‘t Nonnetje ** | Harderwijk (NL)

An outstanding lunch of stellar dishes, with vegetables playing a key part in Portuguese influenced modern classics!

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I get lucky. Like last year October, when I won a 3-course lunch for four at restaurant ‘t Nonnetje on Instagram! I asked Joanne, my eldest son Jan and best friend Carin to join me. Later than anticipated (the Covid situation didn’t help), we enjoyed the prize two weeks ago.

I love the atmospheric and intimate interior of the restaurant. I still remember our last visit well (see that review here), too long ago I might add! But as it was a beautiful summer afternoon, we sat outside on the terrace on the historic Vischmarkt in the old city centre of Harderwijk. My favourite part of Harderwijk, which seems to come straight from a 18th century postcard.

‘t Nonnetje was opened by Robert-Jan Nijland in 1998 and Head Chef since 2006 is Michel van der Kroft. The restaurant received it’s first Michelin Star in 2004 under Michel’s predecessor. The change of chefs caused a loss of the star in the 2007 Michelin Guide, but it was regained two years later. In 2015 the second star followed, which they still hold. Besides local products, Michel van der Kroft has a great love for everything Portuguese. That love was fueled when he met his future Portuguese wife Maria do Céu 29 years ago, who he married 8 years later.

‘t Nonnetje is open for dinner on Tuesday to Saturday and for lunch on Wednesday to Saturday. Besides à la carte, they offer Menu the Temptation (from 2 courses at €55 to 6 courses at €135), Menu the Temptation Botanical (from 2 courses at €50 to 6 courses at €110) and Michel’s Masterchef Menu (5 courses at €135 to 6 courses at €155).

As said, the prize of the Instagram contest was a 3-course lunch. It even turned out to be an all-inclusive lunch! So with champagne to start, accompanying wines and coffee included. Lucky me!

Toast Sardine

A beautiful amuse bouche arrived, when we were enjoying our champagne. Toasted sourdough with blowtorched sardine and gel of red and yellow bell peppers, topped with garden cress. Nice wink to Portugal, where grilled sardines is one of the national dishes. Lovely clean flavours. Excellent!

Financier with Black Olive, Tomato & Lovage

Joanne doesn’t eat cold fish, so a different amuse for her. A light and moist almond financier, with a crisp eggshell-like crust, black olive, tomato and a foam of lovage. Lovely!

Carrot, Tandoori, Goat Yoghurt, Tarragon & Naan

I thought the first course was coming, but it turned out to be another amuse bouche! Coloured carrots in different preparations, with a tandoori spiced juice, smooth goat yoghurt ice cream, tarragon vinaigrette and naan bread. An absolute joyful mouth pleaser!

Pão de Michel & Butter

Pão de Michel (Michel’s bread) is a Sourdough spelt bread and the only bread served at ‘t Nonnetje. Nice texture and a great crust. Served with a raw milk farmers butter and an extra virgin olive oil. Portuguese of course

Salmon, Escargots, Dill & Cauliflower

The first course looked like a rainbow of summer, with colours that tantalised just by it’s visual appeal. House-smoked salmon, with cauliflower varieties. Soothing purple-white crème was particularly nice. Serious and powerful dill ice cream. Escargots, from Slow Escargot snail farm, in dill butter, piccalilly and raw cauliflower shavings. Gorgeous pairing of flavours!

Gazpacho “Nonnetje style”

Joanne got a deconstructed gazpacho. “Nonnetje style”. Merlot vinegar marinated vine tomatoes. Tomato shaped tomato mousse, with a tomato jelly skin, gel of yellow and red bell peppers, bread croutons, sweet and sour impregnated cucumber and a cucumber package filled with popped bell pepper. A bursting with flavour gazpacho sorbet on a crunch of dried black olives. Actual gazpacho is poured on the plate at the table. Gazpacho extraordinaire!

Bitoque à Portuguesa

Second course was Bitoque à Portuguesa (Portuguese steak). Chef Michel came at the table to show how the steaks were cooked. Some mouthwatering beef tenderloins in the frying pan he brought with him. The steaks are fried in olive oil, with garlic and bayleaf. The frying juices are used as seasoning of the dish, like the garlic simmered in the gravy and the lacquered aubergine. The runny egg yoke of the fried egg is like a second sauce. Lovely harmonious and comforting flavours. The waffle crisps on the side were scrumptious as well!

Dame Blance

Dame Blanche for dessert. No vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, but a true white lady according to the original recipe by Auguste Escoffier. Velvety almond milk ice cream, crisp tangy lemon sorbet, white peach poached in vanilla syrup and white currants. Espuma of almonds, vinaigrette of peach and vanilla oil, sudachi gel (Japanese citrus), crunchy citrusy merengue, garnished with white flowers. Perfectly balanced summer dessert, with contrasting flavours magically coming together. Genius!

Heavenly Mud

Then the licking spoons with heavenly mud came out! Chocolate mousse with double espresso intensifying the chocolate taste. Naughty but nice!

Pastel de Nata

Coffees couldn’t be with a pastel de nata. The custard tarts are the national pastry of Portugal and baked fresh for every lunch and dinner. Chef Michel showed us the unbaked tarts, filling them with the custard at the table. Fresh cinnamon was grated over the crisp, puff pastry filled with creamy custard, when they were served. Perfect!


To finish some house-made sweets. Canelé, with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelised crust, a delicate lemon verbena macaron, and a cherry bonbon.

Excellent service, lead by sommelier Edger Groeneveld, contributing to an enjoyable and approachable atmosphere. Great to see Michel van der Kroft coming out of his kitchen frequently. An enthusiastic Head Chef, proud of his creations. And so he should be!

An outstanding lunch of stellar dishes. I truly loved every dish and couldn’t fault any of them. Inspiring dishes with refined finesse, with vegetables playing a key part in Portuguese influenced modern classics. Thanks everyone! It was a genuine privilege. And so said all of us!