You can now eat in style at the new Zernike food court
There was an unusual amount of activity on Zernike campus this summer, even with all the students on holiday. In the Kapteynborg’s courtyard a team was busy creating the new Zernike food court. Located in a large glass building, the food court is has an industrially inspired interior with leather easy chairs, round bucket seats, and benches made of rough wood. They serve lunch, cocktails, and dinner every day.
The food is provided by six different restaurateurs that most city centre students will be familiar with. You can get a fresh falafel at FLFL, an Indian curry at Taj Mahal, freshly squeezed juice from The Smooth Brothers, or a fresh sandwich from Broodje Ben. University catering company Beijk is also represented, and they start serving beers at 5 pm.
Arancini and cannoli
Perhaps most prominent are the Italian delicacies offered by Luca di Pilato (32) and Jasmin Caramanna (34). They serve not just fresh pasta and fresh slices of pizza, but also typical Sicilian delicacies such as arancini (fried rice balls), and cannoli. ‘We want to offer people a real taste of Italy’, says Pilato. ‘Not food that’s been “Dutchified”, but authentic food we ate at home in Italy.’
For Pilato, who started out washing dishes in a restaurant in Groningen in 2010, the new food court came at a perfect time. ‘I worked in various Italian restaurants, and I noticed that I wanted to offer people my own flavours. I understand if people change their food to suit their customers, but I was convinced that if you explain to people what it should really taste like, they’ll understand.’
Hit the spot
He used to cook for friends and acquaintances and also served his food in the wine bar, Merlot. ‘The flavours speak for themselves’, he says. ‘When I heard about the opening of the food court, I just jumped at the chance.’ He found a partner in Caramanna, who says she ‘feels the same way about introducing Groningen to an authentic piece of Sicily.’
During lunch on Tuesday, their authentic food clearly hit the spot. ‘This is so good’, says student Daan Bos (20). ‘I only really knew about Asian fried rice. I didn’t know Italians were so good at frying stuff’, he laughs. His friend Lianne de Wit (19) nods in agreement, mouth full.
‘It’s not just the flavours that are great – the options are, as well’, De Wit says, as she finishes off the last bite. ‘I love Italian food and enjoy eating a hot lunch. This is a great choice.’ She says it’s important to pick the right time for lunch, though, and try to avoid rush hour. ‘Otherwise I’ll miss my next class.’