Britsoc: The British Society of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Serving the British Expat community since 1920.

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Restaurant Review – Borrl

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By Carol Moore

Whilst living in The Netherlands for the past 10 years, I have had a reasonable stab at trying to learn Dutch. Not always very successfully, but, none the less, in a fashion that made life here much more enjoyable and interesting! I have lived in Amsterdam the entire time but am still not completely au fait with the East part, so when I chanced upon a new place there I decided to try it straightaway.

I was rather intrigued by the name of this restaurant –    , and set out to see if it really was a true representation of the “gezellig” atmosphere which one would expect to find whilst having a drink socially. It was a cold, dark and dreary Winter’s Wednesday evening and I was meeting up with my friend for our first catch up of the New Year. Upon entering we were greeted warmly by the owner who quickly showed us to a nice table (which we were free to choose) and given a detailed run through of how the evening menu works. There is a small but not insufficient and varied menu which suits equally the meat/fish/veggie diner and, in-keeping with the name of the place, the emphasis is on sharing dishes together to keep up with the non-pretentious, relaxed ambiance. We plumped for the Borrl kitchen platter which was a lovely combination of serrano ham, chorizo, aioli, tuna mayo dip, mackerel and beetroot puree. Alongside this we ordered some good old fashioned Dutch bread, all served on a lovely simple wooden platter. In the meantime we had also received the explanation that the wines which were on offer were specifically priced lower than some of other local establishments, so that the recipient could drink good quality wine but without the rip off, overpriced amount that so many places in Amsterdam charge these days. We opted for the Kiwi Cuvee which originated not from New Zealand as I had thought, but good old France! It was crisp and juicy and again, at a more wallet-favourable price, plus very tasty on the palette. Read more

Burns’ Night 2017

Categories: Burns Night, Food and drink
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Britsoc are having their annual celebratory tribute to the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns at the British School of Amsterdam on Saturday 21st of January 2017. Burns was born on the 25th January 1759.

A Burns supper traditionally ranges from formal gatherings of scholars to uproaring informal rave ups of drunkards and louts. The Britsoc Burns night falls in the middle of this range and adheres to some sort of time honoured form. This includes the eating of the traditional Scottish meal and taking in the spirit of the Bard.

The Britsoc Burns Supper is littered with individual talents within our mists who have their own special flavour of captivating storytelling, singing and poetry. The celebration over time has developed its own unique group character, which distinguishes the Britsoc celebration from every other. The gathering has plenty of haggis, neeps and tatties to go around, and some have their favourite Scotch tipple to keep them warm.

Everyone should feel comfortable taking part, but they may need a little help and encouragement so you may need to gently motivate them in the right direction towards the dance floor. The good vibes, good food and the good company that this event celebrates would I’m sure be to a level that Burns himself would appreciate. Robert Burns died in July 1796 at the age of 37.   I’m sure we all know that since the publication of Auld Lang Syne, it has gone all around the world countless times and it is surely the greatest song of parting known to man.

Tickets are on sale now. Click here to order tickets.

 

On the 10th December this year the most glamorous and glittering event of the Netherlands Christmas social calendar will be once again held in the St Olaf Chapel in The NH Barbizon Hotel opposite Central station.

This year’s theme will be Glitz and Glam. Chris Naylor, Head Chef at Restaurant Vermeer in the NH Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam, will be sprinkling his Michelin star magic over the three course menu he has developed for the charity ball.

At the welcome reception you will be able to get a glimpse of the terrific prizesfor the Charity raffle and Silent auction. The fabulous meal will be accompanied by wine and an evening of entertainment to dance the night away. A late night breakfast will also be served to those who are still going strong after midnight.

Last remaining tickets available here:

Click Here for Tickets

The entertainment for the night is also just announced:

This year we have The Bowkers to entertain us, a fantastic singing sensation over from the UK. Justine, Max and Lukas together with their father Jason love to perform many genres of music and they will transport you back to the golden era of swing with their classic vocals and harmonies, slick fashion and quick wit.

For those of you who love to let your hair down and dance the night away they will deliver Soul, Motown and pop classics all night long.

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The Menu has just been announced:

British Society Ball Christmas dinner menu

Amuse

Liquid tortilla with onion and mushroom

Menu

Tuna tartar with black miso dressing and lemon granola

***

Duck breast with roasted cauliflower, lentils and a mild curry sauce

***

Pecan tart with mascarpone ice cream and red fruit sauce

British Society Christmas dinner Vegetarian menu

Amuse

Liquid tortilla with onion and mushroom

Menu

BBQ beetroot with black miso dressing and lemon granola

***

Salt crusted celeriac with roasted cauliflower, lentils and a mild curry sauce

***

Pecan tart with mascarpone ice cream and red fruit sauce

Ball Charity

Our Charity this year is Voedselbank (Food Bank) which helps out 1,500 families in Amsterdam.  Some details are available here:

Click here for Charity Details

GENEROUS SPONSORS NEEDED!

We are hoping to find generous sponsors this year who can provide a prize for our raffle or silent auction which we can turn into cash for our chosen charity which this year is the Food Bank in Amsterdam. They provide basic nutrition for around 1,500 families in Amsterdam who cannot afford to feed their families.

It also provides you or your business with a great opportunity to advertise to the British and Expat community in and around Amsterdam. The offer of a generous prize means we will splash you all over our website and facebook feeds plus you will be featured in a special spread in our monthly Zine magazine.  This means you reach around 3,000 Britons and Expats.

We are asking for your help to make this excellent event a fantastic success.  All offers of help from any organisation through sponsorship and other ideas for the ball’s Charity Raffle or Silent Auction are very welcome…please email us …

chair@britsoc.nl or ball@britsoc.nl

Many thanks in advance, and we look forward to seeing you at the  Ball on the 10th December at the NH Barbizon Hotel.

Nick’s Nosh – Moon

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Moon ***

Overhoeksplein 3
1031 KS Amsterdam
www.restaurantmoon.nl

Tel: +31(0)20.237.6311

Online reservations possible

I was in Turkey some years ago, in Ankara to be precise, meeting with a distributor out there who was beginning to become very successful selling the product from the company I was working for at the time.  I happened to mention that they have a revolving restaurant in Ankara and I have a thing about them.  I have been to around 13 of the about 360 (yes there really are 360 revolving restaurants) and was sort of ticking them off whenever I went somewhere which had one.  I told the distributor that we should just go there for a drink as the food is most likely to be rubbish.  Unbeknown to me, they booked for dinner and, as we sat down, they explained to the waiter that I had had some bad experiences and that he should suggest the best thing they do, as I thought revolving restaurants were pretty bad.  After the dinner the waiter asked my Turkish colleagues what I thought.  Not knowing what they had said, I thought I would be clever and say that it was as good as all other revolving restaurants I had been too.  He understood enough English to realise what I had said and his face went red with anger!

I should also explain that I have been having a run of bad Michelin star experiences recently, which I normally do for my birthday.  Moon, the new revolving restaurant on top of ADAM toren, was my choice for this year’s birthday meal.  Normally for the Michelin Star stuff it’s just myself and my girlfriend as I don’t want my friends to bear that sort of cost.  This time I was able to invite some of my closest friends as I was expecting it to be somewhat less.

So 6 of us arrived in the freezing cold to the tower and we headed up to the top deck where I was treated to the swing thing for my birthday.  On the way up the operator happened to mention it was a bit broken at the moment!!  I survived with a slightly raised heart rate.

On to dinner.

We sat down and were asked if we wanted an aperitif before we started.  The guys went for the bottle of prosecco and I ordered my standard rusty nail.  The waiter told us there was no barman and they had no idea how to make one! No barman on a Friday night?

After about 10 minutes we got some menus and after another 10 minutes they came to take our order.  I should explain the menu a bit.  You can have a choice of 5 or 7 courses.  If you don’t like something on the 5 courses you can change for something on the 7 courses but you pay a 5 euro penalty for each change.  You can add matched wine as well to the combination, which takes the whole meal over the 100 euro mark per person.  We are in Michelin price territory here.

Most took the standard 5 courses but I decided to change the 2 middle courses for another 10 euros. These are the 7 courses, so you can see what everyone had:

Raw Wagyu – Leek, sambal, herring roe

Coquille – truffle, miso

Dashi – eel, radish, chorizo

Babi pangang – pork belly, gamba, atjar, passion fruit

Lobster – Kaffir lime, egg, hollandaise

Canard aux pruneaux – plum, chicory, beet

The Moon – chocolate, yuzu, mango, orange velvet cake

Cheese Plate

Apart from the Cheese plate these descriptions are exactly how they appeared on the menu.

Once we had ordered they brought out a tasty selection of things – black twig-like parmesan crisps coated with poppy seeds, cassava chips, smoked almonds and a marinated tomato with a red pepper puree on top.

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All nice little tasty things, very salty, but tasty.

We had been sat down for well over 40 minutes by this point and my friends had run out of wine quite a while ago so we were a bit thirsty with all the salt.

Luckily the next thing to arrive was a pearl in an oyster shell.  I say luckily as the pearl contained a margarita cocktail.  I think the container was made from tempered white chocolate and was wafer thin.  The cocktail inside was a nice explosion of flavour with all the characteristics of a margarita.

We were approaching one hour sat down and the wine and first course was served.  Everyone took the wagyu beef tartar.  There was no indication it was going to be a tartar from the menu description.  OK it’s a beef tartar with a shrug of the shoulders.  To be honest they could have made it with regular fillet steak as the wagyu, I don’t think, added anything.  It was ok, not the best tartar I’ve had, but did not really live up to the billing given.

Wine served with it was a German Riesling.

At this point we started to notice how noisy the place is.  I was sat at the window and had about 1.5 metres worth of table between me and the waiter.  I could barely hear the explanations of the food and wine,  so, if I have made some mistakes, it’s because actually I did not know what I was getting.

The Riesling was a nice example, not completely overpowering petroleum nose which can happen with this type of wine.  It was subtle wine which worked fine with this course.

The next course I diverged with the majority who took the scallop.  I took the Dashi dish.  I have had a number of dashi broths and sauces which I think, when it is done well, is spectacular.  The dish presented was, I guess, a square slice of daikon about 3 mm thick on the bottom of the plate, with slices of smoked eel on top and a chorizo crumb.  The Dashi was a vinaigrette which was spooned over it.  The waiter gave me 3 measly spoonful’s and I told him “it is my birthday can you leave the bowl?”  Apparently that was the total amount they had for the evening.  This was a spectacular dish.  The vinaigrette was a taste explosion and complimented the smoked eel very well and the smoky paprika chorizo crumb.

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Both courses were served with a white Cote du Rhone, a wine I was not very familiar with.  It was bland and did not match my dish at all.  It was completely overwhelmed by the intense flavours.  I luckily had about ¼ glass of the Riesling left which had enough character to stand up to my dish.  I asked was it normal to serve the same wine with both.  I sort of got the feeling that possibly I should have had something different but they could not be bothered for one awkward diner like me.

The next course many people chose to swap to the lobster.  I wish that they had mentioned on the menu that it was served with a bisque.  I have a hate, love relationship with bisque.  In general hate it but once in a while I get a good one.  I think for the delicate lobster meat you just cannot serve something so strong.  I winced with every bite of this and attempted to scrape off the bisque to concentrate on the lobster.

At least the wine choice was excellent, if there was no bisque that is.  A Saint Veran white burgundy which was subtle and with a little vanilla from the oak.

Next there was duck.  It was 4 slices of duck breast cooked pink, with plum tart tatin, a couple of chicory leaves and sauce.  The duck, in combination with the tart, that fruit/duck combination that classically works quite well, worked quite well.  The chicory I mostly left and the sauce was a decent accompaniment.

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This was served with a Corbières which was decent and was a fairly good match for the food.

On to the cheese/sweets.  Only one of our party chose the moon dessert.  The rest of us had the cheese platter.  The cheeses were ok, but not spectacular, and, as I could not hear what was said, I cannot tell you what they were.  One was goat, the best one was a sheep cheese, there was a strong Dutch one and blue one from somewhere.

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We were offered a LBV port to go with it.

The Moon dessert looked pretty good.

A little bit more on the décor.  The tables and chairs are made from a laminated wood.  Apart from the one 12 seater table, all other tables have a maximum occupancy of 6 people and radially span out from the centre.  They all sit on a platform which the rotating mechanism sits on.  These are bench seats so having a lot of surface area to bounce the sound off.  The ceiling has some attempt at controlling the sound with some wooden blocks there which I assume are to diffuse the sound somewhat.  There is some piped in music, which, for the life of me, I have no clue what it was because of the din.  It’s a problem.

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The furniture is way too basic to be paying this sort of money.  It needs to be a classier.  Service, as you may have guessed from some of my comments, was slow.  No barman on a Friday night, come on what is that all about?  The food was ok with one spectacular dish for me.  In the end, with a drink for the road, the bill was 280 euros per couple which is smack bang in Michelin territory.  It’s not good enough.

I think I would like to try the slightly less expensive non-revolving M’adam restaurant for comparison, but I certainly don’t need to go back here, unless someone else is paying.  Unfortunately they have managed to maintain my opinion on revolving restaurants of average food and extortionate prices.

The Cooking Coach – Rabbit Stew with Prunes

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The Cooking Coach

Love Food, Live Healthy

www.thecookingcoach.eu

Mobile : 06 1424 0009

Email:     karen@thecookingcoach.eu

 rabbitprunestew5

Karen Vivers is originally from Scotland and has lived in Amsterdam since 1997.  Following on from her award winning delicatessen, Karen now runs her business ‘The Cooking Coach’.

The Cooking Coach is all about sharing great food.  Karen does this by eating her way through Amsterdam with her Private Food Tour clients or writing about food in the city and further afield.  And, if she’s not eating out, she’s cooking at home –  developing lots of tasty recipes to share on her blog or for her next cook book.

Rabbit Stew with Prunes

Every year, when the days get shorter and the temperature drops, I start to crave comfort food.  This comes in many forms for me, and one category is stew.  It never used to be. I grew up eating stew in some form or another practically every day.  I was so bored with it and had no appreciation for how good it really was.  I was completely oblivious to the goodness and taste of all those fresh root vegetables, straight from our garden, and the cuts of local meat and game my dad procured from farmers and game keepers on the island.

Now, it’s a different story.  I would love to pick vegetables from my own garden or pop next door to the game keeper for some fresh rabbit, deer or pheasant.  We always want what we can’t have I suppose.  But that’s not going to stop me having good go at it.  Until now I’ve concentrated on stews with beef, oxtail, casseroles with chicken and even sausages, but this year I’m upping my game.  Enough time has passed and the trauma of skinning rabbits at our kitchen table while the Border Collies looked on licking their lips, has subsided.  It’s time to make rabbit stew.  I looked at a lot of recipes and decided I liked the idea of adding some prunes as well as a bit of booze, so this is my first very own rabbit stew.  I’m really pleased with it, and, as with all stews, it’s easy to make.

Where to get your Rabbit

In the Netherlands you can buy rabbit at the poultry shop (poelier), and not the butcher (slager).

The Recipe

Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking Time:  two and a half to three hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 x tbsp olive oil and 2 x tsps unsalted butter
2 x rabbits, jointed
200gr / 7oz. prunes
1 x tbsp honey
A little plain flour to dust the meat
100gr / 3.5oz. bacon, sliced finely
2 x medium sized carrots, chopped roughly
1 x onion, chopped roughly
2 x cloves of garlic chopped roughly
The leaves of 4 sprigs of thyme chopped finely
2 x bay leaves
150ml / 5fl. oz. Madeira
150ml / 5fl. oz. red wine
200ml / 6.5fl. oz. good quality chicken stock (no cubes please)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Some freshly chopped flat parsley leaves to serve

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Method

  1. Set your oven to heat to 150°C/300°F.
  2. Sprinkle a small handful of flour onto a dinner plate and roll the pieces of rabbit in it until they are lightly covered.
  3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large stew or soup pan (that you can put in the oven) on a medium to high heat. Place the pieces of rabbit into the pan and allow them to brown. Make sure they sizzle as you put them into the oil and butter mix, but not too aggressively, you don’t want the butter and oil to burn.  This should take a couple of minutes on each side.  You may need to do it in batches as all the meat will need to come into contact with the base of the pan so it can brown nicely.  If you move the meat too soon after putting it into the pan, it will stick, so resist the temptation.
  4. Once the meat has been browned, set it aside and add to the same pan (without cleaning it) the onion, bacon, carrots and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes allowing the bacon to brown, but be careful the garlic doesn’t burn.
  5. Return the rabbit to the pan, add the thyme, bay leaves, Madeira, red wine, stock, honey and prunes. Add a little salt and pepper too.
  6. Bring the stew to a gentle bubble, put its lid on and place it in the oven for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender and almost falls off the bone – check after the first 20 minutes to make sure it is bubbling very gently.
  7. Check for seasoning and remove the bay leaves before you serve and sprinkle some fresh parsley over the stew before you bring it to the table.

Tips and Variations

  • My favourite way to serve this rabbit stew is with some boiled potatoes and Savoy cabbage.
  • This stew will keep for a few days in the fridge, so you can make it the day before if you wish.

Nick’s Nosh – Oceania

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Oceania ****

Daily open:

12.00 – 22.00

Scheldestraat 77, 1078 GH AMSTERDAM

T: +31 (0) 20 – 6738907

F: +31 (0) 20 – 6796548

E: info@restaurantoceania.nl

I have always been suspicious of the restaurants around RAI.  To me, they all look like they are catering for the exhibitions.  The prices are a bit too high and the few restaurants I have been to I don’t really rate that highly.  I had persuaded my girlfriend to take me bowling for my birthday and so we were looking for a quick bite beforehand.  I had remembered there was a Chinese and a Pakistani restaurant on Scheldestraat.  It seems that the Pakistani restaurant is now a brand new Indian Nawaab which I am looking forward to reviewing soon.  In the end we chose Oceania without really knowing anything about it.

It is a very upmarket Chinese restaurant which specialises in seafood, which you realise as soon as you open the menu. There are around 5 pages of main courses involving fish and 3-4 pages of starters, a lot of which have fishy elements.

It was clear I was not going to be able to do my regular Chinese order of lots of starter-y things and one main course between 2.  It was clear that fish was the star of the show here and it was my birthday and so I was going to go for it.

The starters we ordered were a prawn satay for my girlfriend and I ordered the crabmeat and sweetcorn soup.  One thing I never even thought about doing was to even look at the prices for these things.  This I would regret at the end.  I did spot, as the menus were being taken away, that the sesame prawn toast was €16.50.  I thought that was expensive, but never really questioned it further.

The wine menu is extremely extensive and I decided to go with my favourite wine to have with fish; a Pouilly Fumé.

We ordered a steamed medium-sized Turbot for mains, with some steamed rice and Pak Choi with garlic and chili.

The prawn satay which came out was not your traditional Indonesian peanut sauce affair, but they were using the term merely for something on a stick.  The sauce was a rich soy based sauce bordering on barbeque.

The delicate little bowl of crabmeat and sweetcorn which was laid before me was great.  I could tell it was fresh crabmeat rather than the crabsticks which most places use.  It had that typical MSG thickness and was nicely sweet. I added a couple of drops of chili oil to pep things up a bit.

OK nice. It was going well.

The restaurant is lusciously decorated with wood, Chinese watercolours and a golden log in a fish tank with some writing on it!  The tables have proper table cloths and the cutlery was screaming that this was a classy establishment.  Add in the smartly attired waiting staff, even the girls had a tie, it was classy. The music was appropriate for the venue and unobtrusive.

oceania-2

The turbot dish came out with great flourish and was displayed for around 10 seconds before being whisked away under the hot station to be prepared.  In blink of an eye a small taster of the fish arrived on a plate with our rice and vegetables. The undressed fish came back to the table after a couple of minutes and we began to spoon pieces of delicate flesh on to our plates with some of the accompanying steaming liquor. The fish did not have a chance as it was hoovered down in a matter of minutes and even the fish cheeks were eaten for good measure.  The Pak Choi was steamed nicely and the simplicity of the delicate white fish, steamed rice and vegetables brought joy to my heart.  The fish was beautifully cooked and the liquor was extremely tasty.  All washed down with some Pouilly Fumé.

It was time to go and we asked for the bill.  It came and I noted that the prawn satay was a bit pricey at about €16.  I thought ok.  The soup however was best part of € 23 for less than an average cup full.  I asked if this was correct.  The waitress had to take the bill away and ask as she obviously thought it was a mistake.  “No sir, the soup is made with Alaskan, Spider Crab!” 23 euros it is then.  Caveat Emptor.

Without the ridiculous pricing of the starters this place could have achieved my first ever 5 star rating in this column.  It does not exactly for that reason.

I will go back again but I think I have a cunning plan, as Baldrick would say.  Take say a cheaper fish like snapper or seabass, a small one and have it grilled or fried and as a starter.  Then take the medium sized turbot or halibut steamed as your main.  You will pay about the same price as we did for our meal this way.

Nick’s Nosh – Ron Gastrobar Oriental

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Ron’s Gastrobar Oriental  ***

Open 7 days per week 17:30 to 23:00

Kerkstraat 23
1017 GA
Amsterdam
Tel: (+31) 20 22 35 352

e-mail: info@rongastrobaroriental.nl

Online reservations

This is my first venture into Ron Blaauw’s empire, apart from a rather disappointing visit to Bridges in the Sofitel Grand, which claims it is inspired by said chef.

I fancied some oriental food which was a bit better than your average Zeedijk stuff so, booking a week in advance, we headed over to see what the fuss was all about.  Some of you may have tried Julius Jaspers attempt at a Asian fusion restaurant – Happy Happy, Joy Joy which can only be described as Sad Sad, Dreary Dreary.  The Dutch take on most Asian food is to remove all the things that make it fun to eat.  If you have tried a few Indonesians in Amsterdam you will know that they are mostly bland and have no spice at all.  I was hoping Ron would do better.

The evening happened to coincide with one of the weekend nights for ADE and so the place was packed full of disco diva’s and scruffy looking DJ wannabes.  There was one pair of girls dressed to the nines opposite us who started taking hundreds of selfies as we were halfway through the meal, with full on poses and pouting, probably for Snapgram or Instachat or the like.  I’m not sure whether this would be the regular crowd so I will not judge the clientele too much, based on this one experience.

The menu is one of these grazing/tapas-style jobs were you end up ordering too much and spending more that you wanted to.  They have a dim sum selection followed by small plates of other things which we were recommended to take 3 of to cover 2 of us.  There are some specials to share (for 2 or more people) with fairly hefty price tags as well.

We decided to take a mixed selection of Dim Sum to start and below are the 3 dishes we chose for mains:

  • DIEM SUUN DAI HA

Crispy sweet and sour prawns

  • LING MUNG KAI

Wok fried lemon chicken with black pepper and leek

  • CHAR SIU

Smothered pork meat with Char Siu sauce and coriander

We asked for the Dim Sum selection to be mostly the classical Sui Mai type thing rather than the western inspired stuff with Foie gras and whatnot.  You can never be sure whether a restaurant like this makes its own.  The ones we had were excellent quality and sauces to go with them were good whatever their origin.

The three dishes which followed looked very promising, all sticky with thick brown sauce all over the top.  I was really looking forward to the Char Siu as I had not been able to find a really good example of this in Amsterdam.  The first few bites of each dish were great.  I was thinking we have a 4 star review on our hands here.  It was only after 2 or 3 bites of each dish that I began to notice a problem.  Unfortunately all 3 dishes we had ordered had the same sort of caramel based, thick, sweet, sticky sauce to accompany.  After a while it was prawn with sticky, sweet, brown sauce, chicken with sticky, sweet, brown sauce and pork with sticky, sweet, brown sauce.  I am not saying it was bad, just the lack of something different made it really boring.

I think if the restaurant were confident enough and staff well trained enough then they could/should have realised what we had ordered and possibly suggested something away from this very similar background flavour.

We ordered some steamed rice as a side dish.  For drinks we went for a robust Barbera d’Alba which was enough to deal with the sticky, sweet, brown sauce and started with a glass of Cava which was nice enough.

Inside, the décor is lots of dark wood, dark green bench seats, with screens made with a gold square motif in the middle. The bar area has a brown marble top and at the back is a large oriental print of an Asian Girl.  White-painted, exposed bricks, those thin slate-like tiles and spot lamps make up the rest of the décor. It was dimly lit when we were there but nice enough to give it that feel of chic lounge like Tao in Las Vegas.  The music was a bit clubby but that could have been pandering to the crowd.  If it was not ADE I would not have been bothered by it either.

The review in Het Parool gave it a 9/10.  It does things well and service was slightly above average for Amsterdam but it just did not have the edge to give it more than 3 out of 5 for me. It’s maybe better than a 3 but it’s not a 4 and since I am a harsh marker, a 3 is where it will remain.  I will go back and try some of the other dishes in case I have got it wrong, but if you want posh Asian food, maybe try my other review in this month’s Zine, Oceania, first.

On the 10th December this year the most glamorous and glittering event of the Netherlands Christmas social calendar will be once again held in the St Olaf Chapel in The NH Barbizon Hotel opposite Central station.

This year’s theme will be Glitz and Glam. Chris Naylor, Head Chef at Restaurant Vermeer in the NH Barbizon Palace in Amsterdam, will be sprinkling his Michelin star magic over the three course menu he has developed for the charity ball.

At the welcome reception you will be able to get a glimpse of the terrific prizesfor the Charity raffle and Silent auction. The fabulous meal will be accompanied by wine and an evening of entertainment to dance the night away. A late night breakfast will also be served to those who are still going strong after midnight.

Over 60% of tickets are already sold.  Don’t be dissapointment and book now.

Click Here for Tickets

The Menu has just been announced:

British Society Ball Christmas dinner menu

Amuse

Liquid tortilla with onion and mushroom

Menu

Tuna tartar with black miso dressing and lemon granola

***

Duck breast with roasted cauliflower, lentils and a mild curry sauce

***

Pecan tart with mascarpone ice cream and red fruit sauce

British Society Christmas dinner Vegetarian menu

Amuse

Liquid tortilla with onion and mushroom

Menu

BBQ beetroot with black miso dressing and lemon granola

***

Salt crusted celeriac with roasted cauliflower, lentils and a mild curry sauce

***

Pecan tart with mascarpone ice cream and red fruit sauce

Ball Charity

Our Charity this year is Voedselbank (Food Bank) which helps out 1,500 families in Amsterdam.  Some details are available here:

Click here for Charity Details

GENEROUS SPONSORS NEEDED!

We are hoping to find generous sponsors this year who can provide a prize for our raffle or silent auction which we can turn into cash for our chosen charity which this year is the Food Bank in Amsterdam. They provide basic nutrition for around 1,500 families in Amsterdam who cannot afford to feed their families.

It also provides you or your business with a great opportunity to advertise to the British and Expat community in and around Amsterdam. The offer of a generous prize means we will splash you all over our website and facebook feeds plus you will be featured in a special spread in our monthly Zine magazine.  This means you reach around 3,000 Britons and Expats.

We are asking for your help to make this excellent event a fantastic success.  All offers of help from any organisation through sponsorship and other ideas for the ball’s Charity Raffle or Silent Auction are very welcome…please email us …

chair@britsoc.nl or ball@britsoc.nl

Many thanks in advance, and we look forward to seeing you at the  Ball on the 10th December at the NH Barbizon Hotel.

The Cooking Coach – Pasta with Roast Butternut Squash and Spinach

Categories: Cooking Coach, Food and drink
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The Cooking Coach 

Love Food, Live Healthy 

www.thecookingcoach.eu 

Mobile : 06 1424 0009

Email:     karen@thecookingcoach.eu 

Karen Vivers is originally from Scotland and has lived in Amsterdam since 1997.  Following on from her award winning delicatessen, Karen now runs her business ‘The Cooking Coach’.

The Cooking Coach is all about sharing great food.  Karen does this by eating her way through Amsterdam with her Private Food Tour clients or writing about food in the city and further afield.  And, if she’s not eating out she’s cooking at home –  developing lots of tasty recipes to share on her blog or for her next cook book.

Pasta with Roast Butternut Squash and Spinach

This is a bit of an pastaroastpumpkin2accidental vegetarian recipe.  What I mean by that is that I didn’t set out to make a vegetarian recipe, but it sort of just happened that way.  Staring into the fridge one day at a butternut squash that I had bought on impulse (ok, some women buy shoes on impulse, I buy squash – what of it?), I had to come up with a way to use it.  I had been obsessing over a curry with squash for a while, maybe combine it with some frozen spinach which I always have in the freezer anyway and perhaps some chickpeas.  But, I didn’t feel like a curry that day, and then it came to me, all of a sudden, it had to be pasta……

Preparation Time:25 minutes (includes roasting the squash)
Cooking Time:10 minutes

Ingredients for 4 Servings
For the Butternut Squash
2 x medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (smallish, bite sized pieces– remember though, they will shrink a bit in the oven)
2 x tsp honey
1 x tbsp olive oil
½ a freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
For the Spinach Sauce
2 x tbsp olive oil
500gr / 1.1 lb. frozen spinach (not creamed spinach), defrosted
3 x shallots chopped finely
5 or 6 sage leaves chopped finely
2 or 3 large garlic cloves chopped finely
300gr / 10 oz. cherry tomatoes, quartered
300ml / 10 fl.oz. buttermilk
To Serve
75gr / 2.5 oz. toasted pine nuts
50gr / 1.5 oz. grated pecorino cheese (or parmesan)
Some extra virgin oil to drizzle over (optional)
Lumache Rigate pasta

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
  2. Place the butternut squash in a roasting tray big enough that you can spread it out. Drizzle over the oil, mix it through to cover all your squash, then drizzle over the honey, grate over the nutmeg, sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Place in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. The time will depend on how big you made your pieces of squash. The result you are looking for is that the squash has softened a little (not mushy though) and that it has taken on some colour.
  3. Whilst the squash is cooking you can get on with the pasta and the spinach sauce. Drop your pasta into boiling, salted water for as long as the packaging instructs.
  4. For the spinach sauce, heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, then add the shallots, garlic and sage. Cook until they have browned then add the spinach. I like to keep any water that has come from the spinach, I don’t drain it, just add it all. Stir through and add the tomatoes, mix in. Once bubbling, add the buttermilk, mix it through, then add and some salt and pepper to taste. This part of the cooking only takes a few minutes, you don’t want to overcook the spinach otherwise it will lose its vibrant green colour.
  5. When the squash is ready, add about 2/3 of it to the spinach in the pan and stir through, keep the rest back to dress.
  6. To add the pasta, I don’t drain it, as I want to get a little (just a little) of the water in which it has cooked into my sauce. To do this I decant the pasta into the pan with the spinach and butternut by using a slotted spoon. Stir your pasta through, check for seasoning.
  7. To serve sprinkle over the remaining squash, pine nuts, cheese and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil if you wish.

pastaroastpumpin3

Tips and Variations

You can make the squash in advance and heat it through the spinach sauce.

Restaurant Review – Meneer de wit Heeft Honger

Categories: Amsterdam, Britsoc Chairman, Food and drink, Nick's Nosh, To do in Amsterdam
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 Meneer de wit Heeft Honger ****

Witte de Withstraat 10, 1057 XV Amsterdam Tel: +31 20 737 3184

http://meneerdewitheefthonger.nl/

Online reservation possible

I live in the West of Amsterdam on the border of De Baarsjes and Bos & Lommer. Although Bos & Lommer has some wonderful ethnic cuisine, in general we head into the Baarsjes for our local restaurant fix. There is normally a new place opening in our area every month and so we do not suffer from a lack of choice. We recently visited Huis van Lopez which was aiming for a Mexican style. However everything just tasted of lime juice and pretty much nothing else. This review is about a restaurant I do like.

It is now extremely rare that a restaurant makes it to my go-to list which currently consists of 42 places. This one does.

This is a very unassuming restaurant just off Kinkerstraat on the line of the 17 and 7 tram. I had walked past it before and I thought it smelled great. The owner/chef is a Moroccan guy and the menu is Arabic/Mediterranean inspired. It is a simple place with white walls, basic wooden furniture open kitchen and room for about 50 covers.

I had looked on2016-07-21-20-05-42line at the menu beforehand so I was pretty sure what I wanted. Unfortunately the grilled sardines where finished when we arrived and so we chose 3 starters and oven baked dorade to share. The starters we chose were Arabic staples – hummus, baked spicy aubergine and a maybe not so Arabic staple, mixed beet platter. The first 2 were my choice and I thought they sang with flavour. Beets I don’t particularly care for, but they were nice enough. These were served with some slices of regular baguette-style bread. I could have just stopped there as it was filling enough and very tasty.

 

 

The dorade came out on a silver platter with wedges of lemon and covered in spices. The top of it was crispy roasted skin and underneath was slightly stewed. It was cooked to perfection. We shared a bit of the top and bottom with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. We had nothing to accompany it, but if you would like something, then a simple green salad would be all you would need.

The service was effective and unobtrusive. Simple. We had a bottle of white wine, no idea what it was, but it was good enough. The bill was well under 100 euros for 2 people.

It is simple, tasty, good value. You don’t need to know much more than this. Just go – you will be happy you have been there.