Literally meaning: the ostrich. Why? Because that’s their house speciality.
’twas a blizzard-ly, blustery winter night when we chanced upon De Struisvogel, buried under the first snow of the year. (Laura: our trip there was totally premeditated; the restaurant is 3 minutes away from our house and has always looked appealing but Callum wanted to paint a Dickensian picture. Sorry Callum, back to your story…)
Despite freezing canals and biting winds, the call of The Ostrich is such that you can’t ignore the lure of shoulder-to-shoulder dining in a warm and bustling atmosphere.
The chthonic staff welcome us with a marriage proposal-inducing smile and ask if we have a reservation. We already knew De Struisvogel is tiny place, 34 is the maximum number of diners, but thought the arctic conditions would be enough to ensure it was quiet on a Friday night. We were incorrect. Luckily our lack of forward planning didn’t thwart our hopes and we were seated right away at the last empty table.
Menus and the first round of drinks were provided promptly and with more genuine smiles. Being the height of winter (we may have already mentioned this…) we both opt for the roasted pumpkin soup to start and what a good choice it was. Complimented by the oven-warmed, salt-topped bread and fancy-pants butter it was an excellent first course (despite the slightly odd garnish of powerful spring onions) that kick-started our appetites and kept us eagerly awaiting the main course.
Callum: I had the ostrich steak*; well, you would if they’d been bold enough to name their restaurant after it, wouldn’t you? In short, hell yes. Succulent, medium-rare and of the finest quality (probably, it’s not like I have any basis for comparison). I wonder if an ostrich is a difficult thing to rear, for there seems no other worthy explanation for its exclusion from our normal diets.
Laura: I plumped for the blanquette of cod in a mushroom and mustard creamy sauce. Ooh it were right good. I’ll admit I was massively swayed by the mention of ‘roast potatoes’ on the menu and was desperately hoping for a Dutch restaurant to have cottoned onto the exquisite art of British roasties but, alas, no. They were potato wedges but still good; massive yet not undercooked. My fish was soft and moist and I had such an array of vegetables on my plate I couldn’t get through them all.
Taking them up on their offer of 3 courses for €23.50, we chose a white chocolate mousse, partnered with berries and mint, and apple crumble with vanilla ice cream.
Callum: personally I think I won this round, but I’m not a huge proponent of the fruit-for-pudding fad, so I may or may not be showing a hint of bias. Regardless, the white chocolate mousse was excellent and I would order it again without hesitation.
Laura: Fad? Hmmm, I think I’ll side-step Callum’s blatantly inflammatory comments and let you know how my dessert was. In a word: warmstatisfyingyummygoodness. (That’s a word, right?) I was pretty full by this point and was quite pleased when the crumble arrived in a sweet little ramekin that wasn’t more than I could handle. It was definitely a Dutch crumble; lots of cinnamon and spices but not overpowering at all.
And now it’s time for our final thoughts…
For the price, we know nowhere else that offers three courses of food this quality. (Sorry De Zagerij – review to follow soon.) A slight negative was the beer was relatively expensive, but when you’re getting 3 courses for a bargain, you don’t feel cheated. The waiting staff were pretty busy but also very nice; our beers were replaced more swiftly than the government may recommend in one sitting.
This place is ranked at #50 out of 1336 Amsterdam restaurants on TripAdvisor so it’s not just us who feel the definite need to recommend it.
*If you want to know what other meat it’s similar to, then the answer would be “cheef”. It’s a bit like beef but also has an element of chicken about it, hence – cheef.