Since I moved to the Netherlands last year what I miss is ofcourse Indian Food. You might ask don’t I eat that at home every other day. Maybe yes, maybe no but more than anything what I miss from India is the real authentic tasty food made with love and deep flavors. There are more than 1000 restaurants, tokos, catering houses in the Netherlands but what differentiates all of them is the taste, quality, experience while eating the food and so many other factors. The Pepper Trail in Rotterdam hit me all at the right spots.
The Pepper Trail is conveniently located in the heart of Rotterdam hardly 10 mins walk away from the Rotterdam Centraal station. I was in the city since morning eating my way to the top with a few friends and decided to pay a visit to this restaurant in this eating journey. I have had seen their promotions on Social Media and had heard about them through the Indian community (good and bad things) but was my visit worth the effort? Read Below:
It is located on the 1st floor right opposite to a good Chinese restaurant. What struck me right on entering the restaurant was the whole ambiance and decor and that’s when I knew I would have a good experience. There are different concepts of eating out – some are quick take away restaurants, some are quick eat away joints and few are the fine royal dining experience places. The Pepper Trail was the 3rd one in the category. The place was well decorated with enough good lighting and really soothing Hindi instrumental music and of course good seating without having to feel that you are being overheard or snooped on by someone too close.
We were served by our hostess named Haya who explained us the meal options that are most preferred by visitors to the restaurant. There are number of options like a 3 course, 5 course a 7 course meal or a 9 course Maharaja Meal (dine like a king). I don’t know if there is anyone who really eats all that though. I didn’t choose any of these meal options as I was stuffed with all the eating I did the entire day, thus my husband and I decided to settle for something simple.
The menu had some unconventional options, by this I mean if you have lived outside India you would have seen those same curries being repeated in almost all restaurant menus. It was quite different with this place. They had the most unique cocktail menu where alcohol was combined with some Indian spices, herbs or Indian beverages. The Tea Martini and the Shikanji Vodka caught my attention.
We had their Chef’s special Desi Chicken Curry (which stands for the village style rustic curry). Each curry comes with a portion of Saffron Rice and you would be served with a welcome appetizer in form of Tomato soup. The menu specified that the curry also comes with a mango pickle and that was exciting. I was told by our hostess that they no longer serve it as many people visiting the restaurant in the past have not appreciated the taste. Well that could be the case if you are new to the astringent nature of pickles made in mustard oil and seasoned with mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds.
If you are from India, maybe you would appreciate the taste as well but if you are not from India and are a fan of bitter, astringent flavors don’t forget to ask your server to bring a portion of this. This pickle gives a new depth of flavor to your palate. We ordered for 2 Butter Naan (Indian Flat Bread) that we enjoyed with our Chicken Curry and relished the saffron rice. The ‘Desi’ Chicken Curry was made perfectly to spicy, tangy and savory to suit our palates. And something what I really miss when I visit any Indian restaurant here is the lack of real Indian taste in my curries, and this justified the name.
For many living in the Netherlands, who might be reading this article now, might not agree with my experience below but I visit restaurants with an open mind and give them all a good chance to make my stomach happy and if they can there is no looking back for me. Was it affordable or a budget place? Well no! It is quite pricey but they leave no doors unopened to make you feel pampered. I see a great potential for the place to grow and be one of the top fine dining restaurants in the country. Don’t visit this place if you are in rush, this will not be the venue for a quick bite but more for a relaxed evening with your loved one.
I look forward to visiting the Pepper Trail soon to explore more on their menu.
Till we meet again soon.
(Please Note: Like all my other reviews, this isn’t a paid promotion as well. I paid a total of €40 for a meal of two but the 2 hours spent there was worth the money.)
The Pepper Trail
3012 EH Rotterdam