Syrco Bakker, chef of internationally renowned restaurant Pure C in Cadzand Bad, Zeeland, the Netherlands is hoping that the opening of Blueness, a Japanese food bar, gives him the opportunity to take the restaurant to the next level as Sergio Herman‘s vision for this seaside resort takes shape.
After the successful opening of Air Republic, a bistrot and cafe overlooking the new Cadzand marina, Blueness had a soft-opening during the summer months when the new wing of the Strand Hotel opened in July.
Housed on the ground floor, Syrco Bakker and Sergio Herman have worked together to create a bar and casual restaurant with a Japanese style interior. The food focuses on the quality of Zeeland produce that is complemented by a distinct Japanese touch.
“We knew we wanted to give the food an Asian touch. We originally thought we would create an Asian food bar but that was too vast and the cuisines are too different. We then started to experiment with Japanese and Indonesian cuisines and it also did not work well so we thought that the Japanese touch worked well because it is a cuisine that values exceptional produce,” Syrco Bakker told Food and Wine Gazette.
He still remains focused on Pure C where he hopes that Blueness will enable him to push Pure C to the next level by offering guests more quality and a better experience. “Blueness is part of Pure C which means that we can slightly reduce the covers at Pure C to focus on improving the guest experience.”
Thijs Baert and Jaclyn Kong who have experience working with Syrco and Sergio have been entrusted with the kitchen at Blueness and are already doing great work.
The bar at Blueness is open 7 days a week from 11am to 1am and guests can order small bites to eat. The restaurant is open seven days a week for dinner from 6pm to 10pm and is open for lunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Syrco told Food and Wine Gazette that Blueness complements the offering for guests visiting Cadzand. They have a choice between a gastronomic experience at Pure C, the bistro style at Air Republic and a casual dining place at Blueness.
“The focus is on quality ingredients and doing as little as possible just like in Japan. It took me some time to adjust to the lack of jellies and more elaborate preparations but I think that after the soft opening we are happy with what we have achieved,” Syrco said. “The response so far has been good,” he said.
The style is casual and accessible. Customers can book at Blueness but they have deliberately left space for walk-ins. “One of the comments we often get is how difficult it is to get a place in Pure C so with Blueness we want to give the possibility for people to just walk in. We have places also in the balcony as well as the hotel lobby where people can enjoy an aperitif in a relaxed environment while a table might become available,” Syrco said.
The Dutch chef told Food and Wine Gazette that while the food was Japanese inspired (with a Japanese grill in the kitchen), they would not serve sushi or sashimi. “We were of the view that it would be disrespectful to Japanese cuisine to serve something that takes 20 years to master. Instead we will invite Japanese sushi masters to serve our guests for a week from time to time,” he said. The same thing applies for tempura which is cooked in different types of oil depending on the ingredient being fried.
When the kitchen is closed, guests can still order small bites from dips to charcuterie (for example coppa with Sichuan peppers and smoked jasmin tea ham. Of course, guests will be able to enjoy cocktails made by Hierbas de las Dunas, a drink that was created by Syrco Bakker a few years ago with wild herbs from the dunes of Zeeland.
Blueness is not the final concept that will be created in Cadzand. By next month, the pastry team which supplies Pure C, Air Republic, Blueness and hotel guests will open a breakfast concept for walk-ins called Pine House. This will complement the hotel lobby which also serves pastries that are created by the pastry team.
With the opening of Blueness, Sergio and Syrco have created a new experience for guests visiting Cadzand. It is a casual place serving simple food with exceptional flavours and a focus on quality ingredients.