A fairy tale in more ways than one...

De Kleine Toren


De Kleine Toren


A magical place tucked away in the pocket of South Beveland. If you want to impress your partner or you just want a top culinary evening, it is worth leaving the motorway and looking for De Kleine Toren in Baarland.

After numerous polder roads, you will reach the former reformed church. In 2006, sisters Liesbeth, Ingrid and Marianne first saw the potential of this church as a restaurant. The ladies did not just dream of a restaurant but the dream involved a top restaurant. So they had to look for a top chef who was not hindered by having his own restaurant and who saw a challenge in believing in fairy tales in the middle of nowhere.

That Baarland was a special place the sisters knew. Baarland is said to have been first written about in 1012. Later came castles and counts but also wars and battles with the water. Baarland was originally “Beerland”. Not entirely coincidentally, the grisly bear is on the coat of arms of Baarland. Could be bears really have lived there? A rewarding subject for legends and sagas. Similarly, it is often told that Baarland is named after the little bear that stands right above the village. The church tower even points to exactly the right spot in the dark starry sky.

Dennis van Nispen had been working at restaurant De Kromme Watergang for 8.5 years, cooking at the very highest level. Although Dennis had been approached a few times by star restaurants, he had not felt the need to leave De Kromme Watergang before. With a recent michelin star in the pocket, it might also have made more sense to keep cooking wherever and however starred. But Dennis didn’t think strategically, he thought with his heart. He believed in the fairy tale De Kleine Toren and saw his chance to have a lot of freedom for his culinary creations in this exceptional place. 2 years of commuting from Zeeuws-Vlaanderen turned out to be a small price to pay. Indeed, it was not long before his great love Jelle Capelle joined the team as host at Christmas. No doubt a star fell in Baarland that night and the story could now be sold to Disney just fine. But the story is not out yet….

The story also involves tragic twists and turns, with the low point being the far too early death of sister Ingrid. In 2011, when sister Liesbeth indicated she wanted to quit, Dennis decided to buy her shares. The relationship with Jelle became serious and what could not fail to happen was that he filled the vacancy of maître sommelier. The partnership turned out to be a golden move. Restaurateur Jelle bit into every conceivable knowledge about wine & food. He took extra training courses, travelled and eventually came 4th in a national sommelier competition. Although competitions turned out not to be his thing, the challenge of creating the perfect combinations as a sommelier only increased. During an evening “De Kleine Toren” we were introduced to the non-alcohol package and were immediately enthusiastic. My table-mate, with the “real” wine arrangement, even confides in me that he has only enjoyed such a delicious wine arrangement a few times before.
In 2013, for sister Marianne, it was time for a new challenge and her shares were also sold. Jelle seized his chance and made a boyhood dream come true with the share transaction – his own restaurant! Sometimes you can’t help but conclude that it was all meant to be. Now they just had to really make it their thing. That the stars were still aligned proved as miraculously the two won an interior design by architect Hennie Bosman. Although Hennie could not have imagined that she had made such a big job available as a prize, she put her heart and soul into the project. The bear and stars were to be the eye-catchers. 1,000 swarovski stones were needed for it. The floor became the colour of the Baarland clay and the lighting made the fairy tale complete.

Meanwhile, many newspapers, trade magazines but also Michelin, Lekker and Gault-Millau have written beautiful reviews. But more importantly, there is a regular clientele that appreciates the men’s work and likes to be pampered culinarily.

You can go for lunch from Friday to Sunday and for dinner from Thursday to Sunday. If the enamel has not jumped off your teeth by now after reading this sweet story, we strongly advise you to book a table soon 😉


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location_onNieuweweg 3 Baarland