Trouw's kitchen: the last month

Trouw's kitchen: the last month

07-12-2014 | 14.47

There’s no denying it: the last month of Trouw has begun. Not only do we lose one of the best clubs in Europe, but also one of the best club restaurants, if you ask me. The combination of dancing and good food is a rare one. Chef Simo Bouabgha looks back and, once more, a little ahead. ‘It will be so hard to close the door behind me.’

I’m talking to Simo on a Wednesday morning in an empty restaurant. Orders have just been delivered by a local supplier and the mise-en-place is about to start. The chef is checking a couple of lists and making a few phone calls. He then gazes out of the window, in search of the right words. ‘You know, in this kitchen we work, as Moroccans say, like we had one single hand. It is teamwork. In our restaurant everything is about sharing, in so many different ways. A meal becomes a social experience, not only for the guests, but for the kitchen crew as well. I'm going to miss that terribly. When I’m having a day off, I still think about my colleagues and how they are coping. The kitchen is always on my mind.’
Trouw’s very last chef takes a good look around, unable to suppress a sigh. ‘Can you imagine that all of this will be gone in a few weeks? It’s inevitable, I know, but it just does not feel right. This is such a unique place.’

Filled to the last seat
Many people want to experience the atmosphere and food for the very last time. The big reservation book shows a lot of scribbling. During the week, you can still get a table, but on Fridays and Saturdays the restaurant is filled to the last seat. Thursday December 18, the night Laurent Garnier makes his appearance, pre-food in the restaurant is no longer available either. ‘For many people, clubbing in Trouw has become a total experience. First you eat together, then you dance the night away. It makes a club night so intense, not only for our guests but also for the artists. Trouw feels like a kind of home for them. It must be nice to have dinner at the large tables before you start working. The artists have always been so kind in their comments on the food and the staff.’
TweeduizendTrouw, Trouw’s New Year’s Eve, is celebrated with a 7-course meal. ‘Vegetables will be the stars of our menu, as always, but we will also be serving fish and meat. Of course you can combine all this and share the dishes with each other. It’s going to be a fabulous evening for sure.’

Beloved classics
Back to now. The latest Trouw menu includes a number of dishes that some might call classics, or at least something along those lines. Simo sums up what is truly not to miss. The fried mushrooms with lentils, poached egg, salicornia and lovage are a must eat, as well as the caramelized endive with gorgonzola, radicchio, walnuts and fig chutney. And of course the brique with spinach, goat cheese, royal dates, quinoa and argan oil. ‘That dish is very popular. It’s been a sell out ever since Het Parool wrote about it.’
Our chef is renowned for his fondness of goat meat. Once again in the coming weeks the goat meatballs are there to try, served with tomato salsa, pomegranate, olives, cilantro and egg. ‘There’s just something festive about goat meat to me. Where I come from, the animal is consumed from neck to tail. Last year baby goat was on the menu, and it was a huge success. Out of respect – they’re wonderful creatures, real dare devils! - I think you should throw away as little of their meat as possible.’
We come to speak of Simo's future. He dreams of his own business, somewhere he can provide guests with the distinctive tastes of offal. ‘Maybe it's something too intense for the average eater, but you could ‘seduce’ people gently, right?’ Once again, there is a soft sigh. ‘But to first say goodbye to everyone and shut the door behind me, that’s going to be hard. Two thumbs up for my team. Billie-Chan, Chris, Freek, Geert, Jevin, Joris, Muhammed, Tony en Tycho: it was an honour to work with you!’

Words: Bonita van Lier