Since the end of Vegetarian January, I’ve been promising a guide to the best vegetarian restaurants in Amsterdam. And yet my discoveries of yet more vege places I’ve not yet tried just keep coming thick and fast. I recently tried two more – Café de Ceuvel and Marits Eetkamer – and still feel I need to at least cover off De Culinaire Werkplaats before I can give a truly well-rounded opinion. So, for now, I bring you a couple more vege-reviews to add to the collection…
Housed in what is, I assume, actually Marit’s dining room (you can even see her bedroom on the mezzanine level upstairs), the restaurant is only open three evenings a week. Which is understandable, when you imagine serving 30-40 people out of your own living room. Marit offers a fixed three-, four- or five-course menu using only vegetarian produce that she sources as locally as possible. But don’t be concerned that it’s going to be too eco-warrior or health-conscious: she serves a nice wine list, as well as plenty of local beers and spirits. Plus, rather curiously, there are a couple of animal skulls and taxidermy-stuffed birds decorating the turquoise interior. Mixed messages?!
The evening we visited, I started with a bulgur salad stuffed with hearty cavolo nero and served with perfectly cooked and dressed beetroot, pomegranate seeds and a curried, creamy sauce. It tasted delicious, as did the Honey Badger’s wintry soup with a whole boiled egg nestled inside its comforting root-veg purée.
The main was a kind of vegetarian cassoulet, which was lighter and more spring-like than its meaty big brother, but not in a bad way. The brown beans were full of flavour, which was brought out by the steamed fennel and lightly pickled red onion. Other vegetables were also nicely cooked: from the lightly roasted cauliflower and tomato to the bright Romanesco and buttery carrots. The cassoulet was served with rice, which might seem redundant paired with a one-pot bean dish but actually hit a spot I didn’t know I had. It was fragrant with pandan, but also spiked with (possibly wild?) garlic and lots of parsley.
Dessert – which I can usually take or leave – was also a triumph.
Cafe de Ceuvel
Meanwhile in Amsterdam Noord, Cafe de Ceuvel looks like it’s been put together from driftwood and tarpaulin but is, in fact, an actual building. The day I visited it was the middle of winter and there was a pub quiz going on, which meant we got relegated to a chilly table round the side. But I imagine de Ceuvel is dreamy in summer: a rustic getaway from central Amsterdam, just a ferry hop and a short bike ride away.
My friend ordered the veggie burger (I couldn’t stomach another one after Vegetarian January) while I went for the pie. It’s hard to describe exactly what was in said pie: I tasted parsnip, carrots, other root veg, and something spicy – but not in a chilli sense, more in a horseradish kinda way. Mysterious but good. The pastry was flaky not soggy – Mary Berry would be proud. It cost €16.50, which seemed fairly pricy for a slice of vegetable pie and some barely dressed lettuce leaves, but it did at least fill me up for several hours afterwards.
I expect I’ll find my way back to Café de Ceuvel eventually – but most likely not until summer, when I can take advantage of the urban-beach/hippie-commune vibe and enjoy a white beer in the sun…