Slow food in a fast city like Amsterdam sounds unnatural. But of course, nothing could be more natural than grub, grown and/or procured locally, eaten in most cases on the spot. Various slow food outlets are receiving rave reviews in the press and that’s not only because they happen to operate in a popular niche market. Take the case of Gartine, Madelief and Restaurant De Kas, three slow food outlets that are all unique and boast menus that chefs at regular restaurants can barely compete with.
Gartine offers breakfast, lunch or high tea and is located in an intimate monumental 16th century building in the centre of town. Produce comes straight from their own garden and the menu contains authentic recipes with food being prepared according to the principles of the slow food movement. That mostly means that food is not heated to such a degree that nutritious value is lost and that instead the cooking process is extended, slowed down. The difference is that slowly cooked (mostly baked) food ends up tasting a lot more, well, tasty really. The simplest way to verify this yourself is by chopping up a broccoli and putting it on a tray in the oven sprinkled with a little bit of olive oil and a dash of salt and cooking it at 160 degrees for 20-25 mins. Bet you know what the slow food movement is all about after you taste the difference a technique makes to such a simple food item!
Madelief is an unassuming establishment not far from the Vondelpark, run by a Dutch-Belgian couple who specialise in traditional French dishes and wine. All slow too. I had trouble finding their website but food website Dutchgrub offers an insightful review.
Restaurant De Kas is located somewhat further out. In case you decide to walk there, the route is fun and beautiful. The eatery itself has by far the most adventurous feel to it – delete dash? as it’s located inside the greenhouse (‘kas’ means greenhouse). The cooking style of the chefs here is inspired by the cuisines of rural Mediterranean countries. Fresh vegetables grown in the greenhouse itself are the main item on the menu, prepared in combination with meat or fish. Great establishment to take kids to.
And if you’re more of a home cook and want to cook slow food in the kitchen of the apartment you’ve rented with Amsterdam Apartments, you can make your way to the vegetarian butcher in the Rozengracht where you will find a product selection to match your appetite whether you’re a vegan, a vegetarian and everything in between. ‘Meat’ options include only the very best; every meat replacement product on offer is the product of years of experimentation with soja and lupine combined with 100 per cent locally grown veggies.