Ever wondered what the average Dutch family has for dinner? If you are thinking bread, cheese and maybe potatoes you are probably not too far away. To find out, I brought my friend Sam and the his bride Steff to one of the most popular Dutch diners in the heart of Amsterdam. The restaurant is called Moeders which simply translates to Mothers in English. Come in, be seated and gaze at the nostalgic walls filled with hundreds of pictures of mom. Be sure to make a reservation as plenty were turned back when they tried coming in impromptu.
The menu is rather short and does not requires much thought, but why not ask the waiter for a recommendation? We did eventually ended up with the Hollandse Rijstaffel or Dutch Ricedish (19 Euro per person). And no it is not a dish of rice. One by one little pots of stew, potatoes, relish and vegetables came out. Eventually the table was filled to the brim.
The essence of the meal of a Dutch Stamppot which was mash mixed with different types of vegetables and served with a protein. Moeders’s beef stew was tender, meaty and absolutely hearty. Pour it over boiled potatoes for a delicious warm meal. Then add some relish and red cabbage to give your taste buds an explosion of flavours. There were two types of beef served and I felt that besides the stronger hint of bay leaves in one, I could not really differentiate the two significantly. In saying that, the stew with smaller chunks of beef had more melt in your mouth fat-juicy bits whilst the larger chunks were much leaner.
Besides the beef, there was also a serve of smokey bacon and bratwurst served with apple sauce and sauerkraut. Needless to say, they were rather tasty morsels of food but it was a tad common considering I had just returned from Berlin haha.
To keep the dinner interesting I also ordered the large serve of Father’s (Vaders) Spare Ribs with a side of slaw and frites.
The spare ribs at Moeders was clearly not what I expected. When a restaurant puts spare ribs on their menu, I automatically process a meal that is smokey, and charred with sweet barbecue coated flesh that simply falls of the bone. At Moeders, the ribs were coated in generous amounts of hearty brown sauce that was not smokey at all, and the meat was still a little tough but not too tough giving the spare ribs some bite. While it was nowhere near the best rib I have ever had, it still was a decent one.
Moeders introduced me to world of Dutch cuisine and it was a very pleasant first attempt. With the drizzly weather coming in at full throttle, I can imagine Moeders being incredibly popular with their hearty meals. The flavours of the main dishes were slightly monotonous but there was always something to elevate the enjoyment. The Rijstaffel for example always had an element beyond salty like the sour sauerkraut or the sweet and fruity relish. Do note that the food we ordered should have only fed three. But considering how stuffed we were at the end of the meal, I believe it could have easily feed one more!