every plate in search of unusual combinations. Sometimes it works (like the oyster dish and the 43° Halibut) and sometimes it doesn’t (like the beef). It’s difficult to describe Servais’ style and it feels like the “new” Beluga just needs to refine his signature. Curious to see how this will evolve!