Romance at 96 meters above ground

In December 2008 I gave my vows to a loving Dutchman at Starbucks, Tagaytay. It was a lovely afternoon, the setting sun was making the lake even more romantic and the smell of coffee was wafting in the cool breeze. I felt beautiful in my little black dress and red shoes, saying I do while looking up my man’s eyes, who is is almost 2 meters high (Im 5’1, do the math).

Fast forward to two years later my husband and I are on the afternoon train back to Rotterdam after spending the Christmas weekend with his parents, when he asked me to go to a dinner date with him. I think it was a spur of a  moment decision. And although I was flattered (he is a Dutchman, they are not always that sweet) I was also worried. On a Monday evening, weekend after Christmas, walking into a restaurant without a restaurant will be a nightmare.

And it sure was. We called all the restaurants that he and I know but to no avail. Either they are closed on Monday, close for the holidays or fully-booked. One thing that I am still trying to understand in this country, why is that whenever there are holidays where you can earn more money, businesses choose to close.

So after about 10 phone calls and 10 no’s I finally decided that the only cosy restaurant where you can dine that nigh would be where the tourists go.We made a quick reservation and took a tram to our last choice, Euromast Brasserie. We paid the 18euros entrance fee for both of us, even though we only wanted to eat at the restaurant and ushered in by a kind Dutchman who at least took our coats.

I wanted to sit on the balcony to have a unobstructed view of the skyline but the waiter told us all tables there were booked. So we were seated just above it with an annoying flower decor partially blocking the view. But the sprawling lights at the city of Rotterdam was beautiful that night, not as romantic as two years before, but just as tranquil.

We started the dinner with a glass of Laurent Perrier brut for me and a Merlot for him. I wanted champagne to remember that special day even though my pocket is protesting. For entree, we shared an order of  fried prawns with a tarte tatin of chicory and ice plant, the best food that night. The prawns were perfectly done but what makes this dish extra appetizing are the two kinds of leaves that came with it. It made the prawns extra delicious and the price (15euros) worthy of it.

For main course, the duck breast lacquered with star anis syrup served with celeriac mousseline and baby carrots (20euros) fancied me. I must admit though, I hesitated a bit at the sight of redness in my meat as I prefer them rather very well done but the glaze surprisingly provided my dish something that I love in my food, sweetness. In case you are wondering what celeriac mousseline is (like I previously did) it is just a French-ied term for celery puree. Had it not been for, I would have thought it’s mashed potato, which went very well with the duck breast. I ordered a glass of Syrahn(3,25euros) to go with it.

The husband settled for steamed fish, steamed wolf fish with a crispy coating of Gruyere cheese, boulangere potato and truffle nage (21,50euros) to be exact. Sometimes this fancy French term makes me crazy and when I am hungry enough, I forget to ask the waiters to explain them. Boulangere is actually just a glorified term potato chips, meanwhile those black sprinkles are the truffle nage. Just last night during dinner, he told me that he could have just made the dish at home. Steam wold fish with potato chips and truffle sprinkles wouldn’t be that hard to cook, I think.

For desserts we shared this warm chocolate cake with chocolate syrup and sorbet (8euros) which is forgettable. The dessert sampler of sundae, chocolate lava cake and panna cota at Pizza Hut is way more delicious and cost just 3 euros.

In the end, we did have a wonderful anniversary date. Although not as romantic as the day I hop on a tricycle to be driven to my wedding venue, the picturesque Rotterdam skyline at night and the wonderful company of my husband made the dinner at Euromast Brasserie as special as our first meal together.

Euromast Brasserie is actually a decent and quite affordable restaurant that likes to serve French dishes. I have dined here several times but I wouldn’t recommend it because first, your bill will automatically be 19euros higher and second you will be dining with a lot of tourists who likes to take pictures. For that price, I would go instead to a more picturesque and very Dutch city of Schiedam ( 2 minutes by train from Rotterdam) and dine at the former city hall, now called ‘t Stadhuis restaurant.