Feature: Pieter Ham of Sureño, The Opposite House, Beijing
We’re enjoying some beautiful days in Beijing this summer and have been out on the sunken garden and deck.
Pieter Ham is the new restaurant manager at Mediterranean restaurant Sureño. Ham hails from Belgium, a country known for their chocolates and beers, but Ham shares with us the lesser known secrets about Brussels that is home to the first real Art Nouveau Architect, Victor Horta.
“He’s made world fame with his designs and some of his creations are on UNESCO’s heritage listing. Indeed, we all know the chocolate and beer story, which is rather boring. Brussels is mostly underestimated as a destination in Europe, which makes it more of a treasure I believe.”
So, how does this Belgian live the Mediterrean spirit?
“I love the fact that Brussels is a true melting pot of cultures and that is a very cosmopolitan city. The EU’s HQ in Brussels attracts a vast expat crowd and diversifies the population. Yet, more importantly, it is the 2nd and 3rd generation foreigners in the city that provide color to my city.
There has been a huge influx of immigrants from Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Morocco and other Mediterranean nations some 50-60 years ago.
The result is that I grew up in an environment were we not only enjoyed traditional local dishes but also a wide range of Mediterranean food.
I have fond memories of the traditional Italian around the corner and I will never forget the Friday nights at the Greek restaurant with my family during early childhood.” says Ham who joined the team at The Opposite House, Beijing recently after stints in St. Barths, Cairo, Bangkok and Amsterdam.
Here’s a Brussels city tip from the Brussels native:
Vieux Marche aux Grains serve traditional Belgian dishes of top quality in a relaxed atmosphere.