Meram ~ Turkish cuisine in Rotterdam

Yesterday a friend of mine introduced me to Turkish cuisine. We went to Meram in Rotterdam West, a franchise which has a lot of restaurants in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. When we arrived, there were mainly Turkish people there, so then the food must be good! But also, duh, my friend is Turkish, so he know it is good.

The food

My expectations of the food was actually like the lamb skewers of my father, strong in taste and a lot of herb taste. But the food was more subtle compared to that. The quality though was really high, you can taste the lamb flavor really well. I loved it. They served a Turkish bread with sauces as starter. That bread was a lovely experience for my mouth. It was more dense than Turkish bread from the Turkish bakery and it also had this crispy oven flavor.
I actually enjoyed the food so much that I forgot to take pictures of everything. Here is a small collection of the food that didn’t miss my camera.

Manti

Little lamb meat dumplings. A small bite, with yogurt and tomato sauce

Konya Usulü Etli Ekmek

Minced meat on dough, baked in a stone oven (I think)

Beyti Sarma

Lamb kebab (i think it was lamb) rolled in a pancake, topped with sour tomato sauce and yogurt

Lamb pieces stir fried with pepper, tomato and onion. Fragrant rice in the middle

Menu

Also their menu, interior and business card is designed all so well. Props to the designer! Their menu photos are just so beautiful, I can learn a lot from them.

meram menu

You can find their menu online

Coffee

I ended with a Turkish coffee which smelled as rich coffee, cozy and warm. The smell reminded me of a room with a lot of soft carpet on the floor and the walls, dark red color and old men sitting there enjoying coffee. Maybe a bit racist, I apologize.

Turkish coffee

Hot, warm coffee. Not as strong/bitter as I thought. Sweet and fragrant

The taste of the coffee was not as bitter as normal coffee, I actually liked it. They had put in medium sugar in it, but it tasted very sweet. When you are done drinking the coffee there is leftover residue of the coffee grind, which is very thick. You can use that to predict your future, by putting the cup upside down, letting it cool and analyse the shapes in the cup. Just like tea leaf reading.

Verdict

I really enjoyed the food there. I will be going back to try out other dishes. They know their meat, so I can’t wait to try out meat dishes. Also, I saw they have a Meram Burger restaurant chain. More meat!
Thank you Lazy Friend for introducing me to a new cuisine. It’s awesome to learn from other cultures through good food.

Visit them!

Meram (Rotterdam West)
Mathenesserplein 91, 3023 LA Rotterdam
+31 (0)10-478 06 43
meram.nl/rotterdam-west  Check out their website for more locations

Mon-Thu    12:00-0:00
Fri-Sat        12:00-01:00
Sun             10:00-0:00

Sichuan hot pot at Red Pepper Rotterdam


Remember last week I was nagging about needing more hot pot in the Netherlands? Well, I went to Red Pepper in Rotterdam and I am satisfied. You can eat high quality hot pot there with a big range of ingredients to choose from and they serve a delicious home made dipping sauce.

Sichuan hot pot

The chef of the restaurant comes from Sichuan and has worked in one of the best Sichuan restaurants there, according to their website. It’s possible to order all kind of spicy Sichuan food, like spicy fish soup (one of my favorite Sichuan dish) but this time we went for the hot pot. Every person gets their own little pan which boils on spirit, which reminded me of oldskool hot pot at home.

You can pick a vegetarian or beef soup base and you can choose your spice level. We went for mild, which is a little bit tongue tingly. The soup tasted really nice; salty, herby and spicy. It tasted like the hot pot soup in China.

If you choose the hot pot option, you will get a list with all the ingredients, You can check off the ingredients you want, just like all-u-can-eat-sushi. It’s always possible to get more ingredients. The price is: meat ingredients 5 euro, veggies 3 euro and fish 7 euro. You need to eat a minimum of 15 euro. We ate about 22 euro per person on ingredients.

Other food

Lazy Bear tried the beef noodle soup with mild spice level, but it was quite a punch for him. The soup base was really nice. I also used it to fill my hot pot. We also ordered a cold dish: thin pork slices with cucumber and garlic. So good!

We ordered bubble tea which also tasted very authentic. You can taste they use real tea (or they can fool me very well). Their tea pot is also beautiful. Overall, their design style in the restaurant is well thought off; nice menu card books with mouthwatering pictures, pretty designed eat tools and a lovely interior.

Verdict

Interior / design = 9
Food = 8
Service = 7.5

I really like my first time hot pot in the Netherlands. I will be going back for sure, to try all the other authentic Sichuan foods.

The restaurant is really close to Round&Round, so it’s perfect to combine Sichuan food and soft cakes. Too bad Round&Round was closed on our day of visiting.

Visit them!

Red Pepper
Groenendaal 45F, 3011 SM Rotterdam
T: +31 (0)10 307 03 88
www.restaurantredpepper.nl

Mon-Sat    12:00 – 22:00
Sun            14:00 – 22:00

Just Meet ~ meat heaven in Leiden

Dear readers! I need to tell you about this awesome place in Leiden: Just Meet. A steak house which have given me an exceptional dinner experience.

It was a normal dinner date with Lazy Penguin and Lazy Kitten (new Lazy friend!), using his birthday as excuse. I thought: “let’s not work this dinner” (a.k.a making million photos and observing the room etc.). But the menu, the drinks, the PICK-YOUR-OWN-KNIFE experience and the food was too good to NOT share with you guys. So here it is, my enthusiastic photo story:

Story time

When entering one part of the restaurant (they have two rooms) you feel cozy and warm with the wooden interior and high ceiling. Soft sofas over there.

Food & Drinks

Just Meet offers a big selection of Gin & Tonics and wines. Since we are Gin & Tonic noobs, we took forever to order a G&T. This type of drink is getting popular, I often see it in restaurants these days. We also asked for the main menu to see what we could pick to match the drink. They offer dry aged meat, which has a richer taste nomnomnom. Lazy Kitten and I ordered the tenderloin and Lazy Penguin the rib eye for more fat taste.

We also ordered some shared side dishes. Just check out my art plating, doesn’t it look delicious? So how was the food? The meat was so soft and tender. This comes so close to sous vide meat. This really was the best meat experience I have ever had in a restaurant (better than Rodeo). Also because of the big selection of side dishes which complement the meat really well. Our chosen side portions were 2,50 euro each and not too big, so you can try a lot. Lazy Penguin was really enthusiastic about the truffle risotto. He will also make it as side dish for his sous vide meat. The quality of the meat, the side dishes were just “ah” 😙 👌* kisses fingers *.

Oh, I was so enthusiastic about the food that I skipped the fun part. It was very interesting to try out the different Gin & Tonics. They are all bitter, but have their own scent and tastes. We had [coffee bean + blood orange], [rose petals + black pepper] and [mint + red rasberry]. The coffee bean one smelled like old grandpas, but the taste grows on you. It became my favorite of the three.

Pick your own knife!

What blew my mind away was that we could choose our own meat knife! What kind of awesome service is that! For the perfect meat experience, you get the pick out your own tools. They take their meat very seriously. Lazy Penguin told us that it is not good to have a serrated meat knife (kartel mes), since you will break the fibers of the meat. While I was looking for the English translation of ‘kartel mes’ I found a cool article (in Dutch) about Chef George Jasper and Robin Verloop from Just Meet. I am just getting hyped up about the knives! I picked a flower laser cut knife with strange holding area. I assure you, the next time I will visit them, I will pick the same. It grows on you.

Middle knife is mine.

Dessert time! We were already quite full, but since the food had been awesome, we also had to try out some desserts. Just look at these pieces of art!

And again, the taste and the textures were so interesting and delicious. Glad we didn’t skip the desserts.

Price & Service

All this food, drinks and awesome experience was ónly 50 euro per person. I think that is a great deal for good food + alcohol. The service was also friendly and easy going. I felt a bit uncomfortable taking so much time to pick a G&T, but our waitresses were really patient and friendly.
So… time for you guys to visit?

Visit them!

Just Meet
Breestraat 18, 2311 CR, Leiden
T: 31(0) 717 50 45 70
just-meet.nl Facebook

Djebena ~ East-African food in Delft

The beginning…

About two years ago, Lazy Bear and I went to the center of Delft to meet up with Lazy Monkey (new Lazy friend!). Lazy Monkey was having a late dinner 21:00 at Djebena. He was sitting outside with a plate of gooey spinach and a pancake. He let us try it and we were sold! We also ordered a spinach (Hamli) dish for ourselves, even though we already had dinner.. But when you can eat good food, your stomach just opens up a secret pocket to fill in more delicious food.

That was the start of our East-African food relationship. Since then I have been there for about 5 times. The food is really delicious and tasty.

Spinach dish. It doesn’t look very pretty, but it is sooo good!

Food

When you have ordered your dish, you will get your meat and veggies on a shared pancake dish with your eating companions. You can eat everything with your hand. Take a piece of pancake and grab some meat or veggie. I always want to eat the spinach dish, so I often order the 4 veggies surprise meal. The 4 meat surprise meal is also very nice. Some meats are a bit spicy.

In the photo you see Lazy Bear’s meat surprise dish and my veggie surprise dish. Sharing = more food tasting!

The pancake has little holes, because it is fermented. It also tastes a bit sour, but that matches really well with all the toppings.

Menu

They also offer a range of fruit beers. I tried all of them, and I like the coconut the best. The alcohol percentage is not very high, 3.7% to 7%. The mango juice is also really recommended. Mmmm…
The price for a dish and some drinks is about 20 euro p.p.

Visit them!

Djebena
Marktplein 75, 2622 GS, Delft
Weimarstraat 52A, Den Haag
Noordeinde 21, Leiden
☎: +31(0) 15 – 36 49 828
djebena.nl    Facebook 

Tue-Sun    10:00-22:00? (there was no end time for Delft)
Mon        Closed

Glasgow day 3 (part 2): Nippon Kitchen

We went to Nippon Kitchen for Japanese food. They had quite a variety of choices: bento boxes, sushi sets, ramen, soba noodles, teppenyaki stuff and more. They also offer a wide range of cocktails and alcoholic beverages.

Our meal was eventually about 26 pound per person. 12-16 pound for a dish, 8 pound for a coctail.

In the neighborhood are a lot of other Asian restaurants, like Wagamama in the back.

Soba noodles with chicken

My special bento box, includes sashimi, California rolls and miso soup. The rice of the sushi was exceptionally good. Never have I eaten such well prepared rice. Maybe in Japan, but I forgot. The chicken sticks were too dry. A bit dissapointed. The fried stuff was good, nice and fluffy.

The sashimi was also very good, firm and tasty. And again, the rice was just wow.

Cocktails are also very good. Recommended.

Verdict: mixed feelings. The sushi was really good. Teppenyaki stuff was meh. Miso soup tasted good. So I guess a 7.5 out of 10. If I would live in Glasgow, would I come back again? Yes, for the sushi. And maybe the noodles. But I didn’t try those yet.

Eindhoven restaurant tips

Restaurant tips eindhoven

Lazy Chipmunk asked for Eindhoven restaurant tips. So here it is!

I have visited quite a few restaurants in Eindhoven, but that was before my Lazy Pig Passion era. So I don’t have any stories about them (yet). Here is a quick list which comes into mind. Prices are per person.

Rodeo (30 euro)- The best steaks I have ever eaten in a restaurant. Take a mixed grill so you can try more things. I usually take the tenderloin and lamb chops combination.

Giornale (35 euro)- This place serves Mediterranean dishes. They encourage sharing dishes. I had their tenderloin and truffle pasta and it was mind blowing. Blog post coming soon!

Trattoria Margiare (30 euro?)- Good Italian food. Quite busy, reserve beforehand.

Hong Kong (15-20 euro?)- Good authentic Chinese food. All the Chinese parents go here now to eat Chinese. There used to be two good dimsum places, but they are gone 🙁

King Thai (20 euro?)- Recommended Thai place from a Nepal friend. Love the photo on their website.

Cooks (30 euro)- Interesting cafe/bistro food. Dutch/French casual food. It was good.

De Meulen (Oirschot) – Fancy pancy French food, but oh so good. It is quite expensive (50-70 euro), but then you get the good stuff.

Umami by Han (50 euro)- Chinese food in a French style jacket (small fancy bites). The food tasted good, but at a ‘normal’ Chinese restaurant you get more food and it also tastes good. Sometimes even better…This place is for people who like fancy dining with good service. I personally prefer the rustlehustle and fast service of an authentic Chinese restaurant where you get the food fast so you can enjoy the food ASAP, nomnomnom…

That’s it for now. Have a lovely day!

Rotterdam restaurant tips


A friend asked for Rotterdam restaurant tips. So here it is:

Chinese cuisine:

Orient Pearl – Good for dimsum according to friends. Reserve beforehand, it can be busy in the weekend. Internet says the service is crap, but that is fast and efficient Chinese service. Just accept it.

Grand Garden – Good for dimsum and Chinese food.

Tai Wu – Good Chinese food according to parents and friends. I think it’s just good Chinese food. Authentic.

SanSan – Authentic Sichuan food. Tastes like China. Spicy dishes are the best here. “Three Spicy” is like burning/numbing the inside your mouth, even for me. But the food is delicious.

Kiroren Restaurant [blog story] – Authentic Xinjiang food. If you like meat, noodles, high flavoured food, visit Kiroren. They have delicious lamb and chicken dishes. (Halal)

Markthal, above Wah Nam Hong (Toko) –  There is a restaurant/shop above the Chinese supermarket. You can order different Asian dishes. Quite good if you want a quick lunch/bite.

Japanese cuisine:

Hinoki Noodle Shop [blog story] – Good ramen, good side dishes. Delicious rice bowl with chicken.

Takumi Düsseldorf Rotterdam [blog story] – Okay ramen, delicious side dishes. Try the chicken karage and fried mashed potato.

Shiki Sushi & Lounge – Higher quality all-you-can-eat sushi. The portions are a bit smaller, so you can try more different dishes. Ordering is done via a tablet. No social contact needed!

Ono Japanese Dining – High quality sushi a la carte. Atmosphere is too fancy pancy for us.

Other cuisines:

Firma Pickles Markthal – The best burgers I ever had in the Netherlands. Went to this place 3 times, every burger had such a good taste (wagyu, duck, pork belly). They have burgers made from all kinds of meats and fish. Also good wines, but I am not a wine person, so I can’t judge.

Loetje – Delicious steaks. Reservation recommended, it can be busy. We had to wait for about 1.5 hour for a seat O_O.

Meram – Turkish cuisine. Really delicious meat dishes. Ask for recommendations to taste all the authentic food.

Desserts:

Round&Round [blog post] – Delicious soft, not too sweet cakes. Come here for desserts or relaxation at a sweet cafe. Blog post coming soon!

YoYo Fresh [blog post] – Bubble tea drinks. I always go for the Hong Kong milk tea with black pearls. The best!


After making this list, I realize, I mainly visit Asian restaurants in Rotterdam. Ah well, still a million non-Asian restaurant to visit in the future. That’s a good future. ^^

Enjoy the restaurants! And if you have any good restaurant tip, let me know!