Pictures of mothers are crammed on every inch of the walls. The beautiful blonde waitresses wear patchwork cloth aprons. Jars of mixed sweets sit on the bar. All the plates, cutlery and glasses are mismatched. – when the restaurant first opened in 1990, people were asked to bring a plate, wine glass and cup – they are all still in use 20 years later.
Tonight we’re looking forward to some homestyle Dutch specialities at the very cool and kitsch restaurant that celebrates all things motherhood, ‘Moeders’ (‘Mothers’ in Dutch), in the Jordaan, in Amsterdam.
We can’t help but look around the room at all the images of mothers and wonder about their stories. We talk about our own… I miss my mum, she would love it here.
To start we order spicy clafoutis with pumpkin, leek & old Amsterdam cheese and a Mama’s Happas plate, which gives us a taste of baked oysters in hollandaise, brie, duck pate, wild salmon and cheese & spinach pie. I’ve avoided the oysters, but I’m scraping the shell for the creamy, cheesy (with a hint of curry powder) hollandaise. Delicious.
We want to try everything, so our waitress suggests the Dutch Ricedish with a little pot of everything – Suddervlees (Granny’s recipe for stewed beef, boiled potatoes & red cabbage); Hopscotch (Dutch stampot of mashed potatoes with vegetables, sausage, meatballs & bacon); Hachéé (hashed meat served with boiled potatoes & red cabbage); White cabbage salad; Spinach; Stewed apple and stewed rhubarb.
Little woven mats of coloured wooden beads are laid out for our hot pots. Everything is so delicious! The stewed meats are rich and flavorsome and fall apart at the touch. The white cabbage salad is creamy and crunchy.
My favourite is the mashed potato that’s laced with sour cabbage and topped with crispy wafers of bacon and a Hema (the store it was bought from) sausage – I love the mix of salt, sour, starch and meat.
There’s so much food, we can’t get through it all.
The 09 Fonte do Nico rosé is going down way too easy.
We’re the last ones in the restaurant when our fresh peppermint tea is delivered with an lovely old biscuit tin filled with shortbreads.
On the way home we stop to try some Jenever at one of the oldest brown bars in Amsterdam, Cafe Chris. Judging by the photos from 1624 when it first opened, it hasn’t changed much at all. We try an 18-year-old locally made Jenever. It’s smoothy and firey, like a ginny-vodka… If I wasn’t due to be up and on a train in a few hours, I probably would have enjoyed more of it.
Moeders ‘Mothers’ – Rozengracht, Amsterdam – www.moeders.com.nl
Cafe Chris – Bloemstraat, Amsterdam – www.cafechris.nl