Dutch masters at RIJKS

Lunch and dinner at RIJKS, the new restaurant in the shadow of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, not only broadened my hitherto limited knowledge of modern Dutch cooking but also introduced me to three of the five people responsible for its successful launch (photo: Rijksmuseum). The most influential, and the most dapperly dressed in an electric blue suit, was Wim Pijbes, the museum’s director. He explained how the restaurant forms part of his strategy to open up the museum and how he, as a self-confessed foodie, was determined that the restaurant…






Amsterdam

Amsterdam – 2004 On our way to a hugely enjoyable dinner with Dutch friends at Blauw aan de wal in the heart of Amsterdam’s red light district we passed a most elegant woman dressed in green who exuded more than her fair share of her country’s acknowledged pragmatism. Faced with the prospect of travelling quickly to her destination with two King Charles spaniels in a city where most of the roads are being dug up for a new Metro system, she was cycling at some speed with one dog tucked…






Belgium, Brussels

Brussels – 2004 Belgians have a long and richly deserved reputation for enjoying the best in food and wine. Members of their gastronomic societies have devised a special neck clip to keep their napkins in just the right place throughout their tastings; their country’s dentists are reported to have in their cellars the world’s largest concentration of Pomerol; and at the heart of the Saturday antique market in the Place du Grand Sablon is an oyster stand for the peckish even though the square is seemingly entirely composed of cafes,…






Hof Van Cleve and other Belgian highlights

Hof Van Cleve and other Belgian highlights – 2007 Europe divides British restaurant goers almost as distinctively as it divides its politicians. Many will head off for the long established charms of France while others head further south to Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. A small but very well-informed minority will, however, set off to eat and drink alongside the truly food and wine obsessed inhabitants of the towns, villages and countryside of Belgium. Having spent 24 hours in the company of a Belgian couple, where his family traces its…






Netherlands, Amsterdam

Amsterdam – 2004 On our way to a hugely enjoyable dinner with Dutch friends at Blauw aan de wal in the heart of Amsterdam’s red light district we passed a most elegant woman dressed in green who exuded more than her fair share of her country’s acknowledged pragmatism. Faced with the prospect of travelling quickly to her destination with two King Charles spaniels in a city where most of the roads are being dug up for a new Metro system, she was cycling at some speed with one dog tucked…