Dining Review · Melbourne · Modern Australian · Top pick

Nieuw Amsterdam

There’s a hot new kid on the block and his name is ‘Nieuw Amsterdam‘. That’s right, he’s so cool that he ain’t just ‘new’, but ‘nieuw’ yo.

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After a holiday, there is always that dreaded but necessary need to adjust back to the routines of life. As you can probably relate, the first day back to work is usually the worst.

In that 8 hours, you have to:

  • fight travel fatigue (or sometimes, jetlag)
  • face the mount of emails and work
  • readjust your brain cells from planning daytrips and navigating around foreign streets back to old work routines
  • remain confined in the four walls of your office space while reminiscing your traipses into the unknown just awhile back

Oh, what a struggle to get through that day!

But after 2 days, it usually gets better (yes, it really does)…

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.‘ – Philippians 4:11

I guess it’s just a matter of not moping about the past holiday too much, be thankful to God for a job provided to recoup from the holiday spending, and be happy to have your own home to come back to everyday instead of living like a vagabond for the past few weeks. And of course, be glad to return to your loved ones that have been missing in your life while you were on the run.

In short, be thankful that you have arrived safely home and be content with what you have!

Okay, so what does Nieuw Amsterstam have got to do with all these adjusting-back-after-a-holiday business? Well I’m getting to that now!

So with catching up with the daily routine, that includes meeting up with friends on my agenda. So yup, that’s how Ms YY, Ms TY and I wound up at Nieuw Amsterdam 1 drizzly winter night, a couple of weeks after I got back…

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This place has been on my radar for awhile, thanks to many raving online reviews and it being consistently on the top 10 Urbanspoon list. The menu also made me quite curious, as they brand themselves as a modern New York eatery. So here we are to see what’s their take on modern American cuisine!

Loving their rustic cutlery layout!
Loving their rustic cutlery layout!

We haven’t met up for 2 months already and perhaps, in our excitement of catching up again over good food, we may have over-ordered… oops!

BBQ scallops, mango gazpacho, avocado, chilli
BBQ scallops

Our first starter was good! The scallops were plump and juicy and there was a nice sour tang from the mango-flavoured sauce and fresh slivers of cucumber. The droplets of avocado gave a creaminess with the subtle spicy hit of chilli. I did find it a little strange having the fried shallots (Western-Asian fusion alert!) but I guess it added the crunch factor.

Chicken waffles, pate, terrine, crispy chicken skin, orange caramel
Chicken waffles

This dish is the hit dish that everyone is raving about and I can see why. I guess this dish encapsulates what Nieuw Amsterdam is all about – it is creative, refined while capturing the flavours of the American diner cuisine at the same time.

The chicken just melted in our mouths and there was still the crunchiness of the waffle and chicken skin. A classic dish that you have to try if you go to Nieuw Amsterdam. However, if you’re not a fan of pate, like Ms YY, you may just have to pass it on to your other dining companions!

And then our mains arrived!

Like what I said, we might have got abit excited ordering...
Like what I said, we might have got abit excited in our ordering…

Let’s go into them one by one shall we?

New York Clam Chowder
New York Clam Chowder

This is another classic Nieuw Amsterdam dish that has got people talking. The chowder was a lovely mixture of saltiness from the bacon and seafood, and sweetness from the vegetables, without it being overly creamy.

Possibly the only odd thing about this dish was the stalk of spring onion thrown on top – we didn’t quite know what to do with it and I don’t know about you, but leaving the root on seems a little off-putting! Presentation-aside, the flavours were spot-on and it was a good portion.

Southern style pork belly chops
Southern style pork belly chops

Everyone, look at the glistening glory of the pork crackle. Yes, that was one mighty fine dish. The pork was juicy and we couldn’t get enough of the crackle! The portion is also deceivingly small, be warned!

Brussel sprouts & bacon
Brussel sprouts & bacon

We added this on to relieve our guilt of having some vegetables. Now, the concept of this dish sounds fantastic – deep fried brussel sprouts with chopped chives and bacon bits. However, the letdown was the amount of salt on this dish – it was as if someone accidentally tipped the whole bottle of salt over the dish 😦 And it didn’t help that the bacon added to the salt quota!

Because of the extreme saltiness, we couldn’t finish the dish, unfortunately. Otherwise, it would have been a rockin’ good dish as the sprouts had a nice texture – airy, light and crunchy at the same time.

Dutch potato fries with mayo
Dutch potato fries with mayo

I’ll let you onto a little secret – Ms YY and I both have a weakness for fried potatoes. Which was why we couldn’t resist adding on this side. It was well worth the extra calories though for us potato-lovers – fluffy on the inside, crunchy on the outside. There was a nice touch of saltiness but at that time, the saltiness of brussel sprouts got to us and that kind of diminished our appreciation of the potatoes.

Even though we were stuffed, I heard some good things about their desserts so I asked if we could just try one. Being good sports, Ms TY and Ms YY agreed- yay!

Peanut Butter Waffle with Raspberry Sorbet
Peanut Butter Waffle with Raspberry Sorbet

Ever since I got back from Europe, I started to have this obsession with raspberries. With it being the season for raspberries over there, I just couldn’t get over how cheap they were in Europe and how lovely they tasted in gelato. So the moment I spotted ‘raspberry sorbet’ on the dessert menu, I was sold.

And guess what? That was the BEST PART of the dessert. That sorbet immediately brought me back to the gelato days in Europe where it tasted just as good. It also offered such a refreshing cut to the rich chocolate and peanut butter that we couldn’t get enough of it! My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough sorbet to go around the 3 of us… oh for another scoop of that sorbet!

So that was our night at the new kid on the block and hopefully, it will maintain its standard of its cool factor. In all, we enjoyed our meal and caught up for over 2hours without being rushed by the service staff (although that being a weekday evening, things might be different on a weekend). Even when we did go a little crazy with our ordering, the final cost was still $40 per person so you can actually go a little lower than that.

So with exciting food, affordable prices, good service, Nieuw Amsterdam has ticked all my boxes to make it a Top Pick!

Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

And yup, it’s good to get back into the routine of life, knowing that there are still some old friends out there who care about you and want to know the going-ons in your life, which makes the transition back into the real world a little more bearable. And that gives us a little something to look forward to during the work week, doesn’t it? 😉

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