Nieuw Amsterdam Dude Food With Finesse

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Nieuw Amsterdam is one of the outstanding recent additions to the Melbourne food scene as a bar and grill with finesse. Knowing it was a new restaurant with rave reviews I journeyed to Hardware St to check out Nieuw Amsterdam after work. I didn't associate the name with a dude food haven, but that's essentially what it is. Check out our Best Steak and Meat Restaurants in Melbourne.

Yes we've been riding a dude food wave but the wave is growing. And let's face it, isn't dude food en vogue always? Looking at my waistline it's hard to argue against that. Nieuw Amsterdam could be described as "dude food when you get the dude to wear a designer shirt".

Nieuw Amsterdam is one of those places where you feel a foodie connection instantly. You are struck by the elegance of the joint - a fair renovation has taken place from the ex Irish pub. The wooden floors and large windows are to be cherished. So is the staircase into the funky little New York style bar.

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Nieuw Amsterdam is in fact a breath of fresh air in a sea of new openings. There's obvious passion here from the staff as they engage you, and is also reflected in the menu. The head chef Nick Stanton, ex Gordon Ramsey, has much kudos and is a star of the Melbourne scene. His flair is exciting, and the Nieuw Amsterdam kitchen is not about "same old same old", but fresh creativity and evolvement.

Before having my dude food fix I reclined at the bar and ordered a Negroni with clover, something refreshing before the meat onslaught. Apperol is not as bitter as Campari. With clover a feature, and the advent of hand cut ice, I was in love already. Nieuw Amsterdam is a serious bar with serious bartenders.

One also notices quality glassware. 

Then it was on to a Baird beer, in fact Teikoku IPA, which turned out to be perfect with pork hock.

 I could have moved to a table to dine, but enjoyed taking my position at the bar and talking with punters around me...

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Nieuw Amsterdam impresses with exposed brick and deep tones of wood features. And the natural light that adorns during the day, in my case early evening, is sublime. When night falls there's a different alluring ambience.

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Nieuw Amsterdam was calling my name when it came to the menu. Kingfish ceviche? Chicken waffles? Beef brisket?

A reliable informant told me the Black Kingfish Ceviche featuring Daikon, dashi dressing, crunchy quinoa, finger limes was a "must have". Here we see Nick Stanton ooze technique from the "get go". See below the delicate presentation, looking as if every molecule was thought out, and the dish presented like a skillful artist.

Imbibing the ceviche I was transfixed by the balance and combination of flavours. The quinoa revolution was well represented, with piquant flavours of the dressing and lime to enhance the brilliance of the fish. In fact toasted quinoa - must remember that one. Salmon roe was a great accompaniment, and the effort put into the celery - to sauce it with the lime juice reduction was about going the extra mile.

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Nieuw Amsterdam is an impressive dining space, and I appreciate the classical intricacies in the fit out.

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Nieuw Amsterdam then impressed with Pork Trotter and Ham Hock Nuggets with burnt onion jam ... Nuggets? How can this be a foodie experience? Well it certainly was. Not the dry flavourless artificial things posing as nuggets we often see. Fine dining nuggets. Unexpected finesse with perfectly cooked pork hock braised and cured that easily pulled apart! Kept together by a tasty crumbed casing and the surprise of the onion inside the nugget. Enjoyable was the compressed apple slices and small onion flowers on top. So good and expertly presented.

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Still going on the IPA as I walked the dude food journey... Ostensibly there are 41 beers on the beer list.

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Now to choose a main - not an easy task when Spiced Lamb Leg, Smokey Beef Brisket, Jerk Chicken and Southern Style Pork Belly Chops beckon...

Not being able to go past the Southern Style Pork Belly Chops with Sauerkraut, apple sauce and crackle, I ordered a side of creamy mash (something I recommend to all). Everything you hope for is in the pork chops - the crackle, the juicy pork, and the apple sauce. I was pleased with the generosity of the crackle, one for the punters.

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Nieuw Amsterdam also boasts an extensive wine list... 

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The Creamy mash and gravy was a highly rated dish for something seemingly simple. Now I want all my mashes to be super creamy.

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Dessert maintains the high standard with this Nieuw Amsterdam Chocolate Bar with banana and tonka bean ice cream. Again, a plethora of technique, and combination of flavours impressed. The affordability of these dishes is also to be mentioned.

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Nieuw Amsterdam is making serious noises in the foodie scene and has been the topic of conversation at foodie gatherings. I may have seemed to be writing this review in superlative overdrive but I believe its warranted. Don't forget your designer shirt!

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