Calla’s was in The Hague, just a short train ride from Amsterdam. It has been in business for 20 years and has a one star Michelin rating. The red brick exterior did not prepare me for a very modern interior. The white interior and linens were highlighted by a number of different red blooms and all of the nine dining tables, except for the chef’s table, were located upstairs. Downstairs were the kitchen, waiting area and bathrooms. Windows to the exterior let in natural light in the daytime and the windows within allowed you to catch glimpses of the action and plates coming out of the kitchen. Some modern music played in the background but the tables were well spaced enough that noise was not an issue. The menu included an a la carte section, 2 tasting menus and a lunch special. The special’s options sounded best to us and so we chose it.
While we waited they brought out a snack of cheese in different forms. Cheese gougeres were crisp with a nice soft center and topped with a bit of salt. Ultra thin crisps were cheese-flavored with a bit of sweet. The round ones were a cheese shortbread that was buttery and delicious. All were excellent.
Next were a crispy chicken and corn cake. Again both were really tasty bites.
The last amuse bouche was a gazpacho of red beet root with horseradish and mackerel. It was thick and smooth with a hint of sweet.
Bread was a small round loaf served warm with a tasty butter topped with salt. It was a dense, soft bread and very good.
The first course was Oosterschelde lobster with white asparagus, oxalis puree and lots of spring flavors. It was lightly dressed and the white asparagus had no bitter taste at all. It was a good combination of flavors making a nice, light plate.
Line-caught sea bass was plated with langoustine, morels and artichoke puree. The fish was cooked perfectly and remained nicely moist. The vegetables were all cooked to an easy crunch and the buttery sauce accented all the ingredients. It was a good plate.
For dessert it was peach and raspberry with marscapone. The fresh raspberries and peaches were mildly sweet and a good combination with mascarpone ice cream. There were some crispy bits on the plate that added texture but I don’t know what they were. It was good.
A final treat was a little lemon curd pie. It was divine. A perfect end for a modern, light lunch.