Discover Benelux, Issue 34, October2016

Page 58

Discover Benelux | Highlights of Utrecht | The Beating Heart of the Netherlands

An offbeat Indonesian dinner TEXT: XANDRA BOERSMA | PHOTOS: SPEKUK & RUBEN MAY

In the city centre of Utrecht, between Vredenburg and the Oudegracht, you will find a cosy street with nine different restaurants. One of them is a small Indonesian treasure called Spekuk. Owner Jitske Jongedijk and her best friend run the kitchen at Spekuk, and both have Indonesian roots. Even though she was born in the Netherlands, Jitske was raised with Asian cooking. Spekuk serves Indonesian dishes the way most of us are probably not used to. “We make it modern,” says Jitske. Of course Indonesia has lots of different kinds of cuisine spread across the islands. Those recipes combined result in Spekuk’s menu. They do not serve a set menu, but you compose your own ‘rames’ with three, five or seven dishes. Pick the ones you like and add your favourite rice. On the menu, enjoy fresh fish from the Wadden Sea, supplied by

De Goede Visser, and halal meat. It is a little different to what you might expect; for example there is no Rendang, but Krengsengan Daging (spicy beef stew) and langoustines with string beans. Straight from the grill there are six different kinds of satays, including kambing (satay of goat). There are also options for vegetarians and vegans, with fresh vegetables from the local market in Utrecht. “We have a cold Bintang or Bali Hai ready for you to complete your meal!” The restaurant is very small compared to the other restaurants in the street, but it has an intimate atmosphere just like home. The style is modern with a subtle Indonesian touch. The fact that Indonesians are very enthusiastic about Spekuk is always a good sign. Once you sample their cuisine for yourself, you will understand why!

Magic coffee beans

Coffee can perform miracles, especially in the morning. When served by ‘t Koffieboontje, coffee becomes magic. This specialty coffee shop in Utrecht is king of the magic coffee beans, serving exquisite-quality coffee, tea, and pastries – all with love for humans and the environment. ‘t Koffieboontje’s mission is to bring high-quality, sustainable (and thus delicious) coffee to the people of Utrecht and beyond. Besides the beloved black brew, the shop also serves tea, smoothies, juices, and light breakfast and lunch. The black magic water is made from the light-roasted coffee beans from Bocca, a coffee roaster working with sustainable businesses 58 | Issue 34 | October 2016


from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Colombia. “Bocca’s story immediately spoke to us,” co-owner of ‘t Koffieboontje, Aziz Boutaga, explains. “They did not start from a commercial perspective, but their passion eventually led them to a successful business. Like our own story. “We stand for quality, service, and a complete experience,” Aziz enthuses. “All the choices we make, from the machines we buy to the flavours we offer, should contribute to a perfect picture.” Only the kings of coffee machines have found their way to ‘t Koffieboontje, with five different appliances (including a custom-made La Marzocco) adorning the counter. Just like the coffee, the tea served is season appropriate; think lemon in summer, cinnamon in winter. For

the true coffee lovers, ‘t Koffieboontje offers workshops where you learn all about your beloved cuppa and drink it, naturally. ‘t Koffieboontje has a broad range of sugarfree, lactose-free and gluten-free products, offered in collaboration with local suppliers. Pastries without sugar, is that not boring? “Not at all! Sometimes we don’t even tell customers upfront they are eating a sugar-free cookie. They never taste the difference,” Aziz laughs.

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