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A swan song with a six-pack

Masters of Taste seem to be granted only a short life. Flâneur is the latest restaurant in a line of Masters of Taste that are permanently closing their doors. Before this business inevitably closed, I decided to go and have a spaghetti here.

Through Instagram I found out that Flâneur, a spaghetti restaurant in the neighborhood het Zuid, would close on August 13. I drummed up my friend who joined me at Lazy Jack and quickly made reservations. When we arrived, we were greeted in a friendly way by the owner (more on him later). Even though all the other customers were sitting on the terrace, I wanted to sit inside, so music was turned on in the restaurant especially for us.

The restaurant’s interior looked pearly white and reminded me a little of an authentic pizzeria. The business’ name could be read on the walls in golden letters as well as the definition of the word flâneur. On the menu, the word was explained once more. Apparently, a flâneur is a man with a certain amount of class or style who aimlessly wanders the streets or among the masses.

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How this term relates to spaghetti remains a mystery to me and it appears that’s also one of the reasons why this restaurant has closed down in the meantime. Flâneur prides itself in serving good quality spaghetti at a reasonable price (and this review will confirm this), but that’s also where this business’ concept ends. The Italian classics aren’t expanded on, nothing is done with the name, and the interior can be called basic at best.

So, I wasn’t shocked that this restaurant is chucking it. The owner is possibly stopping because of financial problems (I mean, why else), because I overheard him say that if you only fill three tables on one night, it can ruin your entire month. The business’ sputtering concept will have played a part here, but let’s be honest, spaghetti can be found anywhere, in a thousand variations, and you can certainly find better ones than at Flâneur.

The restaurant was kicking the bucket, despite the owner’s charm and good looks and his having been able to drum up all his gay friends (even a gay celebrity stylist came by). That the terrace was mostly populated by gay men was quite noticeable and while I suspected that the owner of De Rooden Hoed fancied men, I could hardly ignore that the owner of Flâneur was gay. By her own account, my friend thought that was a pity. Admittedly, I had also run into him on a dating app and had even seen him shirtless (unfortunately only on a picture), but that’s beside the point.

Seeing as spaghetti can indeed be found anywhere, I decided to order a slightly more special spaghetti, this being the spaghetti Bolognese creamy. I was curious what would make it so creamy, but I was unable to discover this. Was it an extra-large serving of Emmental, which is served with every dish? Had the sauce itself been made creamier? In that sense, I couldn’t determine whether the sauce was thicker than other Bolognese sauces.

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Spaghetti Bolognese creamy

The thick pasta had been cooked al dente and seasoned with black pepper, which gave it some heat. On top of the pasta, there was an ample amount of sauce and cheese, which I mixed with the spaghetti like a five-year-old. According to Italian tradition, the Bolognese sauce contained vegetables, such as carrots and zucchini. A very delicious plate of spaghetti at the affordable price of €15 ($17.15).

Although it didn’t follow up with Flâneur’s Italian main courses, there was quite a special dessert on the menu here: crème catalane. The traditional crema catalana is the Catalan version of a crème brûlée, so to speak. Instead of baking in the oven, the crema catalana sets in the fridge, but just like a crème brûlée, the custard is covered in a thin layer of sugar that is then caramelized.

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Flâneur’s crema catalana was accompanied by red fruit, which meant this dessert didn’t have a crunchy layer of caramel. Frankly, this disappointed me, because now I was in fact given a custard with fruit. Furthermore, the dessert’s bottom layer consisted of strawberry jam. Red fruit might not have been the best choice of garnish, because the flavor of the fruit came through very potently while I tasted little of the custard. Therefore, the crème catalane wasn’t sickly sweet, but refreshing because of the acidic fruit.

Flâneur was only the last one in a succession of Masters of Taste who were forced to close shop because of various reasons. In this restaurant’s case, the concept might have been the wrongdoer. I was unable to determine what made the spaghetti so creamy, but the dish was both delicious, of good quality, and affordable, exactly what Flâneur had promised. The crème catalane disappointed me a little, but if you didn’t know the layer of caramel was missing, this was a refreshing dessert. In memoriam Flâneur:

  • Food: 4
  • Atmosphere and hospitality: 4
  • Eat – repeat: If the owner is serving the spaghetti on his own body, I’m there.
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