Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Condensed Amsterdam #2 - Café Hoppe
Hajenius to Hoppe
We're on our way to the best tailors in Amsterdam, but it's quite a walk from Hajenius (not really). Let's stop for a refresher at the oldest pub in the city, Café Hoppe. Reputedly the oldest pub anyway. Let the locals argue that one out.
You will find it on Spuistraat.
You can call in at nearby The English Hatter on your way to the pub from Hajenius, if my sense of orientation is not betraying me. The English Hatter is a traditional gentlemen's outfitters with a British bias. I'm sure you'll find something in there.
Beer and Ossenwurst
Café Hoppe is not short on old-world ambience. Nice touch with the leaves covering the floor to soak up beer spillages and whatnot. The pub dates at 1670. There is a bigger (possibly newer) bit to the pub and a smaller (possibly older) bit. You enter the smaller bit through a door draped with heavy leather curtains. You may find it hard not to coo with delight when you enter. Resist. The locals sipping jenever at the bar might think you're peculiar.
And if you fancy a jenever yourself —a Dutch gin, and where we get our name for gin from (I think)— why not the Notaris Moutwijnjenever X.O., from Herman Jansen, fine Dutch sipping gin aged for 10 years in oak barrels.
I stuck to a beer and a plate of traditional Amsterdam ossenwurst at Hoppe. Ossenwurst is a raw beef sausage served with pickles and mustard. The sort of pub snack that might tickle the palate of Fergus Henderson, the nose to tail eating advocate. I spoke to the locals at the bar about trends in food and whether traditional Dutch food was holding its own against the multitudinous ethnic restaurants in the city. Was it just something served for tourists seeking out a bit of authenticity? Apparently not. Classic Dutch comfort food like ossenwurst and bitterballen is as popular as ever.