Friday, 15 June 2018

My Vegan Dining Adventures Part Two Making Friends

In 1996 a local magazine dropped through my letterbox, with an article about a Dutch chef called Henk, who ran a restaurant nearby with his wife Frances and catered for dietary requirements, so I rang him.   He was very accommodating and so positive I booked a table for dinner.   I regularly walked past his restaurant, thinking I would never dine there, as it seemed rather posh and they probably would not cater for me, how wrong was I, never judge a book by its cover.

Our first visit was fantastic, my memory fails me as to the menu, though the main course was a delicious spicy vegetable and bean dish called gypsy stew (Henk told me how the dish derived its name, but I have forgotten what he told me).   Steven and I became regular customers, yet Henk rarely repeated dishes, we would have five course gourmet menus and he made a vegan dish for each course.   I had risottos, pasta, filo parcels, salads, tempura, soups, he made desserts too, the list is endless.  You see tofish and chips on loads of menus these days and everyone raves about it, well Henk beat everyone to it, he served it me all those years ago, so scrumptious it was one dish I had several times.   He used silken tofu, chocolate and Cointreau to make a fabulous take on a Terry's chocolate orange mousse, even today so many places still only offer sorbet.   Henk was ahead of his time with his vegan creations.

Henk was always thinking on his feet, a good job when one night I arrived with Steven and two friends, thinking I booked a table and had got my wires crossed, but he did not bat an eyelid and produced a fabulous meal on the spot.   All those places I have visited, that say sorry we need plenty notice (and still get it wrong) could learn a thing or too. 

We became very good friends with Henk and Frances and we had many a fantastic night out.  I would ask them round for dinner and he appreciated it, as being a chef people were reluctant to invite him round for meals.   Sadly Frances is no longer with us, but we remain good friends with Henk to this day more than twenty years later and he still cooks up a vegan storm for me.

I have been digging round in the loft for photos, which are few and far between as I am so fussy as to photos of me I like, but these are from 2001 for my fortieth birthday.   Happy memories.

Fortieth Birthday 

Henk & Frances

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