The Hague Favourite: Mama Kelly urban bistro


It is the most talked about new restaurant in the city of The Hague and its surroundings: Urban bistro Mama Kelly. But what is all the buzz about, you might ask? There are in my opinion three success factors: the awe-inspiring interior design, the location, and most importantly the food. Mama Kelly has made a mark on the Dutch political capital’s foodies agenda. It’s not yet another hipster bar & restaurant like you have them a dime a dozen. This place has character.

Mama Kelly

Mama Kelly

Let’s talk location first. The urban bistro is located in the former boiler-house of the Caballero cigarette factory. In the 60s the Caballero cigarettes were the best-selling cigarettes in the Netherlands. Some may recall the non-filter cigarettes brand by its package picture: a cowboy sitting on a horseback. The boiler house is separate from the Caballero factory and the factory was controlled from this impressive space. Many old boilers have been preserved and are kept visible in the restaurant as part of the design. The old factory is located in an industrial part of The Hague, with a waterfront outside terrace. However, Holland’s biggest telecom company KPN is only a short walk down the street, making it a popular spot for the young urban professionals to have lunch, or after-work drinks and dinner.

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The interior design is awe-inspiring. It is robust yet elegant. The colour palette is kept monocromatic with copper, cognac brown leather and a few accent walls in grey-blue. On one side pitch black tiles add drama. Design diamond bulbs dangle down the ceiling. On the other side a bare white bricks wall lights up the space. At night candles are lit everywhere.

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The bar area is pretty impressive too. A gleaming copper bar is the focal point. I also love the photo booth with a neon text light.

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The front of the restaurant has an open kitchen so you can watch and has a more sleek, sophisticated interior, even though there are still many industrial details.

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In summer the outside terrace is packed. Black rattan chairs and benches with comfortable cushions make it a place to linger on sultry summer evenings. And the food? The food is delicious! Rotisserie chicken and lobster are the specialties but there is plenty more to choose from. So far I only had lunch there so I can only vouch for the rotisserie chicken sandwich and the cheesecake with raspberries. But I’ve heard that the lobster is pretty amazing too!

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Mama Kelly, Saturnusstraat 100, Den Haag

Haarlem hot spot: Restaurant Meneer Frans


Haarlem is one of the most fun cities to go on a day trip. Besides the picturesque streets that are adorned by flower pots and blooming trees and bushes, it is also the best place to shop and eat. There are plenty of boutiques, conceptstores and nice coffee bars, not to mention the many good restaurants. Restaurant Meneer Frans is a hidden gem in the center of the city. The restaurant houses in a stately historic building. In the front of the building you’ll find interior and home decor shop Van Duivenboden, which you have to cross to get to Meneer Frans. In the back there is a sunny garden to eat outside, a robust industrial styled conservatory, and the feminine Parisian chic ‘Pink Room’. The three areas combined are Meneer Frans. [continue reading after jump]

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The Pink Room is my favourite part of the restaurant. The space evokes a Parisian tea room. Ghost chairs by Kartell are covered with dusty pink, black and vintage blue sheep skins. On the floor, beautiful vintage rosekilims and patchwork kilims from Turkey add colour and texture to the space. Everything is tastefully selected and combined and just right into every detail. Here you can have brunch, lunch, coffee or tea. They serve a delicious carrot cake and also try the banana cake or apple pie. 

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In the conservatory they created an industrial and more robust atmosphere with a black brick wall and copper pendant lamps. The same menu is served here as in the pink room; Think salads, flamkuchen and sandwiches. When the weather permits, the outside terrace and garden quickly fill up. It is a haven of peace in the bustling city center. Meneer Frans is a perfect spot to brunch, lunch or have tea when visiting Haarlem. You’ll find it on Gedempte Oudegracht 90

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5 Favourite seafront restaurants in the Côte d’Azur


The Côte d’Azur is swarming with seafront restaurants, some more expensive than others. Although you will not have a hard time finding a restaurant, quality and service can differentiate. Therefore I would like to share my 5 favourite seafront restaurants with a beautiful view, comfortable atmosphere, and friendly staff. All 5 are easy accessible by car and great stops when you’re on a road trip.Cannes beach front restaurant

1. Club 55 in Saint Tropez

Club 55 is the oldest restaurant in St Tropez and is besides a restaurant also a beach club. The restaurant has a lovely cool shady terrace and outside bar, a sunny lounge area, and a private beach. The staff is friendly and there is valet parking. Do try their homemade ice tea, it’s the best! 43 Boulevard Patch, Ramatuelle

club 55
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2. L’air du Temps in Théoule-sur-Mer

Driving from Cannes to St Tropez or vice versa on the route du bord du mer offers you breathtaking views. You’ll pass small villages, deserted beaches and coves, the Esterel red rocks, and many sea-front restaurants. One of those restaurants is L’air du Temps in Theoule-sur-Mer. It is approx. 40 minutes south of Cannes, built on a cliff, with a panoramic view of Cannes’ beachfront and the Lerins islands. You can either sit inside or on the outside terrace. 67 Boulevard de la Corniche d’Or, Théoule-sur-MerL'air du tempsl'air du temps restaurant

3. La Plage Keller in Antibes

La Plage Keller is a sandy beach only a short drive from the city center of Antibes. It is the perfect spot to have lunch with breathtaking views of the blue sea and perky mountains. The restaurant offers great gourmet food. Parking is free. 1035 Chemin de la Garoupe, Antibes Juan les PinsPlage Keller

4. La Maison in Beaulieu-sur-Mer 

On your way to or from Monaco, do stop in this charming town called Beaulieu-sur-Mer. The best restaurants are lined up at the harbour. You have to go down to the harbour to see them as they are a bit hidden from the road. La Maison is one of the most popular ones, but a local also recommended Restaurant African Queen. Maybe we’ll try that next time. Port de PlaisanceBeaulieu-sur-Merbeaulieu sur mer

5. Le Neapolis in Mandelieu-la Napoule

When staying in Cannes, you might want to avoid the overpriced sea front restaurants along the Croisette boulevard. However, there are a lot of great alternatives in neighbouring city Mandelieu-la Napoule. The drive to Mandelieu is only 20 minutes and also very pleasant as it is on the sea border road. At twilight you have amazing views. In Mandelieu terraces and restaurants are packed with locals, which is always a good thing in my opinion. We had a lovely dinner at Le Neapolis, an Italian restaurant. This typical family restaurant is budget-friendly, simple, yet delicious. There is plenty of free parking. 11 rue Charles Pierrugues, Mandelieu-la Napouleneapolis

Hot spot Leiden: Lot & de Walvis


Residents of Leiden and its surroundings are flocking to a new hip restaurant in the city: Lot & de walvis, which means Lot and the whale. The restaurant is located a stone throw away from the Leidse Poort, with a waterfront outside terrace overlooking the harbour with its many leisure boats. The best thing is that the outside terrace is always sunny. Hence a perfect spot for summer days and evenings. IMG_5694IMG_5586IMG_5582IMG_5585

The interior is carefully curated, telling the story of Lot who traveled the world in her vintage van which she named Whale. After returning from her journeys, packed with souvenirs and pretty finds she collected, she decorated her new home, this restaurant. The place does feel like a living room. There are in fact three different spaces: the living room with a vintage vibe, the green and airy bar, and the dining space and lounge area with an Ibiza-style, hippie vibe.Lot en de walvis bar

The bar area is airy and minimalistic with wooden paneled walls, vintage school chairs and hanging plants. Here you can enjoy the best gin and tonic, a glass of wine, or a nice lunch with friends.IMG_5691IMG_5686Lot en de walvis

The dining space and lounge area has a real hippie vibe with its comfortable pillows, and hippie accessories. A great spot for dinner and relaxing. Lot en de walvisIMG_5615IMG_5632IMG_5630IMG_5636IMG_5620IMG_5627IMG_5643

The living room is decorated with vintage furniture, kilims and a large communal table. Here’s where you can listen to music, read, or just talk with coffee and tea. In one corner you see an old record player, in the other a guitar.Lot en de walvisIMG_5656IMG_5676Lot en de walvis livingroomIMG_5680IMG_5661

It is a place where you can escape the crowds and enjoy a hearty breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or drinks in a laid-back atmosphere.On sunny days, they turn on the barbecue, and sometimes there is a live band or DJ. For breakfast I recommend the fluffy American pancakes or eggs benedict. The coffee is the best, and inside there are three complimentary flavoured water taps.

Lot en de Walvis – Haven 1, Leiden

 

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Hot spot Leiden: Restaurant De Waag


De Waag was centuries ago the epicenter of Leiden but lost its function through the years and was actually hardly used. The historic building, a state monument, was where merchants from the 17-19th century would weigh their goods. But this summer the monument is once again a city hot spot, as it opened its doors last week as a new, cozy restaurant with a spectacular interior design concept. It is meant to be a place that feels like a second home even though the building is enormous. One can have breakfast, lunch or dinner under the magnificent vaults of the monumental Butterhall or glass new construction in the back.
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My favourite part of the restaurant is in fact the newly built glass roofed part in the back: a glass conservatory, where guests sit between the green of the plants or at the high tables near the window. There is a beautiful tiled floor, rattan lamps and the walls are open shelved construction boasting all sizes and shapes of vintage scales that hark back to its the building’s original function.  In this glass space you also find the large open kitchen with a rotisserie and shelves with herbs and plants .

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Fresh grilled chicken plays a major role in the Waag. On a Josper charcoal oven poultry is freshly grilled, seasoned in French or Portuguese style. In addition, there are on the menu tasty salads, pastas and culinary classics like a sirloin steak, prawns, satay and a burger.
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The high vaulted Butter hall evokes a dramatic scene, especially when the sun beams enter the space through the windows. Although it has a large set up of many tables, it still feels like home due to several dispersed seating areas with comfortable arm chairs to plunge into. Huge soft Persian rugs, warm colors and a special warm lighting plan transform the stately monument to a place where it is pleasant to stay for a coffee, beer or after dinner drinks. The beer selection is extensive, as is the menu of different coffees.

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The front part of the building, the actual Weigh hall, is a cozy breakfast and coffee corner and bar with an additional outside terrace. One can still admire the large steel hooks where once hung the scales. I love this place and think this will be one of my new favourite hangouts.

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