Flipp brings the wow factor to the Scheepvaartkwartier

“Are you Mara?” I ask the young woman who brings our aperitifs. “No”, she says, and she just doesn’t wink, “Mara doesn’t exist”. We’re at Mara by Flipp, so my next question is obvious. “Yes, it does exist. There you have him, the chef”, she points to the bar.

“Flipp van Dillen”, I read on his white jacket when he is at the table. Googling him at home, I see that Flipp is originally from Florian and had three years’ experience as a chef at HMB Restaurant on the Wilhelminapier and before that at Mijn Keuken in Wouw, which was awarded a Michelin star.

In any case, he has taken the wow factor with him to the Rotterdam Scheepvaartkwartier, we quickly conclude. In the Van Vollenhovenstraat, 29-year-old Florian van Dillen opened the doors of his dreamed own business – twice, because nine days after the first opening, the lockdown was blown. But since June 1, Mara by Flipp has been running at full capacity.

At the door you have to choose: on the right you go to the basement where the restaurant is located, on the left you take the stairs to the cocktail bar On The Rockx, also by Flipp. The restaurant occupies the full length of the building. A wide window at the back offers a view of the inner garden, which serves as a terrace in the right meteorological conditions. First we get a card with dishes that precede the actual starters. We would like to try everything, but we limit ourselves to two julina oysters from Ireland (4.50 euros), a stuffed egg with North Sea crab (9 euros) and toasted brioche with smoked eel (6.50 euros). The egg turns out to be crockery, filled with boiled egg and an emulsion of crab, ponzu and avocado, nice fat from the avocado and with salty and sour countertones. We also find that balance of taste in the eel that lies on a rectangular piece of brioche on a cream of cream cheese and yuzu. We are already giving in and then the real work has yet to begin.

For us, that consists of the roasted langoustine with chopped oyster, fennel and avocado (20 euros) and the langoustine soup with beech mushroom, coconut and ginger (14 euros) beforehand and the tournedos rossini (32 euros) and the farm duck (28 euros). as head.

Where can you still find tournedos rossini on the map? Tradition has it that the dish is so called because the Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini was fond of it. The classic recipe provides for crouton, tenderloin, truffle, foie gras and madeira, which is exactly how it is on the menu at Mara. On the board I get a turret, surrounded by the hats of chanterelles. The structure is liberally sprinkled with very finely chopped truffle and is sprinkled with Madeira gravy at the table. This eating is only possible by demolishing it. The taste is excellent, all parts cooked perfectly and complement each other nicely.

Then of course we already have the starter. On an avocado crisp, bathed in a fine gravy, the flattened langoustine lay rolled up under tufts of lettuce and herbs. Here too, all flavors and structures in full harmony. On the other side of the table, eating the langoustine soup is accompanied by sounds of approval. The farm duck is served in various preparations: roast breasts and tenderloin pink and rillettes from the leg. My wife is silent.

The next morning she says she is still thinking about her dessert, the citrus soufflé (11 euros). I also got a bite of it: light as soufflé should be and with such a balanced combination of flavors. I myself had chosen the surprising tarte tatin with fried liver and vanilla ice cream (14 euros), also delicious.

But we’ll be back for that souffle, I’m sure.

Frank van Dijl is a culinary critic and journalist.