Owner/chef – Parkheuvel Restaurant
Erik van Loo comes from a butcher’s family from the southern-most corner of the country. His career began at the culinary institutes, Juliana and Joy and Peace. Yes, that’s right—Joy and Peace! He got his first Michelin star while at Duurstede Restaurant, his second at Zwethheul. In 2006, he took over Parkheuvel from The Netherlands’s top chef at the time. One year later he got his first star. In 2009 the second.
He likes to plate food up in rectangular- and square-shaped displays. Parkheuvel’s interior is a bit more exuberant. Baroque, lushly decorated, with Venetian lights and luxuriant flower arrangements. Owner and chef, Erik van Loo, and his wife, Anja, the restaurant’s hostess, love a warm, accessible atmosphere. ‘Cosy art deco’ they call it. I must say, it isn’t what you expect when you first see the austere building where the restaurant is located towering before you in Het Park, next to the Euromast.
Twenty-seven steps lead you up to the half-moon shaped restaurant. From your table, and more so from the terrace, you have a wonderful view out over the Maas’s shipping quarter. You will soon be distracted by the ‘welcome’ nibbles though, such as the fingerfood: a micro-toasted sandwich with truffles, pata negra, and pecorino. The appetizers are to die for. The pacing of the service, the table setting, the wine … everything is just so.
Van Loo is a gifted cook. He thinks up his recipes in the gym. ‘I stick the earplugs in, listen to loud music, and focus on one ingredient.’ That’s how his signature dishes came about—Bresse chicken ravioli with langoustines, wild mushrooms and lobster sauce, and Lamb of the Geulvalley, garlic fritters, Irish stew, cabbage turnip, broad beans and mustard gravy. Van Loo’s sauces are particularly good. They are everything but heavy; in Parkheuvel the food is light. The current menu includes North Sea crab with superior Queen-asparagus, and Dutch veal: sweetbreads, roasted onion, poached fillet of veal, lapsang souchong and wild mushrooms. The dessert is a mouthful (a joke from the chef)—Parkheuvel’s Snickers with chocolate, peanuts, caramel and nougatine.
Anja van Loo and her ‘black brigade’ know how to create an atmosphere that makes everyone feel at home. Consequently, and this is unusual for Michelin-star restaurant, a wide public patronizes Parkheuvel. A jacket and tie are not mandatory; just come and enjoy yourself whether in the main restaurant or in the private dining room with its own open kitchen.
If the restaurant is fully booked, don’t panic. Parkheuvel works in partnership with The Park, Parkhotel’s in house restaurant on the Westersingel, serving (slightly modified) Erik van Loo’s signature dishes.
T +31 (0) 10 4360530