Chez Brochard | Harderwijk (NL)

French classics with a personal twist, with dishes showing quality cooking with finesse delivering palette pleasing flavours!

I turned 50 this month and, as a present, my best friend and wine-buddy Carin invited Joanne and I to dinner. We went to Chez Brochard. Located at the historical shipyard in the old harbour area of Harderwijk, Chez Brochard promises classic French cuisine with a personal twist.

When we arrived at the address, we saw that it was Restaurant Bij Oost – Chez Brochard. A bit puzzling, but let me try to explain. Koos and Esther Brochard acquired restaurant Veluvia last January and re-opened it as Bij Oost on the 1st of February. Since 2014 they also owned restaurant Klein Parijs (Little Paris) in the city centre. A restaurant that received a Bib Gourmand from Michelin the last three years. They moved restaurant Klein Parijs from the 1st of February to the new location and renamed it Chez Brochard. Bij Oost is open from lunchtime and offers lunch, high teas and high wines, drinks with nibbles and dinner. Chez Brochard is the more fine dining restaurant only offering dinner. It’s presented as a “living room” restaurant acting as a popup within Bij Oost, as you can have dinner at different locations within restaurant Bij Oost. Still following me?

Chez Brochard is open from Tuesday to Saturday for dinner only. No à la carte menu here, but a Madame B. menu, where you decide the number of courses and the chef does the rest (3 courses at €35, 4 courses at €41, 5 courses at €47 and 6 courses at €54). Or the Monsieur B. menu, a 3-course set menu (at €37), choose between two starters, two mains and two desserts. Currently the 3-course menus are only offered on Tuesday to Thursday.

We had dinner two weeks ago on a Thursday and went for the 5-course Madame B. menu. It was a beautiful summer evening, so we sat outside on the terrace overlooking the old harbour of Harderwijk.

Bread & Butter

Some bread and butter to start us of with. Soft buns with a brioche like sweetness and lightly salted butter.

Mackerel, Couscous, Almonds, Watermelon & Mint

Couscous, spiced with chilli and coriander, blow torched mackerel, almond crumbs, watermelon and mint mayonaise. Couscous was nice on it’s own as well. Clean flavours with mint playing a key part in highlighting the tastes. Never overpowering the fresh mackerel. Refreshing and delicious!

Mussels, Cauliflower, Curry & Nasturtium

Tasty meaty mussels in a crème of cauliflower, curry mayo and nasturtium leaves. Garnished with cauliflower crisps and grated raw cauliflower. The cauliflower crème with a hint of curry was dark in flavour and a nicely complementing the plump mussels. Clever dish!

Monkfish, Black Rice Risotto, Oyster Mushrooms & Beetroot

Well seasoned black rice risotto, with tasty monkfish cheeks, oyster mushrooms and pickled beetroot slices. Risotto could have been more creamier, but worked well with the meaty monkfish. Beetroot adding a bit of freshness to the dish. Nice!

Hanger Steak, Savoy, Potato & Chickpea

Beef hanger steak (the most tender cut on a cow, aside from the tenderloin), well cooked, well seasoned and beautifully pink. Some wilted savoy cabbage, chickpea puree, crispy potato sticks. Proper sticky gravy, a bit over reduced, but tasty. Nothing stood out really, but a lovely combination. Soothing flavours and tastes.

Orange & Tarragon Ice Cream, Strawberry & Almonds

Picture is not the best I’m afraid. Had to use the flash and the colours are a bit off. Orange and tarragon ice cream had a nice texture, but the combination was a bit weird. The strawberries were hard and lacking taste, so didn’t help with the enjoyment. The almond crisps couldn’t save the dish either. I’m sorry, but this dessert didn’t do it for me.

Service is great and informal. Koos Brochard is an excellent host and an enthusiastic gospeller of the Chez Brochard concept, the produce they use and the wines they offer. All contributing to a wonderful night out.

I can see why Michelin awarded this kitchen with a Bib Gourmand, which stands for good quality, good value restaurants (a 3-course meal should cost no more than €39). The value for money here is excellent. Even more important, the food is great too.

The first two dishes really stood out for me. The mackerel & couscous and the mussels & cauliflower dishes both showed quality cooking with finesse delivering palette pleasing flavours. The promised concept of French classics with a personal twist is also crystal clear in these dishes. Not as much in the other courses though and dessert definitely needs some attention.
Having two restaurants in one, makes it even more important to be bold in your signature, so the one really stands out from the other. And to stand out from the crowd I might add. Chez Brochard certainly has the potential to make that happen and I wish them all the best on that journey. We will be back!