Favourite spot

Lucas van de Meerendonk: restaurant Pomo

Prominent Utrechters talking about their favourite spots in the city. This month: Lucas van de Meerendonk, presenter of NOS Jeugdjournaal and children’s author, at the Surinamese restaurant Pomo.

So you’ve chosen restaurant Pomo?
‘You can wake me up anytime for the nasi rames from the Surinamese restaurant Pomo on Wittevrouwenstraat. The sweet-and-sour beans with sambal-egg and delicious chicken are a gift made in heaven. And I like the way that time seems to have stood still there. It’s not trendy or fancy, but it’s always packed. When I go in, they never ask what I want. They take one look and bring me Nasi rames and a Surinamese beer. Did you know that the stand-up comedian Jörgen Raymann was a waiter there in the 1980s? He still goes when he’s appearing at the Stadsschouwburg.’

The biggest annoyance?
‘The traffic chaos on Kanaalstraat in the Lombok neighbourhood. People cut you up, cars are double-parked… I’ve even had rows there. I’ve lived in the area for 10 years and done my best to see it as friendly and diverse. But without success: I can’t work out why six of the same greengrocers in a row is diverse. It just irritates me. Of course some of the shops are great, like the cheese shop and the bike repair guy.
So working on the principle of ‘put up or shut up’, I joined the Lombok residents’ association to see if I could make a difference. I resigned after two years, when I realised that I was fighting a losing battle. Having said that, there’s a lot of work be carried out on Kanaalstraat at the moment. They’re creating more room for cyclists and extra green spaces. I hope it will help, but they’ll have to step enforcement too.’

Guilty pleasure?
‘I love laser gaming in the former Ozebi swimming pool on Biltstraat. There’s something very appealing about chasing each other around a dark pit with a laser gun. Hiding in all the nooks and crannies reminds me of children’s parties I used to go to. I should also say that I’m quite good at it. I usually win and manage to avoid getting all hot and sweaty. My girlfriend enjoys it too, but we don’t go as often now we’ve got two kids. Otherwise you’d find me there every weekend.’

Newly discovered artist?
‘Can it be a director? I was blown away by Ruben Östlund’s latest film. Triangle of Sadness shows that life isn’t all about being rich and successful. If you scratch below the surface, that perfect life isn’t as perfect as it seems. You see a beautiful woman lying gracefully on a lounger on a cruise ship, followed by a full-on vomit scene. This is definitely my kind of film, I love school-boy humour. My first children’s book, Pas op voor de billenbijter!, features plenty of puking. I suppose I’m just a big kid really, and I like to see other people expressing their child side too. Being an adult means being sensible, but it’s nice to be uninhibited and a little bit different sometimes.’

Last show?
‘I went to see the stand-up comedian Merijn Scholten in the Werftheater on Oudegracht. It was worth it just to be in that fabulous theatre. I recently discovered it on Instagram. The show was brilliant too. Merijn Scholten is a great impersonator and pokes fun at the oat-milk elite and influencers. His humour is right on the edge.’

Favourite ice-cream?
‘Venezia ice-cream is an intrinsic part of my youth. I grew up in Culemborg, but trips to the city always included a visit to the De Lorenzo family ice-cream parlour. It was on Voorstraat then.
Now I live in Utrecht, I go to their ice-cream kiosk on Jansbrug at least once a week. It’s due to open again in early March – weather permitting. I keep an eye on their Instagram page and text the owner Romana de Lorenzo every now and then. The ‘Peace of Utrecht’ flavour, with Amarena cherries and bitter chocolate, is my favourite. The kiosk is a tiny piece of Italy in Utrecht.’

Utrecht in one word or sentence?
‘The city that recaptured my heart when I came to live here 15 years ago. I studied at the School for Journalism in Utrecht, but was living in digs in Amsterdam at the time. The nightlife in Amsterdam is still better, but I’ve rediscovered Utrecht. I’m a bit of a shopaholic, and the shops here are great: book stores, Blackfish clothes shop, not to mention the hat shop in Bakkerstraat. I have to be pulled out of there; I even bought a Peaky Blinders flat cap there once. Utrecht has a lot of activities for children too. We use our museum card all the time. Followed by a trip to Venezia for an ice-cream, obviously.’



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