In the most southern coastal area of The Netherlands, you can find Cadzand. This small village at the North Sea, not far from the border with Belgium, has a beautiful beach and is the perfect spot to make long walks in the dunes.
Cadzand belongs to the city of Sluis, which became culinary famous, because it was there that Dutch top chef Sergio Herman turned the seafood restaurant of his parents into the world class three Michelin star restaurant Oud Sluis. With the closure of Oud Sluis in 2013, Herman might have stopped of standing full time behind the stove of a restaurant, but he has definitely not disappeared from the culinary scene in The Netherlands and Belgium. Herman has opened several new restaurants since he closed Oud Sluis, and now he also added a Japanese style restaurant to that list with the opening of Blueness in Cadzand in august 2018.
Blueness was not the first culinary initiative of Chef Herman in Cadzand. A few years ago, he opened Air Republic in the yacht harbour of the coastal village. Air Republic is a seafood restaurant with an amazing sea view, which was in the meanwhile awarded with one Michelin star. Herman also became involved in Strandhotel Cadzand, a beautiful hotel in the dunes, also with amazing views of the North Sea. In this Strandhotel, Sergio opened in 2010 a restaurant called Pure C. Together with his head chef Syrco Bakker, they succeeded to bring this restaurant in the meanwhile to two Michelin star level. It is in the lobby of that same Strandhotel that Herman has opened Blueness, a Japanese dining-bar concept, in 2018. Chef Sergio has never made a secret about the fact that he likes Japanese food himself, and now he takes that fascination for Japanese food one step further by opening his own Japanese style restaurant. Herman attracted two chefs for Blueness. Jaclyn Kong is originally from Singapore, where she started her career in the kitchen of Pollen, a restaurant by Chef Jason Atherton in a huge greenhouse which is part of the Singapore Gardens by the Bay. In Europe, Kong gained experience in Oud Sluis and The Jane, both multi Michelin starred restaurants of Sergio Herman. The other chef, Thijs Baert, is Belgian and worked in the other two Michelin starred restaurant of Herman in Strandhotel, Pure C, as sous chef, before he moved to Blueness.
In Blueness, Herman serves dishes that are strongly influenced by Japan, even though he is using top products from Zeeland to create them. The continuous search for perfection of Herman, can also be noticed in the dishes that are served in Blueness. Being an Asian style restaurant, the concept is food sharing. Guests are recommended to pick several dishes from the menu and to share them.
The interior design of the restaurant is warm with lots of Japanese influences. A lot of wood was used and this creates an atmosphere which is comparable to what we experienced in small local bars and restaurants in Japan. There is a big counter where you can sit to eat, also something which happens a lot in traditional restaurants in Japan. On one end of the restaurant you can see the kitchen which is completely open and where Chefs Jaclyn and Thijs prepare the food. Service is in the capable and enthusiast hands of Tanja Spuesens. She is born in The Netherlands and was before the bar manager of Restaurant The Jane. The service is casual, attentive, pleasant and correct.
Blueness is not the typical restaurant you are used to from Sergio Herman. But the chef demonstrates also in this concept his enormous talent to spoil the taste pallets of his customers. Once inside Blueness, you forget very fast that you are at the Dutch sea side and you feel like in Japan, except for the wonderful local Zeeland produce used in the dishes. We are looking forward to seeing how Blueness will further evolve, but in the meanwhile, don’t hesitate, and indulge.
Written by Johan