Discover Benelux, Issue 29, May 2016

Page 64

‘Our food radiates freshness and hospitality ’ TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTOS: ANGELA VERDAM, SHERP

When coming down off the boulevard and walking onto the beautiful Bellamypark in Vlissingen, you feel a sense of hospitality and enjoyment. And on the right side of the square, Italian restaurant Lungo Mare – Street to the Sea – embodies this feeling like no other. “It is the little things that make people feel at home,” says owner Fred Harinck.

Lungo Mare is situated in a 17th century building. “We think it used to be a warehouse, because there are these mezzanines between the different floors, but we are not sure. All we know is that it is a beautiful building.” Harinck and his wife, who is also involved in the running of the restaurant “and has the most beautiful smile”, live on the upper floors of the warehouse.

Things like taking the coats off the guests when they arrive, guiding them to their table in the restaurant, and making sure that they do not have to wait too long for one of the waiters to help them. And when they leave, getting their coats again and helping the guests to put them on. “Our guests come here to have a night out,” says Harinck. “These gestures make sure that they have that feeling.”

Wood-fired oven Fred Harinck bought Lungo Mare from the previous owner in 2013. “We wanted it to be a more authentic Italian restaurant. We installed a wood-fired oven, which we imported from Italy. They told us that the oven weighed 1,200 kilogrammes, so you can imagine the work it took to install,” says Harinck with a smile. The oven can be seen from the restaurant, which has a partially open kitchen.

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But the wood-fired oven, the only one in the whole of the province of Zeeland, is not the only thing that makes Lungo Mare a great Italian restaurant. Its two Italian chefs know exactly how to prepare the pizzas and other dishes. “One is from Puglia and the other is from Sicily. He, Giuseppe, is a master in pizza making. He knows that a second more or less in the wood oven makes all the difference in the world,” says Harinck. “How he came to work for us? One day he just walked in and asked if we had a job for him. So I said, ‘let’s see what you can do’. It all took off from there.” Local and Italian ingredients The two chefs are part of a staff of 20 that makes your dining a wonderful experience. “Our staff know exactly how to make your night great, from the hospitality our waiting staff provide, to the ex-