Foodhallen Amsterdam: What to Eat at 9 New Food Stalls
I can’t pretend I’m the first blogger to write about all the recent new stalls at de Foodhallen in Amsterdam West – a dozen of us were invited to eat our way through them, and many of my co-bloggers have been a lot quicker off the mark than I have. But I was waiting to be able to include a video from Amsterdam Calling – we were there together at de Foodhallen, and it gives you a much better idea of the atmosphere than I can give you in words. So without further ado, here we are stuffing our faces on camera…
I think you can tell we had a good time. But for more details on the food and the stalls selling them, look no further.
From Tempura to Tacos: Where to Eat at de Foodhallen Amsterdam
Flammkuchen are traditionally German, with toppings like cheese and sausage, but these seemed to be a modern take on the idea. We tried two versions while we were at it: the first involved beef carpaccio with truffle mayo, pine nuts and rocket; the second roasted vegetables and gruyere cheese. They were both nutty from the wafer-thin dough base and full of flavour from the truffle and cheese respectively. But I’d be interested to know if Gunther serves a more traditional German version, too…
Probably best described as “vegetarian food made fancy”, we tried two tasty morsels from Padron (presumably named after those moreish fried green peppers). The first was a tempura of Brussels sprouts, beetroot sticks and artichoke, served with tarragon mayo – crispy and creamy at the same time. The second was a tartar of smoked beetroot, red pepper and tomato with a quail’s egg – the smokiness of the beet gave it a savoury quality that made up for the lack of beef. If I go back, however, I’ll be trying their signature Padron peppers…
Ever in search of the perfect taco, I was excited to try Taqueria Lima West’s tortilla offerings… First up was a fried chicken taco with chipotle cream and avocado (I think) in a soft corn tortilla – while it was good, I felt it needed slightly more lime and slightly less salt. Next came a sort of pulled beef stew with chipotle, pickled cucumber and lime cream cheese in a soft corn tortilla – absolutely delicious! When (not if) I go back, however, I’ll be trying a third taco that the owner described to us in mouth-watering detail: cooked on a skewer, it involved smoky pork and pineapple. I cannot wait.
As owner Hilary Metcalfe Ramirez says, Fento is about making the healthy choice the easy and delicious one. Sounds good to me! With an all-vege menu, we tried a salad that was essentially like an autumn coleslaw with a miso dressing – simple but good. Unfortunately I didn’t try the “Tostada XL” because it was topped with a LOT of mushrooms (the devil’s fungus!), but it looked great and also involved black beans, feta and more – plus the people in my group seemed to like it! Finally, we topped off with a spoonful of what looked like ganache made with raw cacao, coconut, maple syrup and sea salt. With the texture of peanut butter, it was saltier and less sweet than I anticipated – possibly not one for the chocoholics, but suitable for those looking for a semi-sweet but virtuous treat.
I expect you can guess what these guys make: we tried about six different varieties of dumplings, but they also sold pork buns and some other Asian snacks as well. Dim Sum Thing’s ha kau and siu mai were pretty classic and nothing unexpected, but well made. I was less keen on their fried dumplings, which were overly bready and dry. The “spicy” dipping sauce could’ve done with a lot more chilli (there were two other non-spicy dipping sauces, so plenty for those without a head for heat).
Renato’s has been on my to-eat list for over a year now – they already have a pizzeria and osteria in de Pijp. But serving up antipasti, pizzette and dessert at a stall in de Foodhallen in Amsterdam West is a new string to their bow. On our antipasti board were burrata, truffle pecorino, tomato and basil bruschetta, prosciutto, and truffle ham with parmesan. There seemed to be truffle in most things – we weren’t complaining! The pizzette had a marvellously crispy base (as you’d expect from a pizzeria) and was topped with prosciutto, rocket and parmesan – for the chilli addicts like myself, you could also pep up your pizzette with chilli oil. Finally, a sgroppino made the classic way with vodka, lemon sorbet and prosecco was very much my kind of dessert!
Think doner kebabs or falafel are just post-drinking food? Think again. Pita’s versions are tastier and healthier cousins to their club-grub counterparts, but no less spot-hitting. I tried a small version of the vegetarian falafel pita, which comes (confusingly) not in a pita but in a sesame bun with garlic dressing, a spicy harissa-like sauce, salad, and of course the fried little nuggets of falafel goodness – apparently made with white beans rather than chickpeas (although I couldn’t tell the difference). I’ve heard the chicken version is tasty too.
I couldn’t escape the feeling that Yoghurt Barn sounds like an American chain restaurant (possibly I’m confusing it with Pottery Barn?!) but I do like yoghurt with stuff on top (nuts, fuit and the like) so it seemed worth a try despite my misgivings about the name. They serve two types of natural yoghurt – one “healthy” version with less fat, and one creamier version with more fat. Clearly, I went for the latter. I chose mine with figs, bananas and toasted almonds – it was fine but nothing I couldn’t make at home for breakfast (and frequently do). Still, if you’re on holiday in Amsterdam and are craving something different from the hotel breakfast, Yoghurt Barn could hit the spot. I also picked up a brownie to take home for that mid-afternoon sugar dip; it was intensely gooey – the perfect chocolatey texture. (And let’s face it, brownies – while not difficult to make – are more of a pain than yoghurt, especially if you don’t want to end up eating 20 of them.)
Looking at Monsieur Baba’s website, it seems like it’s supposed to be an Arabic/French theme, but I found the balance of flavours to be too confusing for my palate. Interested to hear what others think, but this was definitely not my favourite. A poppadum topped with couscous, cauliflower, coriander and orange with a goat’s cheese cream on top had too many competing flavours and yet was weirdly bland at the same time. The chicken, lemon and fennel sandwich was garnished with so much dill that all I tasted was the dill and none of the rest – a shame. Finally, mini-ice creams turned out not to be ice cream! Instead, they were cone-shaped wafers with a super-sweet orange flavoured confectioner’s cream. Not my taste. But eight out of nine ain’t bad!
Author’s note: This article was originally published on 24 October 2016, and was updated on 26 January 2017 to include a further two new food stands.