by Zipporah Gene
Master Chef Albert Kooy, as enigmatic as he is humble, opened the festivities at the Seasonal Tastes restaurant this September, in the Westin Grand Hotel Sukhumvit, with some unusual but welcome delights.
With names like Draadjes (slow braised beef) and Hachee Bapao (Dutch lasagna), I have to admit that I had some reservations about what to expect. After all, I’d sooner attempt University level mathematics, than feign any knowledge of authentic Dutch cuisine. Heck! I still can’t pronounce the names without contorting my face.
The truth is, that between Brexit and Eurovision, my native England, hasn’t exactly been on the best of terms with any of our continental cousins. So, upon hearing that there’d be an exclusive Culinary Dutch Festival from September 13 to 17, in central Bangkok, I decided to snap up the chance to take in something new and tantalizingly foreign. I had to see what the fuss was all about.
I tried my hand again and again at the revolving and never-ending array of hors d’oeuvre, my favorite being the adorably placed steamed eggs, still in shell with pickle. There is something quite lascivious about really good pickle – religiously wicked, even – and this quaint dish married the two wonderfully. And don’t get me started on the oysters. I could go on for years, but for those of you as obsessed as I am, you’ll know that invitingly familiar need to down a dozen of these juicy little pockets of euphoria. Salty with the lightest and smoothest texture, it turns out that each oyster takes around five to six years to achieve that delicate slightly peppery flavor. Who new the Dutch had such amazing oysters?
Drawing upon his core principles of authenticity, quality and culture, we were taken on a digestive feast of meats, sweets and whimsical drinks that made me wish I wasn’t driving home. With the music playing classics and much loved Dutch classics, the drinks pouring, we hardly noticed the fact that outside the weather was quite unforgiving.
I won’t profess to know more than what my stomach can tell but, to me, after my brief but dizzyingly satisfying experience, Dutch cuisine is simple, wholesome, and nourishing.
Interestingly, this was the second annual Culinary Dutch Festival that took place at Seasonal Tastes restaurant, and the turnout was evidence enough of the success of the first time around.
I’m sorry you’ve missed it but they’ll definitely be back next year with more delightful surprises. If you just can’t wait, head over to their website to what else they have to offer.
The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok
259 Sukhumvit Rd.
Tel: 02 207 8000