As is our habit every year, at the end of the summer we made a visit to Pure C. It’s always a surprise, a new experience and good to see them. Because Pure C – well it’s pure enjoyment! Sheer food porn, that’s what you find in every idea of Sergio Herman. Working with Syrco Bakker he’s created an ode to Zeeland, the World, and Life. Outstanding dishes and drinks, a first class interior and a nice view. What more could anyone want?
Off to Cadzand-Bad 2.0
Cadzand is a town becoming enormously popular. Sand dunes, a broad beach and the small-scale feel of the town attract a lot of people every year to this section of the cost of Zeeland. In the centre of Cadzand-Bad the Strandhotel is to be found. That’s where Pure C is. At the moment the location is undergoing a complete metamorphosis, working with Sergio Herman, Arcas Architecten and the Piet Boon studio. The beach and the culinary experience stand centrally in a new concept that will be ready in 2018. The hotel and restaurant will be getting a facelift, and there’s going to be a new yacht harbour too with a Harbour Office. And there’ll be a beach brasserie..
A modern interior; soft, smooth and full of warmth
Inside, Pure C is modern and stylish. The clean, fresh set-up with high-quality natural materials gives a roomy and relaxed feeling. Good music, a beautiful view of the dunes and the lightness of the building give the restaurant a strong air of Ibiza. Pleasure taken in a classy framework, then, that’s anything but stilted. As a guest you barely notice the improvements being done bit by bit. The interior might be gradually being updated towards its completion date in 2018, but nevertheless along the way each phase keeps everything in perfect harmony.
Syrco Bakker & Sergio Herman
At the controls in the kitchen is young Head Chef Syrco Bakker. After gaining experience with chefs like Jonnie Boer and Gordon Ramsay, he’s blossomed into the man behind the creative kitchen at Pure C. And he can certainly reckon on the full support of Sergio Herman who’s closely involved. Thanks to the creative talent, limitless passion and motivation of Syrco Bakker, Pure C earned a Michelin star in just 18 months. The cooking he brings to Pure C is exciting, flavoursome and of the highest quality. And all at a fair price.
Zeeland on a plate
When you’re really keen on a restaurant then it’s an easy decision to go for full experience offered by the chef himself. This time it was no different and we went for the Pure C eight-course menu. What you get on your plate is the season’s best, both from the region and the chef. If you want a bit less, you can choose the six-course Menu Nature, or the lunch menu, available Wednesday and Thursday.
Aperitif’s of tartness, smoothness and freshness.
The other opener was Gin & Tonic Pure C-style. That’s 1528 Cocao Gin with its cocoa notes, to provide the bitterness mixed with Fever-Tree tonic Clementines & Cinnamon by Sergio Herman. The way the flavours are described makes it sound like something of an experimental drink. Nothing could be further from the truth though, because this Gin & Tonic distinguishes itself by the sublime taste-matching and tons of subtlety.
Amuses Pure C style: sharing is caring
At Pure C you often get plates for sharing. That’s good for the dynamic at the table, because you can all share your experience with everyone round the table. You must admit, it always tastes better if you share a bit rather than just eating it all yourself.
We started with a creuse oyster with Hierbas de las Dunas Margarita, with dill and apple. The cold filling in the shell creates a little puff of steam as it’s served. Exciting, and very pretty.
Next we tried Little Gem lettuce with a filling of Indonesian rendang and tofu, finished off with glazed roasted rice grains. They make the dish look both fun and luxurious.
The third amuse the chef came up with was a tartlet made with pulses, yoghurt and an Egyptian nut-mixture called “dukkah”. We followed the chef’s advice to eat the whole snack in one bite, to taste all the different flavours at the same time. It made complete sense, because the balance of the flavours was really good. And it certainly gave it an extra dimension.
Finally we were served a really nice-looking plate with two snacks on it . Two tiny soufflés with neck of lamb, horseradish, cauliflower and Camarone. Those last are small shrimps from Spain that can be eaten whole, shell and all. Nicely crunchy…
The bread showed the clear influence of Zeeland and its produce. We were given bread with Zeeland algae in it, with a strong aroma. Very nice indeed and cool to alternate with sourdough bread with its more neutral taste. Instead of sea salt Pure C serve sea samphire. That’s because it’s local, possibly healthier, and – well, more unique! There was also butter, again with algae, and olive oil. The delightful china utensils and Florentine knives completed the picture…
Starters from the Sea
We started the menu with Holland New Herring, beetroot, water cress and roasted red quinoa.
A second plate carried a spelt bread roll with red beet powder and herring roe. The idea is to combine the two for the perfect experience.
Next followed a hollowed out avocado with crab, verbena and hazelnut. There was a salad with it with a classic vinaigrette, based on tomato. Roasted spelt added a playful element. The right thing to go with that was toasted bread with garlic, a dip made from curds and grilled aubergine with a subtle smoky flavour. Finally to round things off came a small bowl of crab soup.
And now came another course with lots of different elements. We started with ice-cold kaffir lime with coconut in a mussel shell.
Then a mussel marinade with kombu, Szechuan pepper kaffir lime and fennel. Rich, fresh and distinguished by Asiatic flavours.
We didn’t have wine with the next course but a glass of Duvel bier. It even came out of a special edition bottle specially developed for Sergio Herman. It went very well with the Huacatay we found as the course to go with it. A scallop, elegantly presented in the shell with pumpkin, spicy green fregola, parmesan, huacatay and the ham called “cecina de leon”, from Spain.
The next course contained ingredients that sound common, including monkfish, haricot beans, olive, girolle and parsley sauce. What a pico bello combination!
Dorade versus Venison
The procession of light silty-flavoured fish dishes was continued by the first main course. A dorade accompanied by a slew of Mediterranean flavours. We sampled paella, courgette, saffron, soppressata Mallorca (a Spanish sausage) and fish sauce with saffron.
The last main course was rather more substantial with Roe deer venison from the Veluwe region in the Netherlands. This came with swede, rillettes, gravy, elderberries and pistachio.
The cherry on top – or in the dessert!
The dessert brought together the flavour of cherry in clafoutis and granite with white chocolate and lavender. The drink to go with it was a rice sake with plums. There was a strong almond flavour rather reminiscent of the amaretto.
We finished off with a glass of champagne – Brut Domaine Dehours Confidentielle. It’s Sergio Herman’s house champagne. It was an exclusive champagne, originally created specially for restaurant Oud Sluis. It’s recognizable from its beautiful bubbliness and combination of 57% chardonnay, 32% pinot meunier and 11% pinot noir. Seems like the perfect moment to show the line-up of the wines we sampled.
For the sweet-tooths there’s more friandises in a wide variety of irresistible titbits. There was a chocolate cake with passion fruit and lime.
Then we also tasted a pecan and rose éclair, a bonbon of pure chocolate ganache with buckthorn, a mango and kalamansi macaroon and a raspberry and lemon tartlet.
Our conclusion? Excellent dishes, a stylish interior and a lovely view over a restful sea. Pure gastronomic delight, and a relaxing time in Zeeland – that’s Pure C.