Sizzles at the Park | Apeldoorn (NL)

Interesting twists with notes of Asian and Peruvian influences.
Solid flavour combinations with a contemporary elegance!

The Sizzles adventure started in 2006 when Ester and Leon Habers opened their first restaurant in Apeldoorn. Leon had always been a chef and opening a restaurant was his dream. Ester worked in fashion at the time, but followed her husband’s dreams and hasn’t regret it since. They made restaurant Sizzles a fine dining success, with a Bib Gourmand from Michelin since 2011, amongst other acculades.

In 2020 it was time for the next step in the adventure. Sizzles moved to a beautiful new location at the Kerklaan in Apeldoorn, close to the Oranjepark. Hence the new name Sizzles at the Park. The renovated monumental building housed the archery of King Willem III from 1879 and later became the residence of the Society of Apeldoorn.

The motto of Sizzles at the Park is Sip, Dine & Chill. The stylish venue has a cosmopolitan feel to it, with nice high ceilings, a trendy bar area to sip your cocktail on a Sunday afternoon, a buzzing dining area with a combination of benches and booths in soothing pastels, and a chill Nikkei room for a loungy 10-course Japanese/Peruvian dining experience with a dj! (Friday and Saturday only).

The launch of Sizzles at the Park didn’t go as expected, as just after two weeks of opening they had to close again because of Covid lockdowns. For seven months they just did deliveries with great support of regular customers. But now the restaurant is doing what it was ment to do, with Lean Habers (51) in the kitchen and Ester (45) as the hostess, treating guests and their palates.

Sizzles at the Park is open 7 days a week for both lunch and dinner. Next to an à la carte menu, they offer a 3-course Sharing @ the Park menu (at €52 for seafood and €49 for meat) and a Menu @ the Park tasting menu (3-courses at €39,50, 4-courses at €49,50 and 5-courses at €59,50).

We were invited by our dear friend Carin as a birthday present and had dinner a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday. We ordered the 4-courses Menu @ the Park.

Smoked Halibut & Scallop

No amuses are offered, but straight to the first course. Smoked Halibut & Sushi Rice, Scallop, Celery Juice, Oyster Sauce Gel, Green Radish, Jalapeño & Nori. Love this Nikkei ceviche, a beautiful fusion of Peruvian ceviche and Japanese sushi. Clean and bright flavours running through this dish working together like a treat. The green radish with jalapeño tinteling the tongue, almost like wasabi. A great start!

Duck Tataki

As Joanne doesn’t eat cold fish, she got Duck Tataki, Duck Rillettes, Sesame Vinaigrette, Sesame Kletskop (a traditional Dutch cookie, like a florentine), Japanese Nameko Fungus, Celeriac Crème & Mung Bean (or green gram). Beautifully prepared pink duck breast with a delectable duck leg rillette. Celeriac puree as smooth and creamy as you like. The little sesame kletskop bring a touch of sweetness to the dish in a clever way.
A dish with an abundance of flavours, blending to a pleasing comforting delight.

Tataki is a Japanese cooking technique, normally applied to tuna, beef or other red meat consisting of searing it a few seconds to preserve the inside raw.

Cod & Porcini

The next course was Seared Cod, Porcini Mushroom Tortellini, Porcini Sauce & Creamed Spinach. Well the server called it tortellini, but to me it was a riviolo, hiding under a gyoza pancake underneath the cod. Luscious cod, flaky, shiny and a gorgeous taste. The gyoza pancake didn’t add anything for me and wasn’t crispy so not pleasant. However, the porcini and the spinach in a gratifying marriage with gentle earthy notes played the lead in entertaining the cod. Delish!

In Dutch, porcini (or penny bun) are called eekhoorntjesbrood, which literally translates as squirrel bread. Apparently the name derives from that fact that squirrels love to eat them, like it’s their bread and butter! 

There was a side note though. When the dishes were served, mine looked different. The server didn’t know why. I suggested my dish could be Carin’s as she doesn’t like spinach, as mentioned when ordering. He just replied: no that’s not it as all dishes have spinach on them!
He then took my plate, discussed with a colleague about it in the middle of the restaurant, and after visiting the kitchen, came back with the same plate with the cod tumbled over. Explaining that the plates were the same, my gyoza pancake had just collapsed and was hiding under the cod! He then left, leaving me a bit flabbergasted!
The spinach wasn’t mentioned and Carin didn’t want to pursue it. She put the spinach to the side and enjoyed the rest of the dish. Unfortunately all dishes had cooled off quite a bit by now.
On clearing the dishes by another server, she mentioned she forgot to inform the kitchen about the spinach and apologised. That didn’t excuse the other server though, for acting like he did.

Veal Loin & Sweet Potato

Main course was Veal Loin, Braised Veal Shoulder Steak, Sage Jus, Kale & Sweet Potato Mash, Pickled Amsterdam Onion, Purple Carrot & Sweet Potato Crisp. The mouth-watering succulent veal shoulder steak (sukade in Dutch) won it from the veal loin, even though that was finger-licking as well! Great jus but couldn’t taste the sage. The kale and sweet potato mash was scrumptious and morish. Amsterdam onion was quite sharp with sourness and a bit disruptive to the otherwise first-class soothing dish.

Granny Smith & Almond

Dessert was Almond & White Chocolate Sorbet, Granny Smith, Kaffir Lime, Vanilla Cream & Almond Merengue Shards. What an exquisite balance of sweetness, freshness and citrusy sharpness! Deliciously smooth ice cream, with crème patissiere bringing even more creaminess. Cookie crumbs for a bit of texture. Awesome fresh notes of mint and kaffir lime. The bits of cucumber seemed very odd, but worked surprisingly well! A smashing sweet-sour-cool finish of the menu.


With our coffee, some friandises were served. Vanilla macarons. chocolate brownies and nougat with lots of nuts and sultanas. All tasted fine with enjoyable sweetness, but the appearance can be a lot neater.

Service was fine and staff were friendly. Some of them need better guidance as illustrated by the cod dish. Had a nice chat with the restaurant manager during coffees (we didn’t see Ester Habert that evening). He agreed that things should have been handled better and offered us the coffee on the house. Nice gesture, but rather had that is was dealt with correctly during dinner of course. Things like that can easily destroy the hard work of the kitchen and leave guest with a negative experience. We didn’t let it bother us though and let the dishes have their say.

And the dishes spoke most vividly! I adore the interesting twists in Leon Habers’ signature dishes, with notes of Asian and Peruvian influences. The halibut and duck dishes are prime examples of that. Solid flavour combinations with a contemporary elegance!

Can’t wait to try the chill Nikkei experience in the trendy Ibiza ambiance in this impressive monumental setting!