5 x places to eat this month
This month’s selection of culinary hotspots includes a neighbourhood smokehouse, plant-led plates in a warehouse and a former gunpowder factory.
The new one:
‘It was time to spice things up,’ explains former MasterChef Holland judge Peter Lute, whose eponymous restaurant had been a fixture on the local food scene for 14 years. The clue’s in the new name, which translates as ‘the herb factory’ in Dutch, but is also a nod to a former life as part of an 18th-century gunpowder factory (or kruitfabriek) off the banks of the river Amstel. It’s a happy coincidence, then, that herbs have never been hipper and here the cooking explodes with flavour thanks to the aromatics now grown in the obligatory on-site greenhouse and garden.
The ‘sole meunière 2.0’ with beurre noisette, duxelles, deep fried parsley, peppery nasturtium leaf and tangy wood sorrel (€20) is a souped up blast from the classically trained chef’s past, while a 5-course vegetarian menu (€45) brings things bang up to date. Also on the menu is a nose-to-tail exploration of dual-purpose beef, with well-marbled meat from former dairy cows, served with beet, shallots and a jus made from the bones, tail and other unloved bits. Meanwhile, the ‘herb pizza’ with tuna tataki and enoki mushrooms (€15) and the ‘chocolate garden’ dessert with gianduja and basil-yoghurt sorbet (€10) are excellent examples of the relaunched restaurant’s ‘fresher, more daring’ new approach.
De Oude Molen 5 (Amstelveen)
The critic’s choice:
The people behind popular pop-ups Felix and Foyer have found a permanent fixture at a former factory in Oosterdok, where a bright red façade and staircase are the eye-catchers in an otherwise basic industrial interior. What remains is chef Merijn van Berlo’s inventive plant-led plates, which pair mismatched ingredients to create a (mostly) happy marriage that typically delivers on taste, but sometimes comprises too many elements. However, for such a centrally-located restaurant, it’s affordable by Amsterdam standards (from €33 for a 3-course menu), with reasonably priced vin naturel wines, and of-the-moment cooking that’ll please flesh fans and veggie lovers alike.
De Ruyterkade 128
The quick & simple one:
Bayu Basuki Barni brings the flavours of his native Surabaya to his Indonesian toko, where modern design meets folkloric flair. With only a few tables, the focus is on take-away, with traditional dishes such as gado gado and chicken satay sitting alongside experimental interpretations like rendang quiche (meals from €7,50).
The trendy one:
Hip Westerpark is home to Amsterdam’s best brisket and rave-worthy ribs, slow-smoked over Dutch fruit wood by Kansas-born cook Brandon Woodruff. In a city known for its expensive eats, ‘The Spread’ – a trio of mains with three sides, cornbread and a selection of homemade pickles and sauces – is excellent value for money at €59 (serves two to three eaters).
Groen van Prinstererstraat 14
The classic one:
The Hartering brothers’ nouveau-rustic approach ruffled a few fine dining feathers back when the restaurant launched in 2010, but quickly won over local foodies with unfussy à la carte hits, such as rosemary-covered roasted bone marrow served with crusty bread and pureed garlic (€15), classic côte de bœuf (€39 per person sharing) and an impeccable cheese plate (€15). There’s also an unpretentious five-course chef’s menu (€55) inspired by the seasons.
Words: Karin Engelbrecht