A dimly lit, New York style venue, Nieuw Amsterdam is home to some pretty tasty American food and an even more extensive drinks menu.
Set within a converted double storey 1880s red brick building and down the quieter end of Hardware Street in Melbourne, sits Nieuw Amsterdam (click here).
Spread over two levels in a converted hardware factory, Nieuw Amsterdam’s upstairs offers a classic New York/French bistro style restaurant with long leather booths, dark timber floorboards, a fully loaded wooden and marble bar, large windows and exposed red and white brick façade. While downstairs is your classic dimly lit basement; dive bar, with loud music, intimate corner booths and that’s open until early morning.
Naturally the first thing you do when you go to a whiskey bar is order a stiff drink (and boy were they stiff), we had a quick glance at the menu ordered a ‘Poor Tom Old Fashioned’ and a ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Rum’*. Now I’m kind of a lightweight when it comes to drinking and after a few sips of both cocktails I was a little tipsy. Luckily I was with a more ‘seasoned’ drinker and after noticing the early warnings of a little giggle and chuckle in my voice he quite happily finished my drinks for me.
*Note, The drinks menu is vast and separated into categories such as “stiff” and “spritz’d”. I foolishly was too eager for a drink, opened to the middle of the menu and picked out CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RUM and not realizing that this was a stiff drink! However, I did really enjoy the taste of the cocktails once the chunks of ice had melted & diluted them.
What we ate:
WAFFLED MAC & CHEESE – bacon jam, cheese wiz
PORK TROTTER AND HAM HOCK NUGGETS – burnt onion jam, sour apple
PORK & PARMESAN MEATBALLS – napoli, basil, sage
RANGERS VALLEY BEEF BRISKET – onion, mushroom, blue cheese, red wine jus
ROAST BROCCOLI – garlic, chilli
NY CHEESECAKE – vanilla ice cream, honeycomb, laphraoig marmalade
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RUM – Goslings Black Seal Rum, spice syrup, angostura bitters, topped with a spicy ginger foam
POOR TOM OLD FASHIONED – Poor Tom Gin, french earl grey syrup, bitters, strawberry, Vietnamese mint
NY SOUR – sour rye whiskey, cognac, lemon, egg white, absinthe rinse
To start we had the PORK TROTTER AND HAM HOCK NUGGETS, these little breaded nuggets of soft tender chunks of pork and ham were seasoned perfectly, had a nice touch of sour apple placed on top to cut through the pork and were completely moreish. On the other side of the spectrum was the WAFFLED MAC & CHEESE, If there is mac and cheese on the menu, it is a must for me to order, so with the mac waffle I was expecting something pretty tasty. The waffled macaroni was quite bland and the bacon jam was a little overpowering, with a coffee taste through it and the cheese fizz had a sour cream tang and consistency. I felt like the concept was good, but it wasn’t pulled off.
My favourite of the night was the BRISKET, it kept it’s shape perfectly while being soft and tender and without being too fatty, it was paired perfectly with the button mushrooms, blue cheese and red wine jus; and to top it all off the roast potatoes it came with were crispy on the outside while being light and fluffy.
The MEATBALLS were also really good, they were firm but not dry and were complimented by a rich tomato and basil sauce with pappardelle.
I also wanted to make a special mention to the cheesecake. This heavenly dish comes deconstructed and is faultlessly balanced. The cheesecake itself is decadent and rich (yet fluffy) and comes with the added bonus of sweet honeycomb that adds crunch to the dish, along with a laphraoig orange marmalade that gives the sweet dish the perfect amount of ‘smokeyness’. A perfect 10/10 for me.
Nieuw Amsterdam not only offers a great after hours eatery and bar, but it also is home to some great American inspired meals with a little modern refinement that goes a long way.
106–112 Hardware Street
(03) 9602 2111