Ups and downs at Gaffel & Karaffel

We went to Gaffel & Karaffel on a Tueday night for a Valentine’s Day dinner. I booked a table online – well, they don’t have an online booking actually but you can send them an e-mail. I find it strange that they have not implemented bookatable or something similar.
Gaffel & Karaffel has a good sharing concept which I have tried with larger groups. As it was only the two of us we decided to go a la carte. I decided to have the smoked chicken and pistachio terrine and Nikki ordered the scallop ceviche. The wine menu was quite extensive and I was quite impressed by this. We decided to go for something that we always find to be a safe bet: a Chianti Classico. It didn’t take the waiter long before he came back and said that they didn’t have this bottle. In the meantime the food was served so the starters came really fast. I ordered a new Italian wine and once again the waiter came back to inform us that they didn’t have that one either. In the end we got a good bottle of Italian wine but my first positive surprise of the extensive wine menu faded a bit.
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Back to the food: my chicken and pistachio terrine was good. The terrine was served cold but it came with fresh warm toast and a very good tomato chutney of some sort. I really enjoyed the tomato chutney and it was great as an addition to the slightly bland chicken terrine. We were quite hungry and the portions were not that big so we decided to order a starter to share. We went for the Thai style chicken wings and that also came pretty fast. I also enjoyed this dish as the chicken was fresh made and it had a hint of Thai flavors. It was not spicy but it came with soy sauce, peanuts, spring onions etc. It was not that easy to eat with a fork and knife but I tried to eat them discreetly with my fingers.
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Soon we got the main meal. Nikki had gone for the beef cheek and it was served on a wooden tray. The beef cheeks were tender, it was served with a wonderful celeriac puree and a very good red wine sauce of some sort on the side. I ordered the ribs and when it was served it looked a bit..simple. But once I started digging into the ribs I forgot about that. The ribs were wonderful both in terms of tenderness and taste! It was served on top of a Chinese cabbage salad and this cabbage can be very tasteless in my opinion. But in this case it was wonderfully spiced up with a nam jim sauce which seems to be a Thai inspired sauce.
I decided to go all in and ordered carrot cake for dessert. I guess I should have stopped while I was ahead because the dessert was a bit of a letdown. It was a strange mix of cake, oranges, lemon(?) and severed with ice-cream. I like a good carrot cake and I don’t think you should mess around with it too much. In this case I would never have guessed that it was a carrot cake if it was just put in front of me.
So all in all: this dinner had some amazing highlights and some dishes that were not totally to our satisfaction. I would love to go back again to try out more of the dishes – especially from the mains. And I also want to go back to try the sharing menu again with a larger group!

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