At Haesje Claes, there were queues and lots of people packed into the entrance. Even though we had made a reservation, we still had to wait a while. But once seated, we could not fault the service, food or staff. Haesje Claes was a fabulous restaurant to sample traditional Dutch food.
The three course menu made sure that we got to try a good variety of dishes. To start with, a huge chunk of bread was given to us. It looked like a quarter of a loaf. This brown seeded bread was fresh and it was lovely with a good helping of the butter.
The pea soup had lots of pieces of sausage and bacon. The smokiness of the meat gave a lot of flavour to the soup. It was a really nice soup with a thick consistency. An interesting addition was the rye bread square that came on the side. It was topped with bacon, but the combination was an acquired taste.
The traditional Stamppotten was something that still had to be tried on this adventure in Amsterdam. Haesje Claes did a vegetarian version which was made from mashed potatoes with vegetables. We had expected the vegetables to be all mashed and mixed with the potatoes. This was not the case. The broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, green beans topped the mashed potato. The vegetables were cooked with a slight crunch. The mashed potato was dense and creamy. It was very moreish and it was instantly a hit.
The potato was so tasty that we thought some sort of flavouring must have been added. The waiter told us that nothing had been added and that ” the taste is of the pure potato as it is just a speciality of the Dutch potato”.
The poached fillet of salmon with Bearnaise sauce again was of a good portion size. The sauce had herbs going through it and there was also some carrots and leaks in the sauce. It was really tasty and fresh.
Dessert completed the meal and it was apple pie with cream. The pastry of the pie was like a soft buttery biscuit. The filling was apple chunks and sultanas. Freshly whipped cream, apple slices and a sauce together with the pie was delicious. A small almondy biscuit and cream topped the apple pie.
Tea and coffee ended our perfect meal. The coffee was small and bitter. The tea was refreshing. Both of the hot drinks came with a chocolate on the side.
Haesje Claes seats just under 300 people. There are lots of alcoves and an upstairs area too. The interior was made of wood panels and tiles against brick walls. Quirky ornaments, knick knacks and rows of vases gave an interesting decor.
The staff were great and did not rush us even though the restaurant was so busy. Haesje Claes was just the type of restaurant that we were hoping for. It was not at all pretentious. The staff made sure we enjoyed our dinner even though they were busy. The staff did look tired by the end of the night though but they still managed to prepare the tables for the following day.
Haesje Claes was a popular restaurant and we were really glad that we had got the chance to dine there. A highly recommended restaurant for super Dutch cuisine.
Haesje Claes, Spuistraat 273-275, 1012 VR AmsterdamRating: