Sunday, July 26, 2020

Oud Zuilen, Netherlands: Slot Zuylen (Zuylen Castle) + Dinner at Bistro Belle

Visit Period: March 2019
Location: Oud Zuilen, Utrecht, Netherlands

There were a few international colleagues in town and being the assigned entertainer, sometimes self-appointed because no one else will do the honours anyway, I took them out for dinner.

I have been here at Bistro Belle a while back with the Dutchman, however, it was on an afternoon. We had some tea and delicious apple pie. So I thought that it's not a bad idea at all to come back for dinner.

The restaurant is named after Belle van Zuylen, a famous writer in the 18th century who lives with her family in the castle just behind the restaurant, Slot Zuylen. 

What I love about restaurants in villages and small towns, or anything outside the city, is that parking is always easy to find. In most cases, there will be designated parking spaces and they are usually free. I parked the car right across the castle so my colleagues can enjoy the lovely architecture and the green scenery before we wander around a bit in the tiny village and have our dinner at the restaurant.

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This is Slot Zuylen (Zuylen Castle). 

It is a typical Dutch castle, neo-Gothic architectural in style, very stately in its presence and with lofty pointy turrets. The castle itself is not too big but it has the usual security component of a wooden drawbridge and a moat around which permits a dream-like fantasy setting.

It's now a museum and open to the public. Check it out here: Slot Zuylen

We wandered further to the water bank passing by the restaurant. Oud Zuilen is cute. We surveyed the canal and the only main street of the small village, walking down to the draw bridge which crosses over to the newer part of the village. On the main street, we saw a B&B, a church, the restaurant, of course, several elegant traditional houses and a boat hire. 

It was time to walk in the restaurant, just in time for the slated booking schedule at 19:30. 

Seated at the restaurant, the waiter explained to us the ordering and dining concept at Bistro Belle. The price is fixed and the rules are:

- Ordering is per round
- Each round you can order 2 dishes
- There is no round limit (but they have kitchen hours/last order limit)

We started with some wine and fresh out of the oven bread. These were really delicious bread that we couldn't get enough, however, we restrained ourselves from ordering another plate. You can't stuff yourself with bread when you have several rounds to go.

These are our starters.... quite a variety as you can see. The dishes are relatively small so ordering 2 dishes each round was not a bad idea. We enjoyed this round.

Then we had our main course. The mussels pot is my portion and this was quite nice. I like it that it came in a small pot which I can easily finish. Perhaps the best dish for the evening was the beef; I remember both colleagues raving about it. 

Lastly, the dessert. We all had Creme Brulee and something else. The 'something else' for me was a cheese plate with walnuts and jam. The wait staff meticulously pointed out that they were all cheese from the Netherlands.

It was a gorgeous March evening. We left the restaurant in high spirits and back at the car we talked about the interesting dining concept. The concept is refreshing and the servings were small enough to do several rounds. I can only recommend it. 

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