Review: De Pannenkoekenboot, Amsterdam

I had quite a stereotypically Dutch experience with our meal at De Jonge Dikkert – locally sourced ingredients served to you in a windmill seems pretty Dutch right? The only stereotypes missing were tulips on the table and waiters wearing clogs.

The day after our meal at De Jonge Dikkert, I had what my Dutch friend Emma claims to be another unmissable Dutch experience – Dutch pancakes, or Pannenkoeken. She came to see me in Amsterdam and took K and I out for a lunch buffet on De Pannenkoekenboot, a boat that cruises around Amsterdam Harbour while guests enjoy 75 minutes of unlimited pancakes and pancake toppings. How many pancakes do you think I managed to eat?

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De Pannenkoekenboot sails from the north of Amsterdam, so if you are staying in the main part of Amsterdam like all the other tourists, you will need to catch a ferry across from the back of Amsterdam Centraal station to NDSM-Werf. It’s a very quick ferry ride – and free! There are other buses (ticket required) that take you close to the departure point, but the ferry is much more convenient.

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I suggest booking your tickets online for a small discount, costing only $17.50 Euro per person for the unlimited pancakes. Three pancakes are on offer – a ‘spek’ (bacon), ‘appel’ (apple) and ‘naturel’ (plain). It’s definitely very different from the pancakes that I’ve made in the past – rather than being small sweet fluffy circles, these Dutch pancakes are very large and thin, like a French crepe.

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Once you choose which pancake you want, it’s time to add the toppings! There’s a range of toppings on offer – including nearly 20 sweet toppings like mini marshmallows, chocolate flakes, sugar, cinnamon sugar, hazelnut spread, rainbow sprinkles and more.

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If you’re looking for something more savoury, there’s two different types of cheeses (slices of brie and shredded emmental), salami, or ham. There’s also a range of fruits for those looking to eat more fruit, from tinned mixed fruit to peaches, pineapples, apricots, and more.

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If you like a classic pancake, there’s a small range of jams and honeys available as well. Strangely, some boiled eggs too. I suppose they might be for the spek/bacon pancakes, so you can have bacon and egg pancakes?

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Of course, I had to try one of every pancake. In fact, I may have tried two of every pancake, but I didn’t take photographic evidence of all six because the last thing I need is more proof of my gluttony…

First time around, I had the bacon pancake with schenkstroop (is that right Emma?) which is essentially the Dutch version of maple syrup. Simple and delicious – I love how they grill the bacon directly onto the pancake batter rather than simply adding it on top after the pancake has finished cooking.

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For my second plain pancake, I added on layers of brie cheese and additional ham and salami to make another savoury pancake. This was also pretty good, though it would have been better if the brie was a bit runnier. I still think cooking the bacon directly into the pancake batter works better than topping a pancake with cold meats like this.

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One final example of the many pancakes I ate that day – a sweet apple pancake topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, chocolate sprinkles, and mini chocolate candy. Colourful, sweet and fun, just as a treat like pannenkoeken should be. Baking the slices of sweet apple into the pancake batter works just as well as baking the bacon into the pancake as it seems to enhance the flavours.

Overall, I really enjoyed our buffet lunch on De Pannenkoekenboot. I ate too much of course, but that’s what always happens when it’s an open lunch buffet! You can really get your money’s worth ($17.50 per adult), and the bonus is that you get to cruise around the main Amsterdam waterways and see some nice views while you have lunch. Unfortunately the boat is too large to go down any canals, but it’s still a nice way to spend 75 minutes over lunch.

De Pannenkoekenboot Amsterdam is located at Ms. van Riemsdijkweg, 1033 RC Amsterdam.

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