Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Netherlands - FG Food Lab

I'm always interested in molecular gastronomy. The last time I did it was when I was doing my bachelor studies in the US. I bought a molecular gastronomy kit and made some green tea "caviars" using alginate. And then applied the same concept again for my product development project, making blueberry "caviars". It's a bit tricky because it's acidic, but I had a lot of fun.

Some time ago, I was talking to one of my colleagues at work, and she mentioned FG Food Lab. So, hey, it's restaurant week, let's try it out!

Not a big fan of the setting, to be honest. It gives me a bit of a 'cold' feeling. Maybe it's just because I like cozy, warm places.

I don't really like sitting on tall stools, especially for dinner. It makes me somewhat not able to focus on what I'm eating. Maybe it's nicer when you have at least one companion with you. But anyways, the ambiance was okay.

Ok, settings aside, let's talk about the main reason I came here for: the food.

I know that the concept of molecular gastronomy is to have gastronomy experience in a different way, but I feel that putting bread on a bowl not very appealing. I love the olive oil bottle, although it's not the most practical container to use. And again, I love the fact that they're trying to make you interact with the food, containers or utensils more. I had to grate my own Himalayan rock salt.

There is no difference in price for lunch and dinner with the restaurant week deal, so, yes, this time it was a dinner after work. I had the same 3-course menu.

As a start, the starters (forgive the puny joke): steenbolk (a type of cod - also known as pouting) with red beet and lentils.

I love the presentation of the red beet and lentils very much, although the moment I saw the fried fish, my first reaction is "Oh God, this is so Dutch, deep frying everything, even mussels". The red beet cream was made with centrifugation technique. I have a mixed reaction about this dish because I generally hate beets, but I love the way the fish was cooked. The flavour was rich and it's juicy. I'd give this a 3 out of 5, but bear in mind that especially for this dish, my hate for beets need to be considered.

Next on the menu: pork belly and pumpkin, prepared in three ways: chutney, sweet and sour, and tuille.

This was fantastic. The pork belly as very succulent and flavourful, and it went very well with the pumpkin. This was my favourite dish from the 3-course menu here. It's a mix of tangy, creamy, savoury, crunchiness... it was a great dish. I'd give 4 out of 5 for this.

And finally, the dessert: bread pudding with citrus.

Sadly, I was quite disappointed with this. I don't eat bread pudding that often, but I don't think it should be served lukewarm. The citrus ice cream on top was alright, but somehow it just disconnected with the bread pudding. It's like there's no harmony in there. The presentation was alright, but again... it was below my expectation. I don't like to give bad reviews, but I've got to give this 2.5 out of 5. If you eat things separately, it's not too bad, but that's not the point of combining things together in one dish.

My experience here was not quite exciting, but I think it's because I ordered the discounted menu. Typically, molecular gastronomy restaurants are never cheap; I think 27.50 euros is too cheap for a 3-course molecular gastronomy menu.

Maybe I'll come back to try the normal menu again some time before I leave Rotterdam. Better start saving some money from now!

FG Food Labs
Katshoek 41
3032 AE, Rotterdam
Ph: +31 (0)10 425 0520
Websites: and

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