Outstanding Oud Sluis

Sergio Herman is a true culinary artist and this is a write-up of a truly culinary perfection, foodwise.

During one of my spring visits to noma René (Redzepi) recommended me to go try Sergio Herman’s  reastaurant Oud Sluis in Holland, situated close to the Flemish border of Belgium. “I think this is something you will like”, he said.

I got totally curious and wanted to visit the place as soon as possible. I had in mind to drive down to Brittany and Olivier Roellinger, which I was introduced to by Julot and Laurent, and Oud Sluis could easily fit into the route of my summer trip. In the end it wasn’t possible to get reservations at Olivier Roellinger and so the alternate pit stop at In de Wulf saw light.

I looked at Oud Sluis’ website for accomodation near the restaurant and chose Else’s cosy Bed & Breakfast, Veerhoeve, where transport to and from the restaurant is included in the room rate. It seemed like the closest place to the restaurant at the time. Now Oud Sluis has opened it’s new guest house, though.

Beside my write-up below, also see Ingo‘s – he had a very similar meal only a few days after my visit.

Oud Sluis in the rain

Oud Sluis in the rain

Unfortunately is was a very rainy day, night and morning so I didn’t get to explore Elese’s beautiful and flowering garden. The reservation was at seven so we arranged with Else to drive us to the restaurant at five to. We got a table in the biggest one of the two rooms and walking towards my seat I saw a glimpse of Sergio in the kitchen looking out towards the dining room through a narrow window.

Crispy cicken with a mayonnaise of curry

Crispy chicken with a mayonnaise of curry

While studying the menu and the wine list, the appetizers started to roll in and I was offered a glass of Champagne without specification – it turned out to be a Jacques Lassaigne Blanc de Blanc NV which was nice but a little indifferent to me. Naturally, I had already decided to opt for the full menu, so the browsing of the card was more for the entertainment of it rather than the consideration.

The crispy chicken skin was thin as paper and very fatty, my fingers glinted after touching it, but the taste was finely balanced with salt and worked well with the curry dip.

Oyster cracker, salad of oyster, apple and fennel

Oyster cracker, salad of oyster, apple and fennel

The oyster cracker was a cold enjoyment, fruity in taste with sweetness also from the cracker, a delightful explosion and a startling beginning of an unforgettable evening.

Quinoa and lobster, cream of avocado and jalapeno

Quinoa and lobster, cream of avocado and jalapeno

Next amuse was a wonderful lobster with elements that formed a unity of a perfect tasting experience. Please note that this plate is Danish design by Georg Jensen.

Luke warm goose liver emulsion, sorbet of green apple

Luke warm goose liver emulsion, sorbet of green apple

An awesome emulsion followed and it was balanced with the acidity of the green apples and the freshness and crispiness of the green pea stalk.

Maatjes, different structures of salicorn and yuzu

Maatjes, different structures of salicorn and yuzu

Again a dish that presented an extremely high level of cooking and preparation. And yet it looks so deceitfully simple with ingredients casually dropped into the bowl. I have no further notes nor memory on this one, other than very tasty and very good.

Sushi of black radish, tuna and crispy foam of soy sauce

Sushi of black radish, tuna and crispy foam of soy sauce

The soy sauce was here, cleverly, a stiff foam instead of a juice. The quality of the tuna was outstanding and the flavours of little dainty was balanced with a sprinkle of green wasabi powder.

Razor clams, cream of chick peas and Moroccan eggplant

Razor clams, cream of chick peas and Moroccan eggplant

The seventh and last appetizer offered a delicious razor clam put into the little glass bowl. The shell was instead filled with the slight sour cream and the full flavoured eggplant. Excellent.

As this point I was so stunned by the fabrication that I found it hard to imagine that it could be any better. But it did.

Lightly smoked and marinated sardines, ice cooled and emulsion of artichoke, tartar of oyster and coffee-olive oil

Lightly smoked and marinated sardines, ice cooled
and emulsion of artichoke,
tartar of oyster and coffee-olive oil

The waiter informed me to take note of the biggest green leaf, which remarkably tasted just like an oyster. It was a pre-taster before the real thing would hit my senses. The sardines were of very high quality, restrained in taste and the coffee beans and the artichoke were great and took away the attention of the sardines. The not visible shaved lime peel was a brilliant touch. The dish was highly innovative, but it worked.

The food and furniture reflecting in the inside of the bowl also added sophistication visually.

Marinated langoustine, glazed lard and coffee-citrus-voastiperifery pepper

Marinated langoustine, glazed lard
and coffee-citrus-voastiperifery pepper

Langoustine cooked on a low temperature with homemade tofu, gel of sushi vinegar and green tea gomasio

Langoustine cooked on a low temperature with homemade tofu,
gel of sushi vinegar and green tea gomasio

A rich dish in flavour and at the same time refreshing and delighting.

Sea bass with smoked and caramelized eel, verbena-miso ninaigrette

Sea bass with smoked and caramelized eel,
verbena-miso vinaigrette

Next was the best sea bass I have ever eaten in my life, so juicy and incredibly tasty. The eel was magnificent in match and by itself, and the verbena-miso was not too overdosing but combined well with the other elements.

Turbot with cream of green peas, fish stock, aioli and churros

Turbot with cream of green peas, fish stock

… with churros and aioli

Yet another picturesque beauty in look, scent and taste. Excellent. It was, though, accompanied with turros and aioli. These were absolutely unnecessary and did not match the level of refinement offered in the other courses.

Anjou pigeon, sushi and cream of spring cabbage, due penotti of goose liver and crispy pistachio

Anjou pigeon, sushi and cream of spring cabbage,
due penotti of goose liver and crispy pistachio

I don’t think I’ll ever find myself madly in love with pigeon. However, this was very good and the accompanying foie gras yolk (the beige bubble) was astonishing and with a texture that didn’t make it float too much.

I couldn’t resist the cheese trolley but have no photo of it. I asked for regional cheeses and they were all nice but not exceptional in any way.

Now, on to the desserts:

Chocolate explosion

Chocolate explosion

The explosion here came of the waiter slamming the beige ball for the nougat/chocolate filling to escape. Very good.

Raspberry, rhubarb and camomile

Raspberry, rhubarb and camomile

Even better was the raspberry and rhubarb one. You know (I hope) how much I love rhubarbs and the use of acidic fruits with desserts. It was a fantastic dessert only to be followed by the final and sublime one.

Couscous of red fruit, aloe vera and soy milk

Couscous of red fruit, aloe vera and soy milk

When I read the text I didn’t associate it with a dessert at all and thought well okay let’s try it. At that point I had eaten chocolate, rhubarbs and raspberries, so if the third dessert would not please me it wouldn’t be so bad anyway. But this dessert turned out to be the very best of them and a marvellous crescendo from the more traditionally ingredient foundations to something I would never had imagined. I think this is the most intriguing dessert I have ever tried and it’s too complex to describe.

Most delicious lolli pop

Most delicious lolly pop

We asked for a set of different wines to accompany each course and they all appeared nice and harmonized with the food. It was and interesting composition and offered amongst others this lovely white Burgundy shown above. The sommelier was, like Sergio himself, globalised in his expression by for example serving sake with the cooked langoustine. The service, by the way, was friendly, not too formal. The meal was executed at high but adequate speed but also leaving an impression of a being smooth… machine.

It’s admirable how skilful and clever Sergio Herman combines not only products but also how he uses modern techniques. I mean, it’s not a show-off in innovative preparation. He has the talent to utilize the modern techniques to reach the point of expression he strives for. At least, this is the impression I was left with.

Somehow, it’s like the top-performing ice skater who utilizes the whole ice rink in her or his show – Sergio is covering the whole world in his creations either by look, sentiment or the product’s origin. The flavours are new and sophisticated and above all balanced each time.

Where Fat Duck was a show of what’s creatively possible, Oud Sluis is the aesthetic sense of beauty in perfectly balanced look and taste. Perfection, and even beyond perfection.

Oud Sluis is unique and unlike anything I have ever tried before. The complexity and exoticness of the food is seducing in every way. It touched my heart and stimulated my mind in an intoxicating way. I have to go back and justify to myself that this meal wasn’t an imagination.

I got the coffee and number of sweets and chocolate and then the bill where about 30% of the total was reduced for a reason unknown to the waiter. I asked for an oportunity of thanking Sergio for a marvellous experience, but he had left the restaurant at that point. Sergio’s brother then kindly drove us back to Veerhoeve.

The next morning Else brought us a lovely homemade breakfast of new, boiled eggs, excellent croissants and freshly pressed oranges and a good strong coffee and we settled the bill with her.

While packing the bags, Else suddenly returned to our room. The Maitre d’ from Oud Sluis had telephoned Else and was asking us to top by the restaurant because there was an issue with the bill – not specifying what the problem was. And so of course we made the detour and went back to the restaurant.

Maitre d’ met us at the door and explained that the reduction made to our bill was a mistake. He asked us to pay the remaining 30% of the total amount. And being nice people, so we did, of course. It remains my last impression of Oud Sluis…

René was right: I loved Oud Sluis.

17 Responses to “Outstanding Oud Sluis”

  • Please note that Oud Sluis is located in the city of Sluis, which is not in Holland, but in the Zeeuws-Vlaanderen region of the Zeeland province, The Netherlands. So it would be correct to say Oud Sluis in The Netherlands.

  • We are looking forward to enjoy your delicious food because we have seen
    an report on ARTE.TV

    Greetings from the south of germany


  • Trine,
    May be you can advise:
    For our 10th wedding anniversary (Nov 2010 / but the event can take place before that) , both my wife and I are planning to celebrate the event at a 3 Michelin star table. We have stopped our choice on either Old Sluis, Guy Savoy (Paris) or L’Osier (Tokyo). I wont bother you with GS and L’Osier but if you can advise for Old Sluis, we would highly appreciate:
    (1)What is the closest airport to Old Sluis? I do not drive. Only my wife drives, and frankly for a romantic travel I do not want her to bother with driving. I am planning to just take a plane and fly over to Amsterdam and from there, flying to a nearest local airport to Old Sluis.
    (2)We speak only French and English: do you think that this will be an issue?
    Many thanks, Trine.
    S Lloyd

  • Hi Nancy,
    Wow, lucky you! 🙂
    I would recommend Else’s bed & breakfast in the summer time (I have only been there once). In month of October I would prefer to be closer to the restaurant and Sluis centre. Laurent from Gastros on Tour http://gastrosontour.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/got-a-oud-sluis/ quite liked this hotel Dikke van Dale Sluis http://www.dikkevandalesluis.nl/english/index.html so I think I would try and book there.


  • Hi Trine. I have a reservation for Oud Sluis in October. Unfortunately, the guesthouse is not available. Would you have suggestions for where to stay? Many thanks in advance. Best, Nancy

  • Olaf,
    No, you’re right. Not many people has fine dining as their hobby. I know very few in Copenhagen. Most foodie friends have I found abroad. In Germany there is Ingo on High-End Food – Ingo has been to most of the ones on your list and to Sergio Herman as well.

    There are also a couple of forums:
    Opinionated About Dining

    Please do send me the photo to verygoodfood @ gmail dot com — I would be delighted to see it! 😀

  • Hello Trine,

    the Essigbrätlein do not have a home page and do no marketing, the two cooks Andre Köthe and Yves Ollech are exploring a lot, if you like to I send you a photo out of one book. Their recipes are so genious. If you would like to go there in the future, give me a call. In El Bulli I was very lucky in 2007 to get a table. I will keep my fingers crossed for you!!

    It is not that easy to find people, who are that enthusiastic for high end food. I only knew one friend here in Germany. Do you know many people, who share this hobby??



  • Hello Olaf

    Thank you so much for your nice comment and all your German recommendations, especially the Essigbrätlein one that is new to me. 🙂

    You have to tell how you managed to get a table at El Bulli!? I have just sent off my request for a reservation for 2009 and keep blogging with my fingers crossed the whole time 😉

    Yes, noma is special. I just hope I don’t give people too high expectations…

    Best from

  • Hi Trine,

    compliments for your very good blog and the excellent photos. We had the pere et fils menu in Oud Sluis last Thursday (October 23th) and it was quite impressing. I really like the restaurant, very creative courses ( Sergio Hermann plays with products, textures, tastes in such a perfect way) that I put him in a row with Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria). I visited the Fat Duck and El Bulli in 2007 and really liked the restaurants. This year my nicest restaurant visits were Philippe Rochat and Sergio Hermann. If you want some tips for Germany, this is my list:
    1) Essigbrätlein in Nürnberg (absolut genious cooking and for me one of the best restaurants in the world) **
    I went there 20 times and it is the restaurant I liked most in Germany (I think it is the same as you like the Noma ;-))))
    I like to go there, what you write about the Noma, sounds very good
    2) Christian Bau ***
    and Dieter Müller (Nils Henkel)***
    3) Moisonnier **
    4) Amador ***
    5) Sonora ***
    Please contact me for more details.

    Best regards from Munich

    Olaf and Dunja

  • Geez, Trine, what a post…. speachless.

    This is probably one of the best you’ve done, and the pictures are fantastic !

    This give me now more regrets because i had to cancel the booking i made there for end of this month as i’ll be at Alinea the same day 🙂 – didn’t pay attention when booking my US flights. My booking at Oud Sluis is now on January 11, far, too far, but i had no choice and maybe this could be a good start for the new year !

    I’ve been recently to Ledoyen and Troisgros, very interesting, Ledoyen will probably be my meal of the year (except if Alinea or WD50… ), i’ll post them soon.

    Cheers !

  • In that case, I’ll look forward to your an Oud analysis from your hand. And to Japan. One day.
    Thanks much 😀

  • While the fish in Japan has left indelible memories, Noma and Oud Suis are top priorities next year. I really liked this paragraph: “Where Fat Duck was a show of what’s creatively possible, Oud Sluis is the aesthetic sense of beauty in perfectly balanced look and taste. Perfection, and even beyond perfection.”

  • 1000 tak selv, Lars! 😀
    Stockholm har også meget at byde på. Er i gang med at planlægge en tur her i efteråret eller i foråret.

  • Tackar för riktigt trevlig matinspiration:)

    Är man i närheten av Oud Sluis ska jag definitivt glida förbi och hoppas på ledigt bord. Närmast ska vi ta oss i kragen då vi har försökt ta oss ner till Köpenhamn i flera år för att testa alla härliga krogar ni har. Av ngn anledning hamnar man alltid i Stockholm istället.

    Fortsätt Njut! av livet

  • Ingo, I suspect that you’ll be more likely to be in Sergio’s naighbourhood in the furture than I will. So, I will be looking towards High-End Food and envie you 😀

    JC, I like view of it – fish and chips! 🙂

    Thanks guys!

  • Wow. Everything looks amazing! And that last dessert sounds like one of those things that look so bizarre on paper, you just can’t help but try it (especially because I love aloe).

    The churros made me chuckle. 😉 I guess it’s like high end fish and chips?

  • Great review, Trine! I reckon you got some different dishes and also more whch makes me envious;-) Did you had the normal Pere & Ifls menu as this comprises only 5 courses (dessert accounting for only one)? Sergio is a culinary artist with utmost virtuosity…

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