North Sea caviar
“Want to get to know me? Have a taste of my shrimp bisque, a nostalgic item that occupies a prominent place on my menu. That bisque tells you who I am and where I come from. When I taste it, I’m back in my grandparents’ house. My grandmother is peeling shrimp without needing to look. She considered them the caviar of the North Sea. My grandfather plays cards as he alternates sips of coffee and brandy. On the stove, shrimp shells are simmering into a soup. All those scents and flavours are recreated in my bisque. The cream from the coffee floats on top, the butter is flavoured with brandy and the shrimp – caught for me using a horse-drawn drag net – are in the soup. I serve it in my grandma’s old blue and white cups. I tell my customers the story and it creates a moment of connection. That’s why I’m doing this.”
Exceeding all expectations
"Cooking is about love, about honouring tradition and craftsmanship,” says Hiele. “Our kitchen team has a lot of love to give, both to each other and to the food, and our customers can tell."
Representing a place's soul on your plate
The sea and all its treasures are important elements of Willem’s cooking, but his menus always start with vegetables. “We’re surrounded by fields here. I tell our guests about this place, about the art on the walls, the crops growing in the fields and the bunnies hopping among the plants. To understand what you’re eating, you need to know where you are.”
After eating, guests gather at the bar. “There’s coffee and biscuits, a cheese cart makes the rounds and our cocktail man mixes drinks. We don’t want the night to end so soon, it’s only just begun. I love it when I see guests engage each other in conversation. That’s more of that connection I’m aiming for.”