London Foodie A-Z: N = Netherlands
I had planned to sample a Nepalese restaurant for the letter N, but my plans had to change so I took the opportunity while Christmas shopping to treat myself to lunch at a London institution.
My Old Dutch (www.myolddutch.com) is well known as a pancake house and was established in London back in 1958! I remember seeing the branch on the King’s Road in Chelsea as a kid, (it’s still there) but had never been in. So, when I realised there was a branch on High Holborn, and I was at Oxford Circus at the time (there’s also a third branch in Kensington), it seemed perfect.
Being honest, I’d never thought of pancakes as being a typical ‘Dutch’ dish, but it seems they are, although, they’re usually larger and thinner than American style pancakes and thicker than a French crepe. However, I fancied two courses and didn’t feel like a savoury pancake followed by a sweet pancake – too much pancake even if they do come with a large variety of toppings. Choosing a savoury pancake topping is a bit like choosing a pizza topping – seafood, chilli con carne, chicken curry, lamb stew, four cheeses, Greek, Roma……., and the sweet pancakes (they also do waffles) range from the plain sugar and lemon variety to a compote of berries and, of course, Nutella.
But being as this is all about sampling different foods and I wanted to sample some traditional Dutch cuisine, I ordered Bitterballen with a side of fries followed by Poffertjes.
Bitterballen are basically a Dutch snack, often had as a starter and I understand they are particularly good accompanied by a beer or two. Meatballs deep-fried in a crunchy breadcrumb coating, mine were delicious with each bitterbal crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The meatball mixture consists of beef, beef broth, butter, flour and spices, so it’s like a sort of ragout inside the crispy coating. Served with mustard for dipping, they went down very well.
My poffertjes arrived, which are like baby pancakes and, just as with sweet pancakes, you can have a variety of toppings. Their name comes from the way they are made as the dough ‘puffs’ up when they are cooked. Poffertjes are often eaten on national holidays and at festivals.
I ordered the ‘Traditional’ version and these came served with a lump of butter (that seemed a bit odd to be honest) and lashings of stroop (maple syrup). Wonderfully fluffy, they soaked up the syrup and were yummy – just the thing for a cold day.
The restaurant itself is light and airy, with the walls covered in murals of enormous tulips – what else?! The staff were friendly and all around me people were enjoying the most tempting looking pancakes. I left the restaurant with a full belly, and a desire to go back time and time again and work my way through the entire menu of pancakes, waffles and poffertjes.
#lifeofaguide #LondonFoodieAZ #Netherlands #MyOldDutch #Bitterballen #Poffertjes
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