The first time I heard of Nieuw Amsterdam was on Sarah’s food blog. I loved the look of it, so had it in the back of mind as somewhere I wanted to visit on one of my frequent visits to Melbourne. The perfect opportunity finally came up on a visit earlier this year for a dinner out with my girlfriends, sans babies and toddlers. Just six girls, out for dinner!
We all trickled in to dinner slowly – from being ten minutes early, to half an hour late. Ordering a few drinks off the on-request-only mocktail list, at least those of us who were early got to kick back and relax with a beverage in hand while waiting for those who were late. My fauxjito tasted just like the real thing, though it tended towards sourness whereas I prefer a sweetness to my mocktails.
Note for those who choose not to drink alcohol – the wine and cocktail list is pushed quite heavily by the wait staff, so you do have to make a special request for the mocktail list. If you do drink though, it’s hard to go past the multi-page cocktail menu offered by Nieuw Amsterdam!
We decided to order our own mains, rather than trying to split a number of dishes between six people. Splitting a few dishes between two or four people is easy, any more and it just gets too difficult!
Along with my friend Katy, I chose the Smokey Beef Brisket, a delectably tender piece of beef that suffered only from the small serving. Two and a half thin slices of brisket do not a full meal make! Even when padded out with a little fistful of coleslaw (a little dry, could have done with more mayonnaise) and some toasty warm corn bread, you still find yourself wanting a bit more. A few bites of other people’s meals maybe?
The Jerk Chicken was ordered by two people, and came with significantly less sauce than I would have expected. The potato chips were an interesting touch, and I personally enjoyed the sticky rice which reminded me of Chinese-style sticky rice! The chicken was nice and tender, but I think it lacked that massive hit of spicy jerk flavour that additional marinade or sauce on the plate could have provided.
The BBQ Lamb Ribs also made an appearance, and they were just heavenly. Lamb and rosemary is an unbeatable combination, especially when in the form of chargrilled ribs sticky with sweet tangy BBQ sauce. The only downside was that this was a bit of a strange main, with only ribs on the plate. While the brisket had cornbread and coleslaw, and the chicken had sticky rice and chips, this main had only ribs which made it seem somewhat incomplete.
Luckily for those who ordered the ribs, we ordered a number of sides to share which helped to round out their meal. First, a simple side of crunchy fresh Green Beans, made much tastier with ample use of butter and seeds on top.
These Dutch Potato Fries were amazingly good – so crispy that they tasted twice, maybe even thrice fried. These were very very more-ish, and I think I may have eaten half the serve all by myself. I couldn’t help it though, with the chilli mayonnaise, they were simply to die for.
The Cobb Salad was a little bit boring to tell you the truth – there’s not much you can do with iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber even with a good dressing. To be honest, I felt like the salad was a tad overdressed.
Dessert was much more impressive though, and really made the whole meal worthwhile. The six of us shared three desserts – the first of which were the Pumpkin Donuts with Jack Daniels Cream. While the doughnuts were tasty in their own way, the Jack Daniels cream was really the highlight of this dish. Equal parts boozy and creamy, we found ourselves scooping up every last drop of cream so as not to let it go to waste.
The Berry Split was also a big winner at our table – a healthier version of a banana split, it comes with sorbet instead of ice-cream, and berry granita instead of chocolate sauce. Don’t let this nod to less calorific sweets fool you though – this dessert is pure decadence with the perfect blend of fresh tangy and icy granita, smooth white chocolate mousse, and crunchy caramelised biscuit on top.
The Chocolate Delice was too sweet for some, but was perfect for myself, the chocolate fiend. I really liked the presentation of it as well, as something slightly different to the more rectangular chocolate delice slices that you’ll find at a bakery. The ooze of chocolate cream in the centre, with the crisp honeycomb on top, was simply spectacular. I’d order it again.
Nieuw Amsterdam was a bit hit and miss for our group of six, and it may have been a better choice to go with fewer people for easier sharing of dishes. I’d consider coming back with a smaller group, if only for the desserts! The large cocktails menu also make it an ideal post-work drinks destination as well, as they do have a bar area downstairs in the same building.