Villa Beukenhof | Oegstgeest (NL)

We had a lovely dinner, sitting outside in the garden on a beautiful summer evening.
But it’s the details that count!

On a warm Summer day last August we head to the city of Oegstgeest. A green oasis next to Leiden and about 15 minutes from Schiphol Airport. Apperently a lot of famous writers live and used to live in Oegstgeest, hence it’s nickname Schrijversdorp (Writers Village). One of those writers (Jan Wolkers) even wrote a book about it, called “Terug naar Oegstgeest” (Back to Oegstgeest). Mandatory literature when I was at college!

We arrive at Villa Beukenhof, a boutique hotel & restaurant in Oegstgeest. It was called De Beukenhof, when it first opened in 1948 and the history of this building goes way back to when it was an inn in the old ages. Actually this year they celebrate its 505th birthday!
The restaurant has quite the reputation as well. Awarded two Michelin stars in 1957 and kept one of two stars most of the years up to 1995, when they went bust.
The last time I was here was about 20 years ago and it was quite a posh place those days with a lovely garden. That flair faded a bit as the outside of the villa and garden clearly need some TLC (tender love and care).

Who hasn’t lost that flair is owner Erwin Rozendal (57). A flamboyant entrepreneur, with an extensive track record in hospitality, who bought the villa 26 years ago. After a bankruptcy in November 2014, Erwin managed to keep controle of the place and re-opened with a new name (Villa Beukenhof) early 2016,
During dinner, Erwin honored us with a, much appreciated, chat at the table, switching instantly to fluent English as soon as he realised Joanne was British. A man of the world.

Chef Bert Koster runs the kitchen. A local lad who started his career at several restaurants in the area. Amongst them Michelin starred restaurant De Moerbei in Warmond, where he spent a year as an apprentice. In 2017 Bert headed to Melbourne, Australia, where he worked almost two years as Chef de partie for Rockpool group by Neil Perry. After that, Bert worked as a freelance chef for four years, until he joined Villa Beukenhof in March 2020.

For my birthday I got two Social Deal vouchers from my parents for a dinner at Villa Beukenhof. The vouchers were for a 5-course dinner, an amuse and a glass of bubbles.
We had dinner about a month ago on a Tuesday. On arrival we were given a special Social Deal menu with a number of options per course. We had dinner outside as the weather was lovely that day.


With our glass of bubbly, the amuse was served. Cauliflower mousse with saffron on a crispy cracker topped with a crème of red curry. Tasty little bite.

Bread & Butter

Seeded bread rolls, probably from the local baker. That slice of butter on a plate isn’t a very luxury presentation! Surely they can do better than that.


The starter was burrata with green asparagus, fregola pasta, tomato and basil oil. The burrata was ok, but needed seasoning. Black pepper and salt were on the table, so we could add it ourselves, which helped a lot. The fregola pasta, also known as Sardinian couscous was a nice addition with notes of nuttiness. I would have added some lemon zest I think, as this dish really needed something to lift the flavours up.


Next a vichyssoise. A traditional French soup which is typically served cold. But this one was served warm. A creamy leek and potato soup with crème fraîche, smoked eel, herring roe and chives. Nice taste, especially with the smoked eel, which added a lot of flavour.


The next course was a spoom of champagne. A spoom normally is a refreshing drink served to neutralize the taste buds in between dishes. Typically made from sorbet ice cream with a sparkling wine. This spoom however was all foam and luke warm like a sabayon of little taste. You can’t call this a course by the way.

Catch of the Day

For mains we chose two different dishes. The “Catch of the Day” was cod, pan-fried with sweet potato puree, some greens, noodles and a cream sauce. Nice cuisson of the fish and a pleasant dish to eat.

Fillet of Beef (€9,50 supplement)

The other main we choose was a dry aged fillet of beef. Grilled nicely to a medium-rare with sweet potato puree, some greens and a great red wine sauce with a nice shine to it. It came with a supplement of €9,50. A bit cheeky as the fillet of beef costs only €5,00 more than the catch of the day on the standard à la carte menu!
We also ordered some chips at a €5,00 supplement.


Dessert was strawberry & tarragon sorbet, with fresh strawberries, white chocolate mouse and some crunchy granola. The sorbet was nice, but the tarragon wasn’t there. Just call it strawberry sorbet and you’re fine. Actually, I would add a tarragon syrup or a strawberry sauce, as the dish really needs something to tie the elements together.

Cheeseboard (€6,00 supplement)

Joanne went for the cheeseboard. Five generous pieces of cheeses with strawberry compote and nut bread. It came with a detailed taste card. First time I’ve seen this, but not a bad idea. Unfortunately, it was all in Dutch and as Joanne still doesn’t know a word of Dutch (!?!), some translation was needed.

Service was adequate, although not very consistent. Some servers were friendly and explaining the dishes well, others were mumbling uncomfortably or saying nothing while putting the plate down. Some coaching would be good.

We had a lovely dinner, sitting outside in the garden on a beautiful summer evening. But somehow it felt like going back in time a bit. It’s still a charming garden, but the lack of maintenance is taking over, like the outside of the building, which is the first impression right?

Same goes for the food. Can’t say it’s too outdated, although that spoom needs to go! But it’s the details that count. It won’t take much to elevate the standard of the dishes, to modernize them, improved the quality and presentation. At the moment it looks like cost price is driving the menu.
I did have a look at their normal menu. But I have to say that the prices on the à la carte menu are pushing the boundaries. That fillet of beef dish at €37,50 is definitely overpriced. However the Social Deal voucher we had, (which was €37,50 for the menu, including a glass of bubbles) is pretty good value. Apparently this is the way they want to go, as I see them appear on a lot of similar website offers.

Villa Beukenhof has to make a choice. Go for the cheap option, get rid of the à la carte and focus on bargain seeking customers. Or take advantage of the potential of the place, focus on improvements and bring back the grandeur  I remember from 20 years ago! It feels a shame not to, as I think Villa Beukenhof could be so much more!