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.
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.
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!
I went to Marks & Spencer (“M&S”) yesterday to buy food & stock up for its imminent departure but much to my surprise, it was permanently closed for business. I could see contractors dismantling the fittings inside the shop.
Although the company announced last February that it will be closing its Hague store on 31 October 2017, it has closed much earlier! I left town feeling very sad as I will miss everything from the food hall such as the bread, cereal, crisps, biscuits and the ready meals especially the Italian, Indian, Chinese & Asian meals.
Farewell M&S! I loved having you here since 2014 and will really miss your presence in Holland.
Have you had unpleasant service by your local bicycle shop? I remember in our first year in Holland, we bought all our bicycles from a shop and when we went back for servicing, the staff were unpleasant and rude. They insisted that we had to drop off our bicycles by a certain time in the morning and return to pick them up at the end of the same day. They refused to store our bicycles for us until the next day even though we couldn’t return to pick them up the same day.
The good news is I have found a really pleasant guy called Martijn who charges €40 per bicycle (a reasonable price) for an annual maintenance and he comes to your house to do it for you. He works quickly and takes around 30 minutes to service each bicycle. He comes with his van equipped with all the tools to do the servicing for you. I admired how he just hoisted the bike in his van and began to work in such a compact work space.
I loved the fact that it was so convenient having someone come to your home to service all our bicycles and I could choose the day and time that suited me. Martijn works every weekday from 10:00-17:00 and will come to you if you are located in the Hague and its immediate surrounding areas such as Leidschendam, Wassenaar, etc.
He charges €9.50 for travelling to your house but if you have 5 bicycles for him to service, he doesn’t charge you his travelling cost. Martijn can be contacted on his mobile 06 3391 7510 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org