What puts me off going to the Hague city centre is the car park price that you have to pay at the parking garages. It’s really difficult to find street parking as there is a shortage. Q-Park charges €4 for the first 50 minutes or part of it and €2 for the next 25 minutes or part thereof. Hence, if you park at Q-Park Grote Markt, you pay a minimum of €4 even if you only park there for less than an hour.
Recently, I discovered the Museumkwartier car park which is a new, nice and spacious car park. It is also brightly lit which makes me feel safer as I walk to and from my car. It only charges in half hour segments i.e. €1.90 for 30 minutes. If you buy your parking ticket online with Museumkwartier car park, you pay even less. For example, you can park for 4 hours and only pay €8 which is incredibly cheap.
If you go to the Hague for the day, Museumkwartier charges only €17.50 for the whole day (provided you buy the parking ticket online) whereas Q-Park charges €30.
The next time you go to The Hague centre for a meal, movie or to the museum, I recommend you plan ahead and buy your parking ticket online and park at Museumkwartier.
I went with some friends to Bog last Saturday. I had never been to a Nordic restaurant and wasn’t sure what to expect. The menu was simple – you had a choice of either meat/fish or a vegetables menu. You could choose either the 6 course menu or 8 course menu and wine pairing was available.
The menu was interestingly laid out as each course had a 3 ingredient description. Hence, you didn’t know how each course would be cooked which added to the surprise of the entire meal.
Before the first course arrived, we were served 3 different appetizers. The presentation was very simple and zen and the appetizers were incredibly delicious. The homemade bread was amazing! I don’t usually like sourdough bread but I loved Bog’s which had cumin in it. I simply couldn’t stop eating it.
The first course was incredible. It was an oyster emulsion with very thin slices of caulifower prepared in 3 different ways with a horseradish sauce. I loved the next course which was salmon rolled in dill powder and served with a garnish made from kohlrabi, sour cream and aquavit. The next 2 courses comprised of a porkloin dish and a duck dish. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the dessert which was described in the menu as Jerusalem artichoke, chocolate and oat but it was amazing. The artichoke was a mousse and sorbet and it tasted so good with the white chocolate and oat crumble.
Bog opened in 2014 and its opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 18:30-23:00. The menu changes every 6 weeks. It’s a unique restaurant that explores by combining unusual and quality ingredients together. It was a sensational meal and I am definitely going back again.
If you are looking for somewhere to have a nice dinner in the Hague, I highly recommend Cottontree City. It is located adjacent to the American Embassy in the Hague. It has an interesting menu in that it doesn’t have starters and main courses. Instead, it offers a good variety of a la carte dishes for €12.50 and some classic dishes at a higher price.
I had the 4 course menu and the waitress told us which dishes we would be having and even offered me another option when I wasn’t keen on the dessert choice.
For a Saturday night, the restaurant was almost full but we didn’t have to wait long for our food. I absolutely loved the tuna tartare as the tuna was so fresh and the combination of the wakame and wasabi dressing with it was sensational.
The next course was the sauteed prawns with papaya, kai lan and black pepper which was served with crispy noodles. That was amazing. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the dessert which was a brownie with lemongrass, peach, apricot and blood orange sorbet but it was surprisingly good.
The food was not only excellent but beautifully presented and the portions were good. It cost me €39.50 for a four course menu which I thought was reasonable. Cottontree also offers a 5, 6 or 8 course menus and is open for lunch and dinner. I was told that the restaurant changes a few dishes every 3 to 4 weeks.
I will definitely go back to eat at Cottontree again. I particularly like the fact that it is open for lunch on weekdays and unlike most restaurants which are closed on Mondays, Cottontree is closed on Sundays.
If you are looking for somewhere to go to do your Christmas shopping in Holland, I recommend the Kasteel de Haar’s Country & Christmas Fair. What I love about this fair is Christmas shopping in the unique & beautiful setting of the castle grounds. There are more than 240 stands at the fair so you should be able to find Christmas presents for your family & friends.
2017 is the 20th year of this event and the dates are from Tuesday, 21 November to Sunday, 26 November. The opening hours are from 10:00-22:00 apart from Sunday where the opening hours are from 10:00-18:00.
You have to pay to enter the fair. It costs €20 per adult and €10 for children between the age of 12 to 16 years old. Children under 12 enter for free. However, if you buy your tickets online, adults get 20% discount off the entry fee. Parking isn’t a problem as it’s a well organised event. You buy a car parking ticket for €6 online as well.
One of my favourite seafood restaurant in The Hague is Mero. I have been to Mero several times and have never been disappointed by the consistency of the quality of the food and service. What I usually have at Mero is the dinner surprise menu where you can choose 3 courses or 4 courses. The 3 course surprise menu costs €32.50 and the 4 course costs €37.50.
Mero also offers a 2 course surprise menu at lunch time for €25.50 where you can choose to have a starter and main course or a main course and dessert.
In the summer season, it is open everyday from 12:00-22:00 apart from Monday and Tuesday. In the winter, it opens later at 14:00. However, although the restaurant isn’t open until 14:00, if you call the restaurant in advance, the owners are accommodating and will open the restaurant earlier at 12:00 or 12:30 for you.
If you are at Schipol airport and have time to kill as security was much faster than you had anticipated, a lovely place to have a coffee, cake or a quick bite is Cafe Coco which is located in Schipol Lounge 2. It opened in 2016 and it offers a selection of starters, main courses and desserts.
Cafe Coco has comfortable chairs and unlike most of the food outlets, you are served by waiters at your table. As my family & I had already had lunch at home, we had some desserts and drinks.
I had the “Longue Passion” cake which was an amazing mango & passion fruit dessert. My daughter had the “Quenelles aux chocolate”, a dessert for chocolate lovers as it had 3 different types of chocolate mousse on a crunchy base. The cappuccino was excellent.
I am so glad I discovered Cafe Coco as airports aren’t fun places to be especially if your flight has been delayed!
The Japanese Garden in Clingendael Park is open from 14 to 29 October this year from 10:00-16:00 every day. I went there today as the weather was amazingly warm for October to see the autumn colours in the garden. It was particularly busy as some of the Dutch schools and international schools are on holiday this week.
I must admit that although it was beautiful, I still prefer the Japanese Garden in the spring as it is even more stunning particularly with its beautiful azalea bushes. But it’s still worth visiting!