Home-EN

Welkom

Welcome to Zeeland, a land of dykes where nature is still untouched. For that alone you’ll never want to leave. As someone born and bred in Zeeland, our sea-shaped landscape of polders, dunes and North Sea still moves me today. For me, my wife and our team, it is a great honour to welcome you in our restaurant and offer you our creativity and hospitability. As a team, we are very keen to share with you our love for all that grows and flourishes in Zeeland.

Edwin & Blanche Vinke and the whole team at Kromme Watergang

 

The first time I heard about a former school that was up for sale on the Slijkplaat some twenty-five years ago, my heart didn’t skip a beat. I didn’t know the area and it didn’t mean much to me. Still, my curiosity got the better of me. When I went to take a look at the place, without expectations, I was amazed at what I found there. Through the large iron-framed windows, I caught a glimpse of an empty room with colonnades running on each side. This discovery gave me goosebumps. I knew right away that this could be the place I was looking for. This is where I wanted to fuse together the Zeeland-Flemish landscape, the excellent produce from the region and my cooking.

We welcomed guests in our restaurant for the first time on March 11, 1993; I remember it well. Like with any other venture, the early years were crucial. Besides cooking and pampering our guests, we did everything ourselves: washing the dishes, cleaning, painting, masonry, carpentry and gardening. We went through fire and water for our restaurant. My wife Blanche and I have successfully pursued our path to more refinement. We still believe that having been recognised with two Michelin stars for our efforts is the crowning glory of our hard work.

Now, in 2019, bolstered by a significantly bigger team, we are ready to immerse our guests in an unforgettable experience, offering them even more comfort and service. From our suppliers, employees, trainees and loyal guests to the ceramist who created our custom serving dishes: we are deeply grateful to everyone who has been involved in the success of the Kromme Watergang.

What’s more, I am currently assisted in my kitchen by my son Tom, who is determined to show his pure and authentic Zeeland roots to the world. And rightly so. In our family we commit for life, and that also applies to the Kromme Watergang.

More about us

TOM'S HIDDEN BISTRO

CUISINE

Our cuisine is based on superior seasonal produce from the sea. My timeless presentations of fish, seafood and shellfish are designed to stimulate the sensory experience of our guests. Focusing exclusively on these ingredients and the nature that surrounds us here allows me to refine my dishes even more and raise the quality I offer. A combination of factors creates the perfect storm in bringing out the best flavours in my cooking: our skillful fishermen, the fact that we purchase our fish directly at the auction, and our knowledge of the biotope and the fish diet.

Eastern Scheldt, a cornucopia of seafood
You will find oysters, whelks, razor shells, winkles, cockles, Eastern Scheldt lobster and crabin the vast majority of our dishes. We get a fresh catch of this seafood and shellfish in our kitchen every day: alive and salty. We also give seaweed, our other local asset, the attention it deserves in the Kromme Watergang. Raw, dried, baked or fried: seaweed is one of the primary ingredients of our cooking.

Fish from the North Sea
No fish, no Kromme Watergang. Raised in Breskens, the quintessence of a fishing village with once 25 trawlers moored in its marina, I almost seemed destined to have fish also play a crucial role in my adult life. In my restaurant, I don’t make a distinction between ‘noble’ fish and bycatch. When the day’s catch arrives fresh in my kitchen, I consider it a challenge to make every single type shine. I also believe that every part of a fish should be used; it would be a shame to waste such treasures our world has to offer. That’s why my kitchen team and I adhere to the sustainable fin-to-tail philosophy. My personalised fish knives from Robert Herder are indispensable in all my fish preparations. They are a household name: who doesn’t know the world-famous classic paring knives engraved with the windmill logo? My ultimate fish knives are beautifully finished with cherry wood, razor sharp and above all unlikely handy to fillet a fish.

Natural flavour enhancers
By nature, fish lacks a full umani(savoury) taste. To compensate for that, I use unusual beef, veal, pork or lamb cuts as flavour enhancers. For instance, shin, tail, tongue, ear and neck provide the right nuances to build the rich foundation of our elegant and creative combinations. 

Spices
Bolivia, Tokyo, Bangkok, Beijing, Suriname, India, Morocco… All destinations that I have visited in recent years. I am extremely grateful for the trips I have made and can still make professionally. I dedicate myself to experiencing the local culture during those travels to literally taste how people live there. And then I bring home this valuable inspiration. Exotic spices therefore play an ever-growing role in our dishes.

Our own harvest
Our cuisine has changed now that we grow and harvest vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit in our own garden. While creating a lightness on the plate, they add sweet, bitter and sour notes where necessary. From a health perspective, too, I aim to replace animal proteins and fats with vegetables whenever possible. As a chef, I want to take the lead and show that we can indeed eat more nutritious and healthier dishes without compromising on taste.

Discover the heart and soul of our kitchen

GARDEN

Our garden or as we call it, the ‘Zilte Hof’ because of its silt-rich soil. It makes me happy to see our garden change with the seasons. My garden is not just a source of inspiration; it is also a playground where I can relax every day. Of course, working 1 hectare of Zeeland soil is not a one-man job. That is why I am very grateful to social work company Dethon and its driving force, Gijs van den Berg. My father-in-law Louis has also found a new challenge in sowing, ploughing and harvesting. Together with Machiel, he is in charge of our garden. It is an absolute joy to see them working in our garden every day.

 

 

In our kitchen, we try to do our bit for a better world by doing something about the looming food shortage and the expanding mountain of waste. No need to look far and beyond in our quest for alternative solutions considering all that natural beauty on our doorstep. The simplicity of our ‘smoky carrot’ dish perfectly illustrates our philosophy. 

For a major vegan event we went looking for a fully-fledged meat substitute with an umamitaste and meaty texture. After extensive testing with onions, cabbages and turnips, we got a batch of winter carrots quite by chance. Because of its fibre-rich structure, this root retains a tasty and crispy bite, even after the three-day cooking process. It’s almost like you’re eating meat. Our transformed carrot follows a 100% natural and sustainable preparation process according to the zero-waste principle. Spices such as curry, Provencal herbs, soy and fenugreek finish off the dish, exploding into a firework display on the tongue.

Keep an eye on our menus, as we intend to submit beet and celeriac to the test soon.

A taste of our garden

A SENSORY EXPERIENCE

Being predictable is boring, wouldn’t you say? We asked ourselves one day: Why are guests in most restaurants limited to using a knife and fork? In collaboration with ceramist Inge Simonis, designer Sanne Muiser, creative brain Sietse Kalkwijk and kitchen hardware expert Gerard Rinkes, we went looking for answers. Sanne designed four tools to further increase our guests’ sensory experience. Although the development of these tools is very important to me, I would like to emphasise that every object remains subservient to the products we serve on it.

THE ‘ROLBOL’

What’s in a name? Our ‘roller ball’, a long glass stem ending with a ribbed ball that can be rolled though ingredients to stimulate both your expectations and taste buds, thereby reinforcing the taste experience of a dish. First dip, then roll and lick.

The ‘Slurplepel’

The Chinese have been slurping for decades, but coffee roasters, wine buffs and whiskey tasters have adopted the technique. ‘Sucking up’ air before and while swallowing the soup with our ‘slurping spoon’ enhances the taste experience.

The ‘Drinksteen’

Hand-made in China, our ‘drinking stone’ has special heat conducting qualities. We serve broths and soups in it. Craddle the stone firmly in the palms of your hands and enjoy.

The ‘Neus’

Tested on many noses: even the largest ones fit into it. Our ‘nose’ stimulates the sense of smell, which makes the taste experience more intense.