Thick black carpets lead the way past golden walls towards an entrance decorated with an iron tree bearing golden apples. We are at the Gold Delicious, a new restaurant located in the Kesselkade. It's one of the four restaurants featured on the RTL4 Dutch reality series Mijn tent is top, in which four couples compete with each other to run the most successful business. Every week they are trained in and judged on running their own restaurant by business people from the hotel and catering industry. The ultimate winner becomes the proud owner of the restaurant.
Apparently, on last week's episodes, Gold Delicious did not score well on the administrative test, but scored quite highly on atmosphere, which does not surprise me as I settle at one of the tables for a cocktail made by the bartender, who is spinning shakers and flipping bottles while he prepares drinks. Only two guests tonight are enjoying a meal. Most visitors, like my friends and me, are satisfied with a drink. It seems that they all just want a visual taste of what this place feels like in real life.
The restaurant itself is designed in the theme of 1001 nights, with thick cushions, elaborate, soft armchairs, and black wooden tables and floors. The walls are decorated in a matt gold and the theme of the name-giving apple recurs on the carpets, menus and other decorative elements. "In the very beginning they would decorate every meal with an element of gold", one guest explains to me, "but I don't think they still do this - I guess it becomes too expensive after a while." "I think this is the best of the four competing restaurants; it's clearly something different in a city where nobody ever thought it was possible", explains another guest, who follows the show whenever he finds the time to.
In the lounge area, where lounge tunes are playing in the background, I meet two women enjoying a drink. "I lived in Manhattan for a while and this is as close as Maastricht gets to the style of a big city", explains one of them. "We've never really tried the food, but apparently it's good." That this restaurant is part of a television show is unimportant to them. "We don't really have time to watch TV", they explain, but they are glad that it brought a place like this to Maastricht.
Every week UCM student Janina Weser explores the city of Maastricht