The first days of March I spent in Brabant, a southern province of the Netherlands that is dubbed the most welcoming province of the country. I had been there before during ‘Brabant Nacht’, visiting the quiet towns of Breda and Bergen-op-Zoom. Now this lovely province has been selected as the European Region of Gastronomy in 2018, so I just had to go back! It’s astounding how much Brabant has to offer in terms of food! Brabant celebrates food this year with an edgy pop-up restaurant in the Mariakapel in Den Bosch. That’s right, a chapel! The restaurant is called GAST, meaning ‘guest’, and it’s not only the persons at the table that are the guests! Famous chefs from the region alternate during the next months to give guests their best shot! We had two-star Michelin chef Soenil Bahadour treating us with a unique gastronomical experience with dishes inspired by Van Gogh. After all, Brabant was the birthplace of this famous painter! Bahadour exceeded himself and created the best five course diner I ever had. Oh and while we were eating, there was a light show going on on the walls of the chapel!
Another must-go-to for a culinary experience by a top chef is VANE, the restaurant and SkyBar on the top floor of the freshly opened NH Collection Hotel in Eindhoven. Other recommended hot spots in Eindhoven for all you foodies are Emma by Pinkie (experimental pastries!!) and Kazerne where you can dine in the middle of a design exhibition. The city of Eindhoven has an international airport that is getting increasingly popular each year. Although it’s mostly outgoing traffic (Dutchies going on holiday), I believe the region has a lot to offer for Europeans to spend a few lovely days in Brabant. Eindhoven is known as a design hot spot and the city has some beautiful architecture here and there!
Efteling, one of Europe’s best theme parks, is the ultimate proof that the province of Brabant aims high on quality food projects. Efteling’s food strategy and food concepts are healthy, refreshing and attractive to young and old. The times when you could only eat fries and burgers at the theme park are now officially over! Visiting Efteling brought back so many good memories from when I was there as a child! You should have seen me, I felt six all over again!
Perhaps the most eye-catching food concept in entire Brabant is EVE, located in the Spoorzone (track zone) in Tilburg. The area right behind the Central Station used to be an abaondoned train repair site but over the last years it became the new hotspot in Tilburg. Spoorzone became famous for its food hotspots and events and EVE is the real showstopper. A hangar turned into a super fancy restaurant/bar with lots of respect for the original industrial elements.
So here goes! When you’re ever in Brabant, I hope to have inspired you to at least try one of the places I mentioned above. I’m not a food critic, but these were the places I visited during my days in Brabant and I strongly recommend them.