Tag: photos

Wild Things are a Joy Forever

Two years back, on my first visit to New York, my friend from school Shalini recommended a visit to The High Line. We walked there; she stylishly in her boots, and me clumsily dragging my massive backpack.

I loved The High Line (thank you Shalini). It not only recycles and repurposes old beautiful things but also provides this incredible sense of community. It is a living artefact; you walk through it, into it, use it, and get inspired by it, mingled are chunks of concrete, old metal, grass, plants, and graffiti backed buildings. At the end of our walk, the crowning moment, was a magnificient sun dipping down the Hudson river.

Imagine my joy when I realized that the garden designer who worked on The High Line was in fact Dutch and he very generously opened the doors of his private garden in Hummelo, near Arnhem, every year to the public. Of course one of the delights of visiting the gardern is the nonchalant Piet Oudolf casually walking around and talking to visitors, “Is that actually him, oh my God!”

The hour-and-a-half drive from Amsterdam was rain drenched but when we reached the garden looked freshly showered and ready for meet and greet. There is a strange wildness to it. Everything looks like it has grown around, grown into, yet the colors are purposeful, the leaves carefully arranged, there is a balance of height and breadth.

A crafty arched passage of pruned expertise is met with rebellious grass and masses of feral greenery. Thoughtfully placed benches and chairs are alluring. Bumble bees and butterflies fly around in what could well be their paradise. Around there are acres of farms, holstein cows, horses, and sheep.

The garden is magically located in a bucolic postcard village called Hummelo. Where thatched cottages have red doors and gardens have ponds with little wooden wind mills. The garden opens up like a secret path, a hidden idyll, and its rampant plant life is a joy to behold. It reminded me of the wild flower mirth I often see around the Metro Line 51 route tracks, the bloodred poppies, the blue and pink foxgloves, and daisies. Though missing from action were the dandelion bet they would be an utter nuisance in a garden such as this.

For more information on the garden openings and details you can visit the private garden website. There were three of us, and we had to pay 10 euros, which is not mentioned on the site, however given the garden maintenance costs it is understandable.

We rounded off our trip with a walk around the city centre of Zutphen, which was half-an-hour away. We had visited this little town ten years ago and it was sweet to relive old memories and very welcome was the piping hot kibbeling that we devoured in the Saturday market while getting drenched in the rain, ah summer joy!

Dinner at Mama Makan

We had dinner at Mama Makan. Though for Hindi speakers it sounds like Mama’s house, in Indonesian it means Mama’s Food. The concept is that you are at Mama’s kicthen, sitting on the table, with mismatched yet charming plates, old quaint cutlery that is heavy and solid like Mama’s love (I suppose), and Mama brings out her passionately cooked meals, just for you.

Perhaps this is the reason why the service is so indulgent. The food is a mix of continental favorites like herb crusted rack of lamb, roast monkfish, and tournedos rossini, as well as Indonesian delights such as Gado Gado, Nasi Goreng, and Kari Ayam.

We ate the Ikan Masak Lemak, poached fish in rich turmeric sauce, along with Sate Campur, assorted satays, and white wine risotto with grey shrimps, broad beans, asparagus and poached egg. The food was exceptional, perfect portion size, beautifully presented, tasty, and not too spicy or oily.

We drank Indonesian beer called Bintang, which the hostess said was, “better than Heineken,” Apoorva informed us that Bintang was a Heineken product, so no offence was taken in that accord.

For dessert, I had the black glutinous rice with fresh mango and coconut cream, the rice was chewier than I expected. The Sulawesi chocolate ice ceam, I was informed, was the best chocolate ice cream ever. This judgement might have been clouded by the champagne we had earlier in the evening, followed by the copious amounts of Bintang.

We were presented a plate of tropical fruit because we were celebrating and offered (another) glass of champagne, which we turned down, because we are officially middle-aged and at 7:30pm wanted to call it a night, get back home, read our book, listen to some old songs, play some games on the iPad, and sleep.

A meal for three, with drinks, cost us: 85 euros with tip, which for the experience, ambience, and food, I would highly recommend as an excellent deal.

Mama Makan: click here