Friday night borrels – Elit Bar and Restaurant

Borrel means an alcoholic drink and it is also a Dutch term for a get-together that involves drinking. In our little office, we (more like I) usually look forward to Friday night borrels because  after a long, demanding week, a cocktail or two is a cozy way to start the weekend.

Borrels are also a good way of discovering different cocktail bars and restaurants mainly in Rotterdam. I already have a favourite but once in a while, I llike trying out new bars.

Last month, we had our borrel at Elit bar and restaurant, located in Wijhaven, just a stone’s throw away from the Cube Houses. Elit Restaurant and Cocktailbar is an extension of the beautiful Grand Cafe Het Witte Huis, a French Chateau style building which used to be the tallest in Europe. I also heard that it’s under the same management of Level, my favorite cocktail bar in Rotterdam.

They have a cool cocktail ethics!

They do not have as many cocktails as Level but there are a few surprises like this Apple and Caramel Martini. Two words – very refreshing!


This is calledd Juicy Detail it’s not really my kind of cocktails. I usually avoid cocktails with a lot of ice because I feel like I’m being cheated. But champagne and passion fruit is quite an intriguing combination.Unfortunately this one is Absolut-wodka based and we all know that Absolut is not the best wodka around.



For me, the strong point of Elit is not its cocktails but their food. It took them one hour to serve our orders but man, it’s delicious! This is stewed lamb shank in red wine and served with couscous.  I am not a big fan of couscous. In fact in Morocco, I did not even order one meal with couscous. But it goes well with the lamb especially with grilled tomatoes and asparagus.


This is my colleague’s meal – fried cod with smashed mousseline/potato and mustard sauce.  I’ve only had a small bite of the fish so it didn’t really register in my taste buds but I remember the creamy, velvety texture of the mashed potato. I hope it was served with my lamb instead but it would be a messy idea.

Most of the cocktails are familiar or are not interesting. When I can’t make up my mind, I usually ask the barman to mix something for me with a few requirements – no ice, sweet and strong and no cheap wodka (Absolut or Stolichinaya are definite no-no’s). My cocktails are usually wodka-based because wodka’s are best served chilled. I couldn’t really remember the combination of this one after one glass of wine and two cocktails beforehand, only that they used French wodka as a base (who knew that the French makes wodka?) But it was lovely and the bartender got a big compliment on this one.

The crowd - from mothers with babies in two to good-looking yuppies


Friday nights are usually busy for Elit, you can hardly get a seat unless you have a reservation. A lot of young professionals frequent the place as well as tourists because it’s located in Oude Haven, one of the most scenic places in Rotterdam. It can get really noisy but otherwise gezellig. I’m looking forward to my next borrel here after three long weeks of very hard work.