Hex — Oudewater, Netherlands
The Dutch chef Annemiek Wils’ new restaurant Hex in Oudewater takes its name from the women who sat trial as witches in the building next door in the 16th century. Happily, there is no grisly end to the tale – it appears the town was the only place in Europe that gave ‘witches’ a fair trial, so none of the accused were ever convicted.
A full five centuries later, Wils works her own brand of magic in the classic four-storey, dark-bricked townhouse whose bright and lofty interiors have been reimagined by Studio Piet Boon. In particular, dark stone floors provide a handsome canvas on which is layered a garden wall that frames the conservatory, deeply set banquettes, and marbled table tops, all wrapped in a light yellow colour scheme inspired by the hemp ropes traditionally produced in the town.
In the kitchen, Wils adds organic produce to eastern Indian cherries, leeks and beet from her vegetable garden, alongside locally sourced meats, breads and cheese. The menu changes every six weeks, a sly reference to the witches’ calendar apparently, with current crowd-pleasers including gazpacho hit with roasted watermelon and crab, and tenderloin tartar paired with herring mousse, and razor clams flash charred in the Josper oven.§