Dining with Natalie #1: Talk of the Town

As a native of culinary melting pot Malaysia and the daughter of a restaurateur, UG student Natalie Voo knows her food. Every other week, she’ll be reviewing Groningen’s student-friendly dining scene. This time: Talk of the Town (TOTT).

Naming your restaurant ‘Talk of the Town’, TOTT for short, is a bold move, so as someone who lives to eat, I ventured into this Asian-inspired restaurant, ready to see if their hubris was justly placed.

The restaurant itself was warm and cosy, with simple decor. It’s the kind of place you’d nod approvingly at but wouldn’t rush to post on Instagram. Our culinary adventure began with vegetarian gyozas where the filling seemed to have taken a vow of blandness, saved by a sauce that had clearly hogged all the salt on the plate. The fried onions added a nice crunch that turned this dish from meh to mmm.

Main course: a spicy chicken satay that wouldn’t scare a toddler, much less a spice veteran. My Dutch companion, however, disagreed, proving that spice tolerance is indeed relative. The satay itself was a juicy, sweet-and-salty delight which was grilled to perfection. The satay sauce, often a letdown at lesser establishments, here was delectable apart from its lack of spiciness, and was a great accompaniment to the meat.

The side salad seemed to have been an afterthought, a mountain of greens that could have just been whatever was on the Albert Heijn bonus of that week. The pickled cucumbers however, did shine, slicing through the satay’s saltiness with a refreshing zing. The addition of keropok (or krupuk) was a crunch-tastic bonus, turning the plate into a textural symphony. Service was friendly and efficient, leaving no complaints from my side.

Despite the culinary rollercoaster at TOTT, my friend and I left with a shared verdict: it was an experience, a tick on the foodie checklist, but not a place that would see us returning with bated breath. TOTT, you were a fling in the world of culinary love affairs – memorable, yes, but nothing to write home about.

TOTT (Talk of the Town), Schuitendiep 48

TOTT offers a dining experience inspired by Asian cuisine, specialising in Indonesian satay. It’s a good spot for enjoying a nice meal and a beverage with friends, and it also caters to pescatarian and vegetarian preferences.

Ratings

Food: 6.5/10
Presentation: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Ambience: 7/10

Dutch

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