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Dertien and Yama 1 year celebration, Rotterdam


When I heard that two of my favorite places in town were getting together to organize a birthday party, I made sure to keep an eye out for reservations to become available, and when they did, I hesitated not.
So this all played out about a month ago when Dertien and the eponymous Japanese cuisine Yama organized their first birthday party. As I’ve written before, Dertien and Japanese cuisine Yama have a history together, since Dertien’s chef/owner Pepijn Schmijnk used to own Eendracht, which closed in 2013. Pepijn’s friend Yama subsequently took over that space about a year ago to open his own place, and Pepijn and his team opened Dertien around the same time, further down the road.
Dertien and Yama have joined forces for one-off events before. Most recently ‘Ramen night’, during the international film festival with their showing of the Japanese culinary classic ‘Tampopo’. And even earlier, they organised ‘Eendracht goes Japan’, where they did a kaiseki style dinner. This time around, it was going to be izakaya style, of course heavily influenced by local ingredients.


Truki Pan, Curaçao

Truki pan - BBQ Express

Back in the day when we went out on Curaçao, one of the things I always looked forward to most was after the party, after the drinks… that hot fried, crunchy, chewy, spicy, saucy mess in a Styrofoam box. See, on Curaçao, as with any food loving culture, they know that what one needs, really needs, after a night of alcoholic debauchery, is something to eat. Something good. The late-night dining and street food scene on the island is dominated by food trucks called truki pan, short for trùk di pan, which translates to sandwich truck. In the past, these trucks used to only sell sandwiches, hence the name, but pretty soon fries were added with a variety of grilled meats or seafood. When night time hits, the neon lights on the truki pans shine bright as a beacon for the hungry… calling.


Japanese cuisine Yama, Rotterdam


Little over a year ago I attended the umami event at the Rotterdam World food festival, where professor Ole G. Mouritsen gave a presentation about umami, complemented with food prepared by chef Pepijn Schmeink (at the time chef/owner at Eendracht, now at Dertien) and chef Yamamoto or Yama for short. We had some interesting dishes at the hands of the chefs, but one dish in particular really blew my mind: chef Yama’s sushi. Perfectly balanced flavours and textures. Hands down the best I’d ever had.
So, when I heard that chef Yama was opening his own place I knew we had to go. In fact, we actually went the very first day the restaurant was opened in February, and have returned many times since. (more…)