RESTAURANT ONZE KERK | Hooge Zwaluwe

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In a small town down south in the province of Noord Brabant was an interesting locale to commemorate a milestone for our friend, Pieterjan. Since turning 45 only happens once in a lifetime, I thought it would be nice to have a celebratory meal in pleasantly unusual surroundings, searching as far as Belgium to see if there was a place worth the journey from where he stayed in Rotterdam. With help from old friend Google, a 150-year old church cleverly reused as a dining establishment came up in my search, and being just a half hour away made it not only practical, it was practically a given. Lunch in such a holy environment certainly offered something different yet familiar – where pews used to be are now dining tables and booths, the altar is now the kitchen, stained glass windows still intact and brilliant. Wine was definitely on the menu.

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The dishes weren’t too complicated – an uitsmijter for Teko and the seafood-themed house lunch for me and the birthday boy, with salmon, tuna, seasonal pumpkin soup, shrimp kroket, and salad – simple Dutch cuisine that seemed suited for the location. We didn’t say a prayer before our meal so I hope no one goes Old Testament on us, but I did feel an inner peace once we finished and were out the door. If a tiny town like Hooge Zwaluwe can have such a ‘destination’ restaurant, there’s certainly hope for many other towns out there. It’s only a question of time when we find out.

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