Where to dine in The Hague on Mondays? (2)

Who is this Gentlemen biking through the Hague in deep thought?

He’s parking his bike in front of Smulwereld (i.e. Good Food World). Would he eat there?

No this Gentlemen is here in an official capacity. He is underway to Mandarin Palace

Where Jason Yip (from Hong Kong) and his charming wife May Lye (from Shanghai) anxiously are awaiting his arrival .

To reopen Mandarin Palace officially.

After having operated this very good Chinese Restaurant successfully for over 12 1/2 years Jason and May Lye had decided to give the restaurant a major make over. In the words of the Mayor of The Hague, Jozias van Aartsen: “If you are planning to travel to Shanghai, you have to first come and taste all what the Shanghai kitchen has to offer you here with May Lye and Jason ”

Jason and May Lye are very proud having been featured in the Dutch gourmet glossy “Lekker” for all 12 Years they have been operating Mandarin Palace and yes, and you can eat here on Mondays, because they close on Tuesdays.

Dutch version on Hofstijl

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Tea-masterclass Betjeman & Barton


Together with seven other tea lovers (two men and five women) I was invited today by Marion van den Blik, owner of Betjeman & Barton, Denneweg 25 in The Hague (www.betjemanandbarton.nl) to have a tea-masterclass in her lovely shop. The first thing we got was a glass of tea, a melange Pouchkine (which tasted a little bit like Earlgray, with bergamot, lemon and orange), with a homemade applecake, made of Granny’s world famous applecake mix. Marion told about the history of the famous tea brand, which started in 1919 when Englishman Mr. Barton visited Paris where he – of course – fell in love with a beautyful French lady, and opened his own tea shop at the boulevard Malesherbes. About 30 years ago Marion visited the B&B shop in Paris, fell in love with this brand of tea and took her own tea with her being abroad. In 1992 Marion decided to make from her passion her profession and opened the first Betjeman and Barton teashop in The Netherlands. Except for many many brands of tea she sells the beautiful pottery of Emma Bridgewater, GreenGate or Bunzlau Castle.

At home and in her shop she has a beautiful collection of about 140 tea pots, antique and modern ones, most of them in the shape of a cat. The first tea we tasted was the Chinese White Pearl from the Fujian province in Southern China, a light green tea, followed by a green Japanese Gyokuro, which has to brew just for one minute, a Black Dragon from Taiwan (with the taste of smoked chestnuts), a biological Darjeeling first flush, picked in March 2010 (€ 34 per 100 gr) and the fifth brand was the Chinese black tea. The prices of these teas are between € 25 and € 45 per 100 gr). You’ll have the best tea by using Spa water of about 70° C, a clean hot teapot, and o no, no sugar please. Then it was time for a so-called low-tea. Marion made delicious wraps with salmon, little clubsandwiches and mini pizzas, trifle and other sweets.


Thank you Marion, I enjoyed your tea-masterclass very much! And I could not resist buying that lovely red and white striped teapot of GreenGate!

Hagenaars Flock like Seagulls to Simonis at Scheveningen Harbor

When you see the crowd outside Simonis Fish Restaurant in Scheveningen Harbor, it is obvious that I am not alone in proclaiming it the Best of The Hague! The AD also awarded Simonis a 9.5 high score in their Haring Test, but it is not Haring that draws me to the harbor every weekend.

Simonis’ fresh fish market is open 7 days a week until 18.30 and has an amazing selection of fresh fish, oysters, lobster, sushi, and a variety of homemade specialties including bouillabaisse.  If you are not sure what to make for dinner, you will be tempted by the assortment of marinated items ready for the grill or oven, depending on the weather. The skewers of marinated shrimps are always a crowd-pleaser!

The fish market is always busy, but the line of people out the door are no doubt waiting to eat at the Simonis restaurant. Our kids always beg and plead to eat there, but we only dine in occasionally. Simonis’ famous deep fried Kibbling, Lekkerbek, Calamari and Chinese Garnalen are too irresistible and while scrumptious, could be habit forming! My Mother always asks to go directly to Simonis upon arrival at Schiphol. She may be their biggest transatlantic fan?  I just discovered that the restaurant opens at 9am, so perhaps on her next visit to The Hague, my mom can join the regulars who consume these deep fried treats for breakfast every morning?

The summer finds the place packed with beach goers and tourists and during the holidays, Simonis party platters are extremely popular.  There are other locations in the City Center at the Markthof and the Boulevard at Scheveningen, but I recommend the original experience! Don’t be scared off by the crowds, this family owned business runs like a well oiled machine and service is fast, efficient and in most cases extremely friendly.

Typical Coffee Candies from The Hague: Haagsche Hopjes

If you say “Hopje” or “Hopjes” in plural, a Dutchman will associate it with The Hague immediately. Foreigners may associate it with a typical Dutch candy.

As the Dutch words “Haags” or “Haagsch” and “Haagse” or “Haagsche” mean “something or someone from The Hague”, a Haagsch Hopje is a coffy candy from the Hague.

Wikipedia has an English Language and a Dutch language lemma on Hopje. Former links with The Hague Daily Photo Blog, a blog sadly discontinued by its author Lezard, but still worth while a visit. I took the second photo from it.

Hopje’s History is also Typically Haags
It is named after baron Hendrik Hop who used to live in The Hague. His doctor advised him not to drink coffee, but he craved coffee like many of us. According to some sources it happened entirely by accident as Hop left a mixture of coffee and sugar simmer too long on his stove so that a heavily caramelized substance was left in the cup. He asked baker Theodorus van Haaren, who lived on the ground floor, to create coffee lumps that he could dissolve in water as a coffee alike drink. After some experimenting, van Haaren created a sweet made of coffee, caramel, cream and butter.

Where else than in The Hague could a Baron cause the invention of a candy?

Noteworthy is the hopje became so popular as a candy that there were many brands, each claiming being the producer of the original hopje. Rademaker’s is one of the brands that still survive, but Haagsche Hopjes are being made in Breda nowadays.

The Hague used to have a Museum dedicated to its Hopje, but that has been closed since 1998.

Where to buy Tea in The Hague? At Marion’s Betjeman and Barton Teashop

Betjeman-and-Barton-Tea-Shop-in-The-Hague

Marion van den Blik decided to share her passion for tea with others and opened shop in The Hague in August 1992. It was the first teashop of Betjeman and Barton in the Netherlands. Betjeman and Barton is originally a partnership between two English tea lovers who had set up shop in Paris in 1919.

Marion’s Betjeman and Barton shop offers a choice of no less than 180 hand picked teas, black or green, classic or perfumed. Tea from the beautiful silver gray tins or tea prepacked in the famous hand sown cotton bags. Marion also offers many great and original teapots, from the Dutch manufacturer Bredemeijer, Zero Japan, Emma Bridgewater, Bunzlau or from GreenGate. She has also plenty to offer that goes together well with a nice pot of tea from like cookies, sweets, chocolate and cakes from Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt, Cottage Delight, Granny’s or from NewTree Chocolate.

In the beautiful shop at Denneweg 25c in Den Haag you will find a nice mix of Dutch cosiness, French elegance and English class. If you don’t have time to visit the beautiful shop – and you know which tea you like, you can always order at Marion’s Barton Webshop

Finally, we’ve asked Marion to write from time to time here about her tea passion and her passion for The Hague. I hope she will find some time for it. You can also find her on Twitter as @BetjemanThee.

New Meyva

Open for over 20 years the New Meyva serves specialities from Suriname.  Their roti’s are a true treat. Friendly staff make you feel at home and are ready to help you order if you are not familiar with the dishes. Just around the corner from the Paard and across from the cafes on the Grote Markt it is a populair place for a quick bite before hitting the town. There are enough places to sit and you can also take away and call ahead to place your order. Things to order: chicken filet roti speciaal,  lamb roti & white rice and pom.

Location: Boekhorstraat 5

The Stork of The Hague (1) – On the Big Church

The coat of arms of the City The Hague contains a stork, for ages already.

Two weeks ago, for the first time, I met several participants of Opûh Koffie (Open Coffee), an unstructured group of The Hague loving Hagenaars and Hagenezen (i.e. citizens of the Hague …. the difference of the two terms will be explained in due course) who come together at Aan de Overkant (Opposite or At The Other Side in English) each Wednesday morning at 9.00 hr AM, Just to drink a coffee with each other, to chat and sometimes to make photos or discuss photography. Today I’m hoping to attend my second Opûh Koffie.

After that Opûh Koffie one of the participants, Stork Frans, gave us a sneak preview of his “The Hague Stork Walk”. A wander route with a map and descriptions that shows you various storks on and around buildings in The Hague. Frans has put it together to insert in a photo book he is producing from his collection of over 800 photos of storks. He hopes to publish this book in October 2010.

While we were wandering around I’ve shot a couple of stork photos. I will share some with you here. The first is the stork on top of the Big Church which I didn’t know was there until Stork Frans pointed me to it at the start of his Stork Walk.

Vapiano, for a quick bite

Vapiano's

Vapiano is a self-service Italian restaurant for those looking to not spend that much but still feel like they are dining out. When you walk in you are handed a swipe-card and the first thing to do is find a spot to sit and claim it. Busy nights are usually Thursday, Friday & Saturday so be aware that it might not be easy to find a spot, especially if you are with a group.

The menu is pretty basic with pizzas, pastas, some small side dishes and desserts. Everything has to be ordered at the counter and is added to your card. The atmosphere is pretty laid back, making it an ideal place to go with kids. All cards are scanned before you leave so make sure you don’t lose your swipe-card otherwise you pay a fine (more than a meal & drinks would cost).

Location: Buitenhof 45 -51
Image credit: gertys

The Hague Market, the biggest market in Europe

Seafood at the Hague Market

With over 500 stalls the Hague Market is the biggest market in Europe! Besides being open 4 days a week you can find almost anything on the market. It is handy to know that their goods range from fresh produce to clothing, flowers and many more items.

If you are not a crowd lover then go early to the market, it opens just before 9am and you are sure to avoid the hectic part of the day and maybe more importantly not fall over a pram or somebody’s “granny” shopping trolley.

Handy to know is that fruit/veg/meat/fish/ section starts on the Hoefkade side, all other goods can be found on the other side starting at the Hobbemaplein. I have been told that Wednesday is the best day to buy seafood.  My other tip is to set a budget when you go and stick to it, there are too many specials and great deals, before you know it you come home with more than you needed!

Location: Herman Costerstraat, The Hague
Open: 8.45 tot 17.00 uur on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Public transport: “het Hobbemaplein”, tram 6, 11, 12 & bus 25 or “de Hoefkade” tram 11, 12 en bus 127, 130.
Parking: QPark, De Heemstraat 301, 2525 ET Den Haag

Where to dine in The Hague on Mondays (1)

One of the typical habits of Dutch restaurants is that they close early. Usually they don’t take orders after 9.00 PM. Moreover, on Mondays most restaurants are closed.

For reference purposes we have various Dutch sites that contain guest reviews of restaurants, however they are in the Dutch language … is not very helpful for those who don’t understand jot of Dutch. The two most prominent are are SpecialBite – which used to have an English section and recently told me they are considering to reintroduce their English pages – and Iens.

Recently Special Bite blogged very helpfully about 10 X Open on Monday in 070 (070 is The Hague’s netnumber).

On their list is the restaurant of Des Indes. I’ll start this series with Des Indes, because it is the Grand Old Lady of hotels in The Hague.

Although not everybody can bear their sumptuous decoration (see photo), their huge prices, and their sometimes clumsy services by trainees and their not always positively reviewed food, Des Indes has a huge pré: Until 01.00 AM you can order whatever food you want, 7 days a week and also on Mondays!