Seth’s poffertjes salon
What’s so striking about this salon for poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes) is the huge contrast between the interior and exterior of the building. The salon is located on Hoogstraat, between the Market Hall and the Laurenskerk, in a modern building from the post-war era. Entering the salon is like entering a painting by Anton Pieck: wooden panelling, small paintings, red-chequered curtains, Tiffany lamps and, even in the morning, warm candlelight. What’s more, Gilbert Seth, proud owner of the salon, got someone to paint a poffertjes stall on the rear wall, based on a print by Pieck. He even had the nameplate on the painting changed to his name. Seth is an iconic name in the field of poffertjes, and that pride should be shown.
Seth is an iconic name in the field of poffertjes, and that pride should be shown.
The name Seth originates in France. Poffertjes are originally a French delicacy, introduced to the Netherlands by travellers working at fairgrounds. For generations, Seth family also served poffertjes at fairgrounds, but Gilbert saw no future in an uncertain life on the road. In Rotterdam he found a suitable spot for a stall right next to the Bijenkorf department store. That’s where he traded until the early 1990s, when the stall had to make way for construction of the Koopgoot shopping arcade. The business then relocated to Vlasmarkt.
For generations, Seth family also served poffertjes at fairgrounds, but Gilbert saw no future in an uncertain life on the road.
Years later, Vlasmarkt also underwent an overhaul. The square was cleared to open up the view from the Steigerkerk to the Delftsevaart waterway. What a pity, but Gilbert decided it was worth relocating within the same area. By then his poffertjes had acquired a considerable following. Indeed, more than 11,000 fans signed a petition in support of the stall. In the new location, too, overlooking the Market Hall and the Cube Dwellings just beyond, the faithful followers have found their way to the poffertjes since 2010. Indeed, the salon is regular stop for many Rotterdammers. The place is packed, especially on market days. “We get all sorts in here, since everybody likes poffertjes. And we’re not as upmarket as the Lijnbaan, for instance, where a cappuccino will easily set you back three euros.”
“We get all sorts in here, since everybody likes poffertjes. And we’re not as upmarket as the Lijnbaan, for instance, where a cappuccino will easily set you back three euros.”
Despite the historical feel of the salon interior, Gilbert has no explicit dislike of the modern centre of Rotterdam. Indeed, that’s not what it’s about. To him, a pleasant city is a successful city. And the success of Rotterdam lies not in its stones but its people. The new Market Hall, for instance, attracts hordes of tourists, who also appreciate the nostalgia of the poffertjes stall. Old and new certainly can go together perfectly.
To him, a pleasant city is a successful city. And the success of Rotterdam lies not in its stones but its people.
The city around the salon is changing. And the salon itself has already relocated three times. But the concept, that will never change. After all, it doesn’t have to. It’s stayed the same since the days of Grandpa and Grandma Seth, who toured from funfair to funfair. Just like the secret poffertjes recipe, laughs Gilbert. That’s has stayed the same for generations too.
- The story of
- Gilbert Seth