Hilversum

The 10 best pubs & bars in Hilversum (updated Oct 2017)

I first wrote this list about a year and a half ago, but things have changed since then! So it’s time for an update. Here’s a local’s guide to the best pubs and bars in Hillywood:

1. Cafe ‘t Tolhuis

Tolhuis, Hilversum

Photo credit: Café restaurant Het Tolhuis Facebook Page

Tolhuis, Hilversum

Photo credit: Café restaurant Het Tolhuis Facebook Page

This is staying at #1 as it’s still my favourite pub in Hilversum. I kinda don’t want to tell you about this one… but y’know, I’m a nice gal, so I’m gonna. But first a warning: it’s preeeeetty bloody hard to go here just for a drink without ordering food. As well as standard borrelhapjes they serve platters, tapas and a variety of mains. Everything is delicious. I think we managed to go here once without ordering food and we both complained the whole way home.

They have fantastic wine and I have no idea about the beer. They serve beer.

Apparently there’s live music here every Thursday, I have no idea how, it’s teeny! But anyway, go check it out. Brilliant place! (Oh and make sure you book a table if you want to eat!)

Soestdijkerstraatweg 2, 1213 XA Hilversum | tolhuis-hilversum.nl

 

2. Karroesel

Karroesel, Hilversum

Karroesel, Hilversum

My second favourite pub is definitely an acquired taste. It’s rustic… and by rustic I mean it’s a shithole. But a nice shithole. It’s where the ‘alternative’ (for want of a better word) crowd go in Hilversum. They’ve taken down the smoking room wall (which used to take up half of the pub!) so it looks way bigger these days. So now there’s a tiny smoking room – or just go outside! Pool table is still there and the music is loud and mostly aggressive.

As I say, an acquired taste. What I will say though – you’ll meet some interesting characters here!

Spoorstraat 44, 1211 GB Hilversum. No website. Proper old skool. 

 

3. Foodhall MOUT

MOUT Foodhall, Hilversum

MOUT Foodhall, Hilversum

A new addition to the list and to Hilversum! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see I’m there quite a lot! It’s a great place to visit day and night – sometimes I go there to work, other times to eat and drink lots of wine. It’s an all-rounder and as many Dutch people would say, “een aanwinst voor Hilversum” – an asset to Hilversum. I couldn’t agree more!

Naarderstraat 8, 1211 AL Hilversum | mouthilversum.nl

 

4. The Guardian

Guardian, Hilversum

Photo credit: The Guardian  Hilversum Facebook Page

I had to get an English pub on the list, right?!?!? A pretty standard pub, slap bang in the middle of the Groest (the main street for bars/restaurants in Hillywood).

Does what it says on the tin.

Groest 33, 1211 CZ Hilversum | the-guardian.nl

 

5. Café Moeke

Cafe Moeke, Hollandsche Rading

Photo credit: Cafe Moeke Facebook Page

Ok, technically not Hilversum… but Hollandsche Rading. I can get here on my bike in 15 mins, so close enough I reckon.

Another bar / cafe / restaurant. Fantastic food… like a gastro pub. Their slogan is “de vijfsterren kroeg met eetallures” which roughly translates to “the five star pub with fine dining intentions”. Occasionally things sound better in Dutch. This is one of those times!

Anyway, never had a bad meal here and it doubles as a pub. Closest thing I have found to an English pub in Holland (and yes that even includes the “actual” English pub above!)

Utrechtseweg 263, 1213 TR Hilversum | cafemoeke.nl

 

6. Winebar Vintage 

Winebar Vintage, Hilversum

Photo credit: Winebar Vintage Facebook Page

I’ve been here a few times now and had some really delicious wine! They have “Meer dan 100 open wijnen”  – more than 100 open wines – so there really is something for everyone!

They also do hapjes and platters if you fancy a little something something next to your wine!

Spoorstraat 65, 1211 Hilversum | wijnbarvintage.nl

 

7. The Skiff

The Skiff, Hilversum

The Skiff, Hilversum

This place has to be on the list as they do FREE BITTERBALLEN for a couple of hours every Friday (6-8pm I think). Another pretty grungy place, but also frequented by hipsters.

Kampstraat 2bc, 1211 GE Hilversum | theskiff.nl

 

8. VIDA Vineria

VIDA Vineria, Hilversum

Photo credit: VIDA Vineria Facebook Page

I’m not sure if this one should be on the list because I haven’t been there yet… but I’ve heard good things and it has fab reviews on Trip Advisor, so 💁🏻

The people behind VIDA tapas restaurant have opened this second location next door to cater for those wanting wine and snacks rather than a full meal. I like.

Groest 16, 1211 EC Hilversumvida.nl

 

9. Barracuda

Another ‘acquired’ taste. This one’s a metal bar. There’s live music every Saturday. We went here late on Kingsday and the lovely bar lady let us play whichever songs we wanted. Good reason to go back in my book!!

Herenstraat 43, Hilversum. No pics, no website. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

 

10. Eetcafé Gulle Graef

Gulle Graaf Hilversum

Photo credit: Gulle Graef Facebook Page

Eetcafé technically means eatery but it’s going on the list because of their extensive beer menu! They also have cider which isn’t Strongbow or that sweet crap Apple Bandit, so they’re doing right in my book. Order a steak alongside your drinks and you won’t be disappointed!

Laanstraat 37, 1211 HG Hilversum | gullegraef.nl

 

Where’s your favourite place to go in Hilversum?

Hayley x

 

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Things to do in Hilversum: WijnSpijs Culinaire Wandeling

WijnSpijs Culinaire Wandeling

The title of this post could also be: That one time in Hilversum when I ate loads of delicious food, drank loads of amazing wine and got so tipsy I cried about learning Dutch. But I guess the other title is more factual and Google probably likes it better… so…

First things first: What is a WijnSpijs Culinaire Wandeling? Wijn = wine. Spijs = food / dish. Together it means wine pairing, food pairing… the act of pairing food and wine together type thing. Culinaire = culinary. Wandeling = walk.

So: a culinary walk around Hilversum (other Dutch towns and cities are available) where you get to drink lots of wine and eat food that goes with it. In short, heaven for food and wine lovers.

Unlike the time when I ate Amsterdam – I can tell you every single detail of this trip (the stuff I remember anyway) because the Hilversum one is done, over, finished… for this year anyway!

However, WijnSpijs run dates all over the country – pretty much every weekend during the summer – so there’s probably one near you soon! Here’s the agenda. (Dammit!! Utrecht is sold out already! *Sad face*.) Anyway… without further ado…

Restaurant 1: Gastrobar Kurk

Wine: Gran Sasso. Food: squid ink risotto, gin & 7up foam, parsnip puree, peas and a prawn!

Gastrobar Kurk, Hilversum

Gastrobar Kurk

We both loved this place, including the very keen waitress (it was early in the day and she was super enthusiastic, bless her!) and we will definitely be returning. The menu looked very interesting and not over-priced, so I’m curious to see what else they have up their sleeves!

Restaurant 2: Zilt & Zo

Hot and cold smoked salmon, asparagus and asparagus foam, topped with a beetroot chip. Re: wine… I’m struggling to read my own handwriting, I wrote down something like Gruner Veltliner – Roshlitz. I remember it was nice 😉

Zilt & Zo Hilversum

Zilt & Zo, Hilversum

The food was good, but not the star of the day. The presentation in a wine glass was funny, but quite difficult to eat! I would go back for the”beach” at the end of their sunny terrace, however, to sip a cocktail with my feet in the sand!

Restaurant 3: Proeverij De Open Keuken

Here they served up a beef salad made with jodenhaas (beef shoulder tenderloin). Although I thought he said Yodahaas so I’m sticking to that! It was paired with a light, easy drinking red: Dornfelder Nahe 2014. Yum. Very, very easy to drink!

Proeverij De Open Keuken

There was a chip in my bowl (naughty, naughty!) so I had to switch plates with the Dutchie because I wanted to photograph it zonder chip. However, my beef was slightly chewy and the Dutchie’s was perfect… so it serves me right for switching I guess!

Proeverij De Open Keuken

Proeverij De Open Keuken

(The Dutchie getting arty with his wine ^)

We sat outside… because it was awesome weather that day! But FYI – the inside of this restaurant is gooooooorgeous! (My iphone camera, not so much.)

Proeverij De Open Keuken

Proeverij De Open Keuken.

Restaurant 4: Lust 

This beauty is meerval (which I think is catfish) pasta with samphire, tomatoes and a gambas (prawn) sauce. Definitely the dish of the day!! Served with Finca Constancia Altozano Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc. (70% Verdejo and 30% Sauvignon Blanc.) Result: yum-a-lum-a-ding-dong.

Lust Restaurant, Hilversum

Lust Restaurant, Hilversum

Lust Restaurant, Hilversum

Restaurant 5: Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

Monkfish with a fermented risotto (what the heck?!) an orange coloured sauce and a cherry tomato. It was delicious, but they didn’t do much explaining! Served with Boschendal Sauvignon Blanc.

Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

They also had a DJ…

Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

…and a dude playing saxophone who liked hiding in bushes.

Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

Restaurant 6: Heren Spyker

Zachtgegaarde runderwang (slow cooked beef cheek) with roasted tomato, pea cream and a cumin crisp. Served with a 2013 Cuvee Tradition Rouge – Corbieres from Chateau Beauregard Mirouze.

Heren Spkyer

Here it is, in Dutch (nice touch btw, they were the only restaurant to do this).

Heren Spkyer

This was probably the tiniest dish of the whole day. It was good, but not great. The crunchy cumin thing outshone the beef cheek, which is never a good thing. I love the fact that this place is connected with Spyker though and due to it’s brilliant sunny position, I’d go back for a glass of wine or three!!

Heren Spkyer

Restaurant 7: Rex 

Pulled pork with a chilli and BBQ sauce and mango chutney. I can’t remember what the thing on top was… a kind of prawn cracker type thingy. It was seriously good! (Sorry, Rex – I totally underestimated you. When I saw this place on the list, I was very surprised as I thought it was just a bar/club so my expectations were rather low.) But boy did they prove me wrong!! Served with a Beaujolais Nouveau.

Rex, Hilversum

Rex, Hilversum

Restaurant 8: Puur Smaeck

Last but not least: Puur Smaeck. (That’s the old way to spell smaak, meaning taste / flavour.)

They served rib eye filled with yellow and green courgette with a cream of goats cheese and white chocolate. Yes, you read that right. White chocolate. The Dutchie loved it… I tasted it together, ate the beef and then had the white chocolate cream as pudding! This was served with an Italian red: Salice Salentino.

Puur Smaeck

Puur Smaeck

After that, we didn’t want to go home straight away, so our friend joined us, we ordered a bottle of prosecco and then I cried. Nothing to do with the brilliant day, perhaps a little to do with the wine!

Result: if you didn’t pick it up already, I absolutely loved my WijnSpijs culinary walk. Wine, food, walking… what’s not to love? I think it’s a fantastic way to sample new restaurants in your local town/city… or a unique way to check out a brand new city! I will definitely be going on another one in the near future!! (Hopefully this time without the tears!)

THE LOWDOWN

COST: €55-60 depending on location, but to try 7 or 8 new restaurants in your area – that’s a bleedin’ bargain! Not to mention said number of starter sized-portions and glasses of wine. (Not all glasses are “full” measures by the way. It depends on the restaurant and how shaky the waiter’s hands are.)

MORE INFO: Wijnspijs.nl

Hayley x

It’s all about you: An interview with The Dutchie

In his natural habitat

In his natural habitat

Maybe it’s just me (and I suspect it isn’t) but when I’m reading a blog – and I read a few – I’m always curious about the author’s partner. You could politely just say I’m a curious person, but like a lot of people, let’s be honest: we’re just nosey!

Bloggers partners usually get mentioned in their blog (a lot) but you rarely get any more information than that. One of my favourite ever posts on a blog was a post her husband had written about her. It was just so refreshing to see his take on things and I’m pretty sure it made me cry, it was that beautifully written.

My husband, aka The Dutchie, isn’t that guy though. That’s not his thing. He doesn’t do slushy or soppy and that’s fine too… so instead, I did a mini-interview with him to celebrate my 100th blog post! As my number 1 fan, he deserves a bit of appreciation! 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

Where were you born? And where did you grow up?
I was born in Amsterdam. I lived in Bovenkarspel for the first 6 years of my life and then we moved to Huizen in ‘t Gooi. After that I lived in Amsterdam for a few years before moving to Hilversum. From there I went to England for 3 years and now we’re back in Hilversum.

What do you do all day? 
I’m an SEA Consultant. So if you see paid adverts at the top of Google results, that could be me. And if you’ve visited a website and are (annoyingly) followed around with banners… that’s what I do as well.

Favourite Dutch food(s)?
Vlammetjes. Preferably on a platter along with bitterballen.

What Dutch dish do you think everyone should try while here?
We’re not known for our great food, but I think everyone should go to a Febo or a different ‘eten uit de muur’ (eating from the wall) place and get some kroketten and other random stuff that’s in it. Make sure you’re not that tourist who opens an empty slot though!

What is the one thing you recommend someone does on their trip to Holland?
If you’re in Amsterdam on New Year’s eve – find a rooftop to party on. The 360 degree fireworks at midnight are absolutely unbelievable (don’t even try to imagine). I’ve seen many English friends literally get tears in their eyes when they’ve been there.

What is it like being in a relationship with someone from a different country?
Fun and sometimes difficult. Fun as in I love the English culture and I’m in the middle of it. Hard because apparently the Dutch come over very rude and sometimes (for me) I’m acting normal and am being accused of being very rude. <Editor: He is rude. But he doesn’t mean to be. We’re still working on that one…>

What do you most miss about England?
The pub culture. And more specifically, being able to chose from different types of cider from draft and bottle in any random pub. Every pub I went to in England has a selection of cider. Here you’re lucky if they have one brand, and then it’s Strongbow!

Favourite place in Holland?
Out on the water in Vinkeveen. My best friend has a boat.

Favourite country you’ve visited?
Thailand.

What is your favourite trip we have taken together?
Mojacar, Spain. As a country I’d say the trip to Thailand – but so many crazy things happened in Mojacar and it’s the first and most likely the last time I’ve had success with karaoke. (I’m not known for my beautiful singing voice!) I sang Pulp – Common People.

How about your least favourite trip we have taken together?
Hmmm… I guess Brugge <Editor: He’s Dutch, he means Bruges.> when all the bars and restaurants we wanted to visit were closed. And actually the whole city was dead for some holiday or something.

Best bands?
**Rubs his hands together** Mmmmm… Music, my favourite subject! 🙂 In no particular order… Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Sonic Youth, SLAYER, The Smiths, Echo & the Bunnyman, Roxy Music (with Brian Eno), Primus, The Clash, Sisters of Mercy, New Model Army, Rammstein, Television, Doe Maar.

Best song ever made?
Roxy Music – If There is Something. <Editor: This song was played at our wedding.>

Best gig you’ve ever been to?
Sonic Youth. Pukkelpop 1990 or something. Gig doesn’t completely cover it, the whole festival was amazing: The Pogues, Ramones, Nirvana (before Nevermind), Frank Black, Ride, Dinosaur Jr.

First tape you ever bought?
**Laughs** Yeah yeah, I’m old! I’m too old to remember the first. The first I remember is Depeche Mode – Black Celebration, but there must be ones before that.

Favourite TV show?
Masterchef. (Or MotoGP if you can call that a TV show.)

Favourite film?
LA Confidential.

Proudest moment ever? <Editor: Puke fest coming up!!> 
Marrying Bitterballenbruid 🙂

What’s your special talent?
I guess I have to say pingpong. And I deliberately say pingpong as people who take it too seriously call it table tennis. <Editor butts in again: He’s being ridiculously modest here! He plays in the 2nd division in Holland and in the UK he played regionally. He’s good. Really bloody good.>

Anything else you’d like to know about The Dutchie?

Comment below and I’ll get him to answer any additional questions 🙂 Today is your chance to be as nosey as you like!!

Hayley x

Hondenpoep?

When I asked if I’d missed anything in a recent blog post, a reader named Carole commented: “You forget the dog poo. You always have to look down, otherwise you have to clean your shoes twice.” (On the post: 15 Things I Never Did Until I Lived In The Netherlands)

I’ve seen this “problem” a few times in the Netherlands (and thankfully managed to dodge the offending substance each time!!) but to be honest, I didn’t notice much difference from the UK. (It happens occasionally, but not often!)

But today I saw this advertisement…

Poep sign

It seems Hilversum DOES have a dog poo problem!!!

If you don’t speak Dutch, the rough translation is: “Dog poo? I clean it up properly.” (Netjes means properly/neatly/decently.)

And to make sure you got it, boys and girls, it’s a two-sided advert with a male option as well… 😉

Poep sign reverse

As an English woman, I find it so bizarre to advertise the fact that you have to clean up after your dog! I had a good chuckle whilst taking these photos… I mean, it’s just common sense, right…?

In the UK, if you are a dog owner, you have a legal duty to clean up every time your dog “messes” in a public place. Is it not illegal here too?

A quick Google search gives me websites like “Poep op de stoep” (catchy!) selling anti-dog-poo-stickers!? Is this really such a problem in Holland?

Hayley x

A Year of Blogging

So, it turns out that this Friday will see Bitterballenbruid.com’s first anniversary. I’ll be in England this weekend (woop woop) so no time to post then. I’ve only lived in the Netherlands for 6 months, so it seems weird that I’ve already been blogging for a year! It’s had its ups and downs! On the plus side, I only started it for myself – to use my time more productively when I was having problems sleeping – so the page views, follows, comments and likes have all been a surprise to me.

On the downside… there are times when I have no idea what to write, other times I have 20 posts in my head and don’t know which one to write first… and other times when I start a post and don’t finish it. (I must have at least 15 drafts sitting here all sad and unwanted.) #Firstworldproblems eh? But turning a year old does make you think about things: Is the blog going where I want it to? Have I found my niche yet? Shall I continue blogging? You see a lot of blogs fizzle out in a year (or less) and I can totally see why.

Who knows. We shall see. You’ve probably noticed I changed the theme, it felt like time for a little refresh. I would also like to blog more about Hilversum (and surrounding areas) because before I moved here I really struggled to find anything online. What else do you wanna see? More lists? More Dutch stuff? More posts about bitterballen? 😉

3 happy things to end…

1. I won the AngloINFO competition!! Thanks to those who voted!! I now get £100 A MONTH FOR A YEAR (!!) to spend at the British Corner Shop. Best prize EVER for an expat!

2. The weather is gorgeous this week! Look where I got to cycle on my lunch break yesterday!  Told you Hilversum is beautiful 🙂

Loosdrechtsebos

Loosdrechtsebos, Hilversum

3. I have my 6th Dutch lesson tomorrow. It’s been going really well and the teacher even asked me if I wanted to try out the advanced course (I’m currently on the intermediate course.) What a geek! I decided not to though, because (due to my geekiness) I need to know all of the rules and grammar etc first… and the advanced course is only speaking. There’s no coursebook or structure like I have now in the intermediate lessons. If I make a mistake, I at least want to know why!

3.a. Some Dutch friends taught me how difficult English pronunciation is at the weekend. I knew Dutchies had problems with our “th” as that sound doesn’t exist in Dutch… but check out this poem about English spelling and pronunciation: The Chaos by Dutchman Gerard Nolst Trenité. It certainly made me think twice and I’ll definitely complain 50% less about Dutch pronunciation from now on…

Hayley x

Bitterballen Bruid’s Bruiloft – The Official Photographs

Happy Friday! I’m **SO** excited to show you a selection of our professional wedding photographs which arrived this week! I was actually ready to post Part 3 of the honeymoon today, but I figure this is WAY more important. Hope you agree!

Our wedding took place in Hilversum at the Gemeentehuis (town hall) followed by a reception at The Haven van Huizen (haven = harbour) and a meal at Cornelisz Restaurant.

Zuiderkerk, Hilversum

My Mum being pampered…

On the way!

Our wonderful registrar at the Gemeentehuis, Hilversum

Making it official!

My little sister was a witness AND bridesmaid

The Haven van Huizen

You know it had to happen!! BITTERBALLEN BRUID!

Cornelisz, Huizen

Wow! That was way more than I thought! Hope you like! 🙂

Photo credit goes to the amazing Katie at Indigo Images who flew to Holland and back for the day! An absolute star! Massive thanks.

Have a great weekend!

Hayley x

Japanese Restaurants in Hilversum

This weekend was my 5 month expat-iversary in the Netherlands… so what better to write about than another one of my passions… Japanese food! (Btw: yes, I get that most people would celebrate their 6 month “anniversary” but 5 is my lucky number and I am not most people!)

Before I start, I probably don’t say it here much (if at all… I’m not that kinda girl) BUT the last 5 months have been HARD! I won’t lie. Fellow blogger Sophie in Clogs summed it up perfectly in her advice to newbie expats: “…the first few months will be wonderful and frustrating and overwhelming and exciting and lonely and just plain weird – a true roller coaster of emotions.” True, true words! Thanks, Sophie – I couldn’t have said it better myself!

On Friday I was in desperate need of cheering up, so we decided to go out for a meal. And what better than a belly full of sashimi?!

Even before we arrived in Holland, I had already been checking out Trip Advisor to find the best local eateries… and lucky for us there are five Japanese restaurants in Hilversum! We’ve now tried four of the five, and who knows… maybe we’ll try number 5 this month! (Dutchie: nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

So if you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, here’s the lowdown of what’s on offer in Hilversum…

Sumo

A chain, yes. But don’t judge! We’ve eaten here once and had takeaway delivered 2 or 3 times. It is always spot on! The sashimi salad is the shining star of this restaurant: copious amounts of tuna and salmon with a delicious (and slightly spicy) salad dressing, crisp, salad, all finely sliced. The salad of champions! (Bottom right.)

Sumo, Hilversum

Japanese feast at Sumo, Hilversum

The portion of edamame beans is epic! Well worth the 5 euros. (We actually took half of them home in a doggy bag as there were so many!) The other dishes are crab and prawn “balls” (but more like discs) and spicy tuna maki! Yum!

Sumo restaurants offer “all you can eat” or  a la carte… as we are massive sashimi fans we went a la carte as sashimi isn’t included in the all you can eat menu. (You can buy it for an additional €12.50.)

Sashimi @ Sumo, Hilversum

Sashimi @ Sumo, Hilversum

A great restaurant and well deserving of it’s 4 out of 5 stars on Trip Advisor.

Have you visited other Sumo restaurants in the Netherlands? How did they match up?

Tokyo

Located on Havenstraat, this restaurant has a great relaxed atmosphere and the staff are super-friendly. I love this traditional Japanese mural – beautiful!

Mural @ Toyko, Hilversum

Mural @ Toyko, Hilversum

They also get bonus points for the amazing wine glasses!

Plum wine & Menu @ Tokyo, Hilversum

Plum wine & Menu @ Tokyo, Hilversum

A big advantage at Tokyo is you can buy 4 maki rolls instead of the standard 8. This is great because it means you can two different varieties at once: a big advantage for us!

They also serve their sashimi platter ON A BOAT!! 😀

Sashimi Boat! @ Tokyo, Hilversum

Sashimi Boat! @ Tokyo, Hilversum

Simply fabulous! A great authentic restaurant… I can’t wait to go back!

Kimono

Sorry to say, but: best avoided. Truly disappointing. The staff were friendly but the food just wasn’t up to scratch. We ordered a sashimi platter which was said to contain 7 different types of fish. It arrived with four, one of which was crabsticks. The tempura was soggy and very basic (no fancy veg or prawns, just standard veg.) The wasabi was discoloured and weak. If the wasabi is good… you should NOT be able to do this:

Kimono, Hilversum

Kimono, Hilversum

…without getting the world’s biggest nose-kick. This amount: nothing.

Hopefully they were just having a bad day and a low-stocked kitchen… but it was enough for us to not want to go back again.

Sochi’s Sushi

This is the one we haven’t tried yet… but soooooon! Located on the Groest, next to Sumo! (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer and all that!) They offer lunch, take out and dinner (but are only open until 8pm, which is why we haven’t been yet.)

It’s on the list!

Ai Uchi (situated within the Amrâth Grand Hotel Theater Gooiland)

This was the little gem we discovered on Friday! As you can see – the bar area is stunning!

Ai Uchi @ the Amrâth Grand Hotel Gooiland

Ai Uchi @ the Amrâth Grand Hotel Gooiland

We had two soups to start but they didn’t photograph well in the romantic candle light! 😉 Miso soup (simple, good) and a Japanese fish soup (highly recommended!)

Then we had tempura, sashimi, edamame beans (of course!) and Usuyaki (beefrolls met knoflook en lenteui = beef with garlic and spring onions) with udon noodles. Definitely the dish of the day!!

Tempura and Sashimi @ Ai Uchi

Tempura and Sashimi @ Ai Uchi

Plum wine!

Plum wine!

The staff were welcoming and nothing was too much trouble. When we asked for more wasabi (heat fiends that we are) the waiter happily brought back a huge pot (well, huge for wasabi, anyway!)

Hilversum gets a big thumbs up for its Japanse restaurants! 

What great restaurants do you have in your neighbourhood?

Hayley x

Eating & Drinking our way around the World (Cup) – Part 4

The Netherlands vs Mexico (2-1)

Damn, that was a close match!! We had 5 screaming Dutchies in the house plus me and my sister, who came over from England last week. (On Friday we went to Hilversum Alive which was awesome! Way too much fun actually – because we got home at 4am and were hungover all day Saturday!!  Not great timing considering it was the Dutchie’s Birthday BBQ – so we had about 30 people over… But well, the best nights are the last-minute, spontaneous ones, right?!)

On Sunday (29th June), the football was on at 6pm, and shamefully, we didn’t cook Mexican ourselves because we had a crazy busy weekend! (And A LOT of cleaning up after the party/BBQ!)  Instead we ordered takeout from The Taco Company in Hilversum and washed it down with lashings of Desperados!

Mexican takeaway… close enough… right?

Holland!

Unfortunately not. The food was so boring compared to the Mexican we normally cook ourselves, but luckily we had reinforcements in the form of The Dutchie’s Special Sambal… and some knoflook (garlic) sauce… so we just drowned everything in that!!

Sad-looking leftover tacos...

Sad-looking leftover tacos…

Disappointing, but it serves us right for not cooking ourselves… Lesson learnt!!

This Saturday (5th July) is Holland vs Costa Rica. I’ll be in England on my hen do (woop woop!!) so you’ll be treated to a guest post from none other than The Dutchie!! 😀

Hayley x

Interview with Expats Blog

Morning! An exciting day for me as I’m being featured on Expatsblog.com! You can read the full interview here.

150px x 60px

A short but sweet post! Nothing like me 😉 That would be leggy and gobby!

Hayley x

Rondlopen in Hilversum (Walking around in Hilversum)

A (Dutch) friend told me last week: Ik vind Hilversum heel saai (I find Hilversum very boring.)

Oh contraire, my dear friend!! That’s because you’ve lived here for 6 years and have seen everything already!!

I, on the other hand, have lived here for 6 weeks. Everything is new, exciting, beautiful… Buzzfeed summed it up perfectly in 21 Life Struggles All Expats Will Understand – every day feels like an adventure!

That sounds totally cheesy with extra brie on top, but it’s true. Moving to another country is like being a kid again… everything is interesting, fun and well, NEW!!

Trip to the stadskantoor (council office) to do boring paperwork and get your Bull Shit Number (BSN = Burgerservicenummer = Citizen Identification number.) Oh no my friend! An expat sees an exciting challenge. Walk 30+ mins, navigate to City Hall without getting lost and marvel at Dudok’s finest and most famous piece of architecture…

Raadhuis van Hilversum

Raadhuis van Hilversum

View of Raadhuis from outside of the stadtskantoor

View of Raadhuis from outside of the stadtskantoor

Walk to the supermarket for milk and bread…

Summer snow

Summer snow

Find yourself in a summerwonderland!

Pop into town for a drink…

Street art in Hilversum

Street art in Hilversum

Discover amazingly talented street art, right on your doorstep!!

Trudge to the train station…

Dancing ladies

Dancing ladies

Find beautiful scupltures which make you smile from ear to ear!!

Walk to the gym…

Oranje gekkenhuis!

Oranje gekkenhuis!

Discover your local football hooligans 😉

Pop to town to print some photos…

Studio 54...

Studio 54…

KRO studio, Hilversum

KRO studio, Hilversum

KRO Studio, Hilversum

KRO Studio, Hilversum

Sint-Vituskerk in Hilversum

Moody looking Sint-Vituskerk in Hilversum

Stumble across Studio 54 and other interesting old buildings…

Go to buy wedding hair accessories…

Street art, Hilversum

Street art, Hilversum… if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it…

Another visit to Albert Heijn…

Cafe Zuid

Cafe Zuid

Post-dinner walk…

Getting our bearings with the local area

Getting our bearings with the local area

Early-evening borrel…

Blue lights in Hilversum

Blue lights in Hilversum

Open je ogen… Hilversum is mooi. (Open your eyes, Hilversum is beautiful.)

I can’t wait to discover more…

What’s the most underrated sight where you live?

Hayley x