Vegetarian food-as much-you-can in a chain in the making

Before we let the sweet desserts arrive, we order, to share, the organic cheese board with fig compote and kletzen bread. The diminutive appears not so much to refer to the object on which the cheese is served – because that is simply a plate – as to the cheese itself. On the plate there are three small and thin pieces of cheese, very carefully adjusted. The slices of fruit bread also seem to be cut.

We had already wondered how they can do it at Rozey. The menu features 53 dishes, including desserts, and three side dishes – all vegetarian or vegan. For 37.50 euros at the weekend (and 32.50 euros from Monday to Thursday) you can eat the entire menu, two dishes plus a side dish per round, and for that money you also get a drink.

Rozey is a big business. A lot of people can visit between 5 pm and 10.30 pm in what, if you look from the outside in, looks like a light box. The decor is sleek, to the point of business. On the table a ballpoint pen and a notepad with boxes in which you can tick the desired dishes.

On the website, interested parties are encouraged to step into the ‘unique sustainable concept with a successful future ahead’ as a franchisee. The restaurant at the Rotterdam Wijnhaven is therefore the flagship of a chain in the making.

Marketing consultant Roos Rutjes from The Hague and catering entrepreneur Roland Hogenelst from Reeuwijk are the inventors. Rutjes presents himself as a ‘veggie in pumps’ and food stylist, Hogenelst is called ‘tapas king’ in the press because of his restaurant concept La Cubanita (53 locations). With its three all-you-can-eat formulas (the others are Proeflokaal Bregje and Van Heinde & Ver) and 87 restaurants, Misset Horeca accounts for a turnover of 72.2 million euros (2018). Furthermore, Hogenelst recently became the owner of Roda JC (in a hopeless place 17 in the Eerste Divisie) and the main sponsor of Alphense Boys.

In the beginning of our evening the pace is high. We get good bread with hummus and muihammara (a spread of ground walnut and paprika) and order the Vietnamese spring roll with peanut-coconut dip, the seaweed bitterballen, the bitterballen of pulled pork and the beetroot carpaccio. On the thinly sliced ​​beet there is arugula, some goat cheese and some almond crumbs. A tasty whole with the pesto dressing. The seaweed bitterballen (two pieces) are not, as you would expect, salty, but sweet, the other bitterballen (also two) have a filling of imitation meat based on chicken protein. The taste is somewhat non-descript, the mustard gives them a boost.

In the second round we cross on the notepad the steak watermelon, the Kentucky fried cauliflower, the mini ‘fish’ tortilla and the satay

at. We serve fries with the side dishes. As for the cauliflower: it is always careful with the combination of puns and food. In this case it is indeed a piece of cauliflower, deep fried in batter and topped with ketchup. What can you say about it? I once ate watermelon tartare which I remember as a pleasant surprise. Here we get a slice of melon bathed in port gravy. That’s what we taste too: watermelon, port gravy. The satay comes with peanut sauce and atjar. If you didn’t know that the meat was counterfeit, you might not even realize it. It is different with the fish tortilla. I get a breaded and fried fish stick-like on a chewy wrap: it’s the guacamole sauce that gives it taste.

Then comes a nicely conceived Mediterranean tarte tatin. The caramelized vegetables are tasty, but a water cracker has been used instead of puff pastry. The same ingredient returns later in the caramelized banana tompouce.

Not a bad word about the blood orange ice cream, the tiramisu and the apple pie. Nor, ultimately, about the portioning. We are satisfied.

Frank van Dijl is a culinary critic and journalist.
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