Discover Benelux, Issue 25, January 2016

Page 30

Discover Benelux | Bustling Utrecht | Top Eat, Drink & Sleep Spots

High-quality pizza made with dedication TEXT: AURORA PETERS | PHOTO: BART VAN AALDEREN

Photo: Sarah Jane Fotografie

The word ‘bastacosi’ has many different uses. In Italian it means ‘that’s enough’, but in the case of pizzeria Bastacosi it can be explained as: what else could you want? With good reason, its unique concept makes Bastacosi the pizza specialist of Utrecht. “Our menu only contains wood oven pizza and nothing else,” explains Bart van Aalderen, one of the restaurant’s owners. “Specialising in one product makes it possible to put all your attention and love in it, which is the best way to refine every single aspect.”

The thin, crunchy pizza base has been entirely developed by Van Aalderen and his business partner Onno Roberts. “As opposed to other Italian restaurants, we don’t work with fixed recipes,” Roberts says. “Our guests can immediately taste the quality and love that has been put into our formula.” The open kitchen and the crackling fire of the wood oven give the restaurant a warm and comfy ambiance. Roberts and Van Aalderen want everyone to feel at home: “We want to radiate accessibility. No haute cuisine, but great quality in a living room setting.” Bastacosi is a semi self-service restaurant. “Our guests can place their order at the counter and get their own drinks out of the fridge,” says Van Aalderen. “This gives an open dynamic to the place.” After opening, the concept of Bastacosi became well known in Utrecht, thanks to wordof-mouth marketing. “People don’t mind walking a little extra to eat here,” says Roberts. Within five years Bastacosi opened a second establishment and are now located at the Jan van

Utrecht’s cosiest pub TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: FLORIN

Their homemade Jack Daniel’s spare ribs are a locally renowned delicacy, their pub quiz was the first of its kind in Utrecht and they host one of the Netherlands’ most famous Saturday morning radio shows, VARA’s Spijkers met Koppen. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of what makes Florin special. Eighteen years ago Florin was established when Englishman Simon Griffiths came to Holland and set up the pub in an old bank building in the centre of Utrecht. This is where Florin gets its name from, the gold florin, or ‘florijn’ in Dutch, which was another name for the guilder, the former currency in the Netherlands. The pub offers more than 50 different beers, of which 12 are on tap including their own house beer, Florin Pale Ale, brewed exclusively in Utrecht. Griffiths and his team want to exceed the customer’s expectations time after time. Offering sharp prices (due to a 30 | Issue 25 | January 2016

partnership with Meijer Beheer in Etten-Leur) and activities, such as an authentic English pub quiz with host Mr Balls, a kids’ club and occasional stand-up comedy nights, are part of that mission. “It is about creating Dutch ‘gezelligheid’ (cosiness) in an English-style pub,” Griffiths says. Next to the entertainment, the pub has become the dining room for locals as well as Utrecht’s students - they love the extensive six-euro student menu every Monday and Tuesday. The rest of the week visitors can enjoy specialities like English fish and chips (served in a newspaper), some of the finest burgers in Utrecht and of course the unique Florin Jack Daniels dishes. Like Griffiths says: “Good portions for very affordable prices – value for money!”

Scorelstraat and the Biltstraat. “And recently we built a mobile wood oven kitchen to cook on location,” Van Aalderen proudly says. “This way, more people get to taste our lovely pizza.”

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