The Column with Simone B. Michielen: On the road again!

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After 6 months without traveling abroad, I went to the Netherlands last weekend. Not my number one destination, I have to admit, but with my loved ones at the horizon, it became a deep wish to go. The Slovene government decided to motivate me and did put my destination on code red… like: DON’T GO! DANGER ZONE! And a punishment when I come back; 10 days of quarantine. It didn’t stop me. OK, I was (and still am) afraid about being in a melting pot of COVID-19 cases. The fact that the Dutch are not wearing masks inside freaks me out a bit and the turning and twisting of Dutch rules doesn’t help either. But being in quarantine in my lovely house in Slovenia? That seems like heaven!

Another treat I was willing to travel for was a reservation at Restaurant Parkheuvel in Rotterdam. Worth a trip, according to the “Guide Michelin”, as it is rewarded with 2 of the most wanted stars. If they mean a 1300 km long trip I don’t know, but who cares.

Rotterdam is one of my favourite Dutch cities. Modern, lots of beautiful architecture and of course the impressive harbour. On the surface not a lot of history, but the reason why Rotterdam is such a fancy modern place, lies in the history. The people! As a harbour city it was a place where people came from everywhere and it still has this multicultural vibe. The city is real, that is the word.

Also real were the dishes at Parkheuvel. I don’t want to curse, but damned, that Erik van Loo knows what he is doing. His restaurant is located at the shore of the Maas and has a round shape. The building was designed by a modern architect Klunder in 1988 and it fits. From all the tables in the restaurant you have a beautiful view at the Maas and see ships passing by. If you have time to look up, because what is served is worth your full attention.

With the glass of champagne (it would have been nice if we were told about the alternative, € 19,50 per glass is worth mentioning), we had a few small bites with big tastes and lot of skill. More than a promise, this was a guarantee that we were about to be spoiled. Also by the champagne. In Dutch we have a saying which says it all: “As an angel peeing on your tongue”.

We had 6 courses, all spot on and close to perfection. Sometimes you meet a chef that seems to know your taste. I, for example, like it when the dishes are fine, but the tastes are strong. Well, Erik seemed to know. Another thing that made me happy were the sauces. Not only were they served on the plate, but also left on the table in case you want some more. For a sauce lover pure joy.

The serving staff was perfect. They knew exactly what was served, were friendly and just as real as the city. The wines that were chosen with the dishes made everything better. Pairing wines and food is a profession, I always wonder how they do it.

As we were in a harbour, enjoying ourselves during COVID-19 times, an image crossed my mind: The band on the Titanic, that kept playing when the ship went down. Drama? I hope so, because I want to go back to Parkheuvel and Rotterdam as often as I can.