Het Hoofdgerecht **
Het Stenen Hoofd
If you are going to call your festival “the main course” it needs to damn well deliver on this. I was very glad we went on Sunday, the free day, as I would have not liked to pay 10 euros to get in to this thing. I think it was more about the music and entertainment than the food. The Sunday we chose to go was cool, but just about t-shirt weather. After a very quick walk around all the stalls we made our food choices quite quickly.
Out of the 4 of us one chose the Indonesian from Warung Wanto (http://www.wanto.nl/WARUNG_WANTO/warung_wanto.html) which looked like a bit of everything from the Indo kitchen including a chicken satay. Two of us had the pulled pork sandwich which was pretty good, but the very spicy sauce meant the pork flavour was lost somewhat. The final member of the party had a spicy chicken wrap which looked also ok.
We had obviously arrived far too early as we were being serenaded by the ladies in their traditional Dutch costumes singing to a bunch of kids about what happens in the Bakkerij.
Maybe the evening entertainment is what this festival is all about but for me these were the same old trucks you get at all these types of things and in fact most of this is available at the neighbour food market and other such regular markets. For me this was more petit dejeuner rather than Hoofdgerecht. I would stick with other festivals next year or try in the evening.
Ellis Gourmet Burger ***
1016 JC Amsterdam
Tel: +31 020 261 26 69
I had seen quite a few of my Facebook friends post that they had been here a few times for a Burger and I do count them as some of my more discerning friends so I wanted to try this for myself and see what all the fuss was about.
Ellis is just off Leidsestraat on junction of Prinsengracht/Leidsegracht actually within spitting distance of all the tourists. They have managed to find a place with a large terrace on the opposite side of the street. There must be room for 80 plus people on this terrace, doubling the size of the restaurant. The day we chose to eat there was a Saturday afternoon around 3pm and so it was busy, but we still managed to sit down immediately all be it perched on the end of another table with an antipodean couple.
So this is all about the burgers. Will it match the current best in town? Our orders for drinks were taken swiftly and they arrived soon afterwards. Our food order was taken at the same time as the drinks arrived. Not bad for Amsterdam! We ordered classical burgers one with cheese and the other with bacon, keeping it simple so we can make the comparison with other places. I really wanted to try the lamb burger, however. The sacrifices I have to make for you lot hey! The fries were a separate side order along with come corn on the cob.
Our food arrived in under 10 minutes and looked very appetising. The Burgers themselves were a regular size and not the towering monstrosities you sometimes get in these places pretending to be upmarket burger places. At least you knew it would fit in your mouth. Another pet hate of mine is this fashion for Brioche buns which I find too sweet and dry. Ellis had stuck with a regular bun hurrah! The topping was a bit of iceberg lettuce which formed a barrier between the burger and the base, some gherkin and a tomato plus a spicy burger relish. This was going to be pretty good I thought. Fries were the chipped skinned variety which adds an earthiness to the potato, but can also mean they don’t crisp up that well and can be too strong a flavour.
The Burger itself was cooked around medium which was good but the waterfall of fat and liquid you get from the first bite is unappealing to me. I have a bit of an issue that there is no resting of the meat at all in these places. I had the same problem at another place twice as bad called Morgan and Mees where my wooden board had a puddle filling it to the edge. All this wetness causes the bun to go completely soggy and fall apart. The bottom barrier of iceberg helped in this case and me holding the thing vertically for the time I ate it also helped, but the bun was a bit of a sorry mess at the end. It is not enjoyable to hold it for 5 minutes while you are eating as I would like to put it down and have chip, conversation or sip of a drink for example. If there is no room on your plate, however because of the puddle of liquid what do you do? It tasted ok however and if you are in this area it is a good burger apart from the problems above. The chips are a little too earthy and not quite crisp enough, but the corn was great served with a wedge of butter! The Butcher still reigns supreme for me.