The dinner I had at De Jonge Dikkert in Amstelveen (south of Amsterdam proper) rates as one of the most stereotypical meals I’ve had, and also one of the more alarming meals I’ve had as well. Stereotypical because De Jonge Dikkert is located inside a windmill – could you get more Dutch? Alarming because K had a bad reaction to some of Amsterdam’s more ‘interesting’ offerings which we had sampled earlier that afternoon, and almost passed out at the table halfway through the meal. That however is a story for another day!
I first learnt about De Jonge Dikkert after looking up “National Restaurant Week” for the Netherlands, which happily coincided with the few days that we stayed in Amsterdam. During National Restaurant Week, a number of restaurants around the country offer special discounted set menus ($29.50 Euro for three courses) for new diners, offering a more affordable dining option to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to try a fancier place. It’s not unlike Australia’s Good Food Month in that regard.
There were a number of restaurants closer to the centre of Amsterdam offering National Restaurant Week menus, but I went past all of them and settled on De Jonge Dikkert. Its location inside a windmill definitely influenced my choice, but the main drawcard was their claim of using primarily local, seasonal ingredients. I wanted a nice meal using Dutch ingredients, not a fancy pan-Asian fusion meal using ingredients from all over the world.
My cousin Charlene and her boyfriend George were in Amsterdam on the night that I booked the dinner, and so they joined us for one fancy meal out. The four of us stuck out like sore thumbs in the dining room amongst the other diners – we were a bit under-dressed in our travel-ready clothes, and were very clearly the only foreign tourists in the room as everyone else was very decidedly Dutch. Nevertheless, the wait staff were very accommodating and all spoke perfect English.
Given that the menu for three courses was only $29.50, I didn’t expect any special starters or palate cleansers – so imagine my surprise when this cute little amuse bouche came out for our enjoyment. I’m going to be perfectly honestly – I can barely remember the key ingredients and flavours of this amuse bouche as it wasn’t long after this that K had his ‘episode’ and everything was a bit of a blur.
This was the culprit for K’s episode – the glass of white wine. Combined with what he had had earlier, it resulted in a near fainting episode at the table. Full credit to the wait staff who were very supportive and helped us through what was quite an alarming situation.
Charlene had the Scallops with Tagliatelle, Creme of Mushroom and Summer Truffle as an entree, a special dish not part of the usual set menu that requires an additional small supplement fee. It’s well worth it though, with plump fresh scallops and a gorgeous little curl of home-made tagliatelle.
K had the Tarte Tatin of Red Onion, also a special entree requiring a supplement. This was well worth the additional cost – the red onion had been baked to soft caramelised perfection, and the pastry was lovely and crisp. The little dab of duck liver on the side was the perfect accompaniment, providing a little bit of savoury sensation to go with the sweet tarte.
The standard entree (no supplement charge) was the Ceviche of Seabass served with fresh spheres of watermelon and tomato. I loved the freshness and simplicity of this dish – while there was nothing fancy about it, the use of fresh local ingredients really worked well. The tiny dots of avocado puree and garlic helped to add some additional bursts of flavour where it was required.
Another little freebie came out after entrees – a clean and crisp palate cleanser shot of tomato and cucumber.
There were two choices for mains, and I chose the Plaice filet with Opperdoezer potato and watercress buttersauce. I’d never heard of an Opperdoezer potato before, and later Googling informed me that it was a Dutch potato, only available in summer and autumn and generally sold at auction. Talk about local ingredients! It made for a fantastic roast potato, with a crisp skin. The fish was done beautifully as well with nice crispy grilled skin on the outside and a firm and tender flesh.
K’s main of the BBQ roasted beef was a real winner – it tasted like it had been done the way beef should be cooked – on a high heat for a short amount of time. The strong seasoned and flavoured crust on the meat was beautiful with the pink tender medium steak. I really liked the sweet potato gratin served with the beef as well, providing a nice sweet side that went well with the red wine jus.
Another additional mini-course between main and dessert was the house-made chocolate-covered speculoos ice-cream. I loved this – almost more than the actual dessert. You really can’t go past the combination of dark chocolate and cinnamon-spiced speculoos biscuit.
The dessert of Blackberries with airy chocolate was a nice blend of fresh plump blackberry, berry gelato, and a chocolate and caramel bar. There was almost a bit too much happening here, especially with the additional salted peanut crumble – but individually, all the elements were really delicious.
I loved our dinner at De Jonge Dikkert. National Restaurant Week is a fantastic initiative for the Netherlands, and a great way of making sure that unique restaurants like this become accessible to tourists like us who wouldn’t normally travel out of our way to Amstelveen for a meal. While it’s a little bit out of the way for the average tourist, it’s really only a twenty minute drive from central Amsterdam…and quite cheap via Uber. I’d highly recommend De Jonge Dikkert for any visitors to Amsterdam who would like the novelty of eating a great meal in a windmill from the 1600s.
De Jonge Dikkert is located at Amsterdamseweg 104a, 1182 HG Amstelveen, Netherlands.