When you’re heading to a city for a 24 hour fun fest with your friends, it doesn’t leave too much time for a cultural exploration of the areas most famous and important sites. It does, however, mean you can eat the finest food and drink the most delicious beverages the city has to offer.
My best friend and I had visited Utrecht some 8 months before, as a belated birthday trip for me, and we had a blast. Honestly, if there’s one city in the Netherlands I would suggest you visit, it would be Utrecht. It’s not as crowded as Amsterdam, but it still offers all your typical Dutch favourites: the gorgeous canal houses which line the beautiful canals themselves, and of course, all those delicious Dutch delicacies.
We returned to Utrecht this weekend to celebrate another birthday. Not mine this time, but my best friend’s husband, who hit 30 on Saturday.
I don’t know about you, but I’m all about the food. When I take a trip, I look up bars and cafes before the history. I love being able to indulge in food and drink that we don’t usually have lying around the house, and to be quite honest, I go a bit mad, and usually end up stuffing myself senseless.
You’re about to see that this weekend was no different.
Here are my top three places to eat and drink in Utrecht. You should definitely check these places out.
Part one: The Streetfood Club
3512 BK, Utrecht
We were super lucky to land literally on the doorstep of The Streetfood Club: our hotel was next door.
It was easy to spot, perhaps even a little too easy. The gaudy and vibrant lights and decor shone through the windows like a light beacon, calling both Nikki and me to attention immediately.
Within a few minutes, we had the website and menu up on our phones.
If there’s anything that can pull me into a restaurant, it’s a mixture of neon lights and a damn good menu, and this place seemed to have it all.
“We’re going here.” It was settled.
Once the men had rejoined us from taking the car to the safety of the hotel’s car park, we dumped our bags and pretty much ran to the front door. I for one was starving already, and before I reached the point of no return (does anybody else get hangry?), I had to get some food inside me.
I mean the inside was just ridiculous. Think: someone with too much money and a thing for Instagram influencers vomited all over the place and you could probably imagine it perfectly.
The place had more greenery than a jungle, and a disgustingly suave amount of velvet. I felt as though I’d warped into a fancy old school Hollywood movie when I set eyes on the bar, and the neon lights oozed sass. My poor eyes didn’t know what had hit them. I wasn’t surprised it was dripping in people.
We’d made it on time to be seated amongst the rest of the revellers, but only just. This place gets busy.
Picking and choosing
It was time to take a look at the menu, which we had already done, in detail, a mere 20 minutes before we were seated.
We’d been pulled in by the sheer quantity of what they had to offer. I was in a world of indecision. I’m not great with making a distinct food choice at the best of times, and now I was being faced with pancakes, waffles, ramen, fried chicken, everything I deem to be absolutely delicious.
We were quiet for a long time, poring over the menu, only stopping now and then to tut at the newest choice to catch our eye and make us second guess our chosen meal.
Eventually, we settled on our choices and ordered. I went for The Korean, a kimchi waffle, with Korean inspired fried chicken and maple syrup. I added bacon to the mix to take it to the next level, and prepared to take the plunge.
You see, I’m not one for spicy food, and after Googling kimchi, I realised I would be in for an assault on the tastebuds unlike ever before.
Enough to feed the 5000
When our plates arrived, I was gobsmacked.
We’re going for a curry later, I thought to myself. I probably said it out loud too, more than once, as the worry crept in. My plate was piled high with waffle, chicken, bacon, ginger, chili flakes, garnish, everything. I mean, I was drooling at the thought of it, but kinda worried at the same time.
Everyone else had the same thought. Opposite me sat the most gorgeous looking Japanese dish I’ve seen: Karaage buns. Two black bao buns, with Japaneese fried Karaage chicken, sweet and spicy mango, lime marmalade and a radish salad.
Everything looked dreamy, and certainly fit into the aesthetic. Not quite the streetfood I’d taken part in eating in Vietnam earlier last year, but still, a taste of the world in one sense of the word.
My kimchi waffle was spicy, to say the least, but had enough savoury and sweet counterparts to allow me to wolf it down in (almost) record timing. It was delicious, although I didn’t finish the entire plate due to the impending curry later that evening.
The Streetfood Club turned out to be a fantastic start to our exploration into the food and drink scene in Utrecht, and it certainly filled the empty hole in the pit of my stomach that I’d been nursing all morning.
Whilst it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, with its garish and modern decor, and Instagram-my vibe, it was certainly a place we enjoyed visiting. The food was delicious, and well presented. The portions were hearty as well, which is something I certainly look for in a restaurant.
This place gets a 4/5 star review from me.