By Connie van Uffelen & Marjolein van der Veldt
Lees in het NederlandsAfter having met Eva and Mohamad of the Hartige Samaritaan, we just had to try their restaurant. Hidden in the narrow Schoolstraat is the pop-up restaurant where refugees and Dutch people work together and where the profits go to Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland (the Dutch Council for Refugees). The pop-up restaurant will be in business until 23 March.
We had to look for the entrance, but once inside we were warmly welcomed by hosts Deleuvan and Faysal who attentively took our coats. This evening’s 15 year old waiter did not know much about the beers available, so we hoped for the best and chose ‘De Blonde Arabier’ (the blond Arab), this month’s special house beer. We were very lucky as this blond beer with a high yeast content has a refined bitter flavour and fresh aftertaste. Definitely recommended!
The Blonde Arab beer came with its own special label.
Restaurant: Hartige SamaritaanDate: Tuesday, 26 February 2019Time: We dined from 17:30 to 20:30Starters: veal paté and harira (well-filled soup with tomato, carrots, celery and chickpeas).Main course: mezze (a selection of small hot and cold dishes) that included chicken and vegetarian mezze.Dessert: hot brownie with vanilla ice-cream and orange carpaccio
TemperatureHarira (5)Oh dear, tepid soup at 40 degrees. Minus points. Soup should be hot, preferably steaming hot. Unless it’s gazpacho of course.
Veal paté (-) We don’t feel the need to take the temperature of the cold paté. So we’re going to use up this space to say that every guest gets a FREE basket of bread with homemade baba ganoush and humus. A fun fact, today’s ganoush was made by Eva and Mohamad.Mezze (6)The vegetarian aubergine stew barely reaches 48 degrees. Shame. Is the stove turned off too quickly or is the kitchen too cold? In contrast, the chicken stew does well at 55 degrees.Orange carpaccio (-)
The menu says a hot brownie, but that’s not what we get. The brownie may be well cooked through, but, for the expectant critics, it is a minor disappointment.The veal paté was served on a double bed of spinach.
TextureHarira (7.5)De Hartige Samaritaan serves what it says – a well-filled soup with mostly carrots and tomato. We slurp this almost one-pot dinner up with gusto.Veal paté (6)Veal paté should hold no surprises, but we are still a little surprised at feeling like kids with tightly held rucksacks and spreadable sausage sandwiches.Mezze (8)The aubergine stew is wonderfully thick and the mini yellow peppers are filled with a soft, gooey, creamy feta, sunflower seeds, parsley, onion and garlic. There are also two creamy dips: muhammara made of pomegranate, bell peppers and walnut, and esfenaj made of spinach, almonds and walnuts. The rice is well cooked, no sticky grains, and we get a stuffed vine leaf as a gift.Orange carpaccio (9)Beyond expectations, the juicy thin slices of orange with the velvety pieces of date just slide down our throats.Brownie (8)A hard exterior covers a soft interior. Mmmm, we are so happy that there are two pieces on our plate.The well-filled soup with carrots and tomate is great to slurp.
TasteHarira (8)Scoop, swallow, gone. You taste each of the vegetables separately, but the delicious herbs make them one wonderful whole. Veal paté (6.5)Luckily there is salt and pepper on the table as the dish is a little bland. The surprise is the balsamic vinegar lurking at the bottom – we could have used another splash.Mezze (8.5)Can we take the dip maker home? The cream in the mini peppers is a true delight. As are the spinach almond dip and the muhammara with its spicy aftertaste. We indelicately dip our Lebanese bread into these delicacies. And then there’s the herbs in the rice … “We want more!” Orange carpaccio (8.5)Totally blown away. The aftertaste of the orange flower water on our orange slices … yum …!Brownie (8)
It looks so easy to make brownies, but it is an art to use the exact right amount of chocolate. And De Hartige Samaritaan’s brownies are perfect – not too heavy, but enough cocoa to drift away into chocolate heaven.Chocolade heaven. That's all.
Quantity/proportionHarira (8)Fine, nothing to change.Veal paté (7)Two toasted slices of white bread smothered in paté on a double bed of spinach. Eat us!Mezze (6)The menu said ‘for two persons’, but what we get is more like a small plate of titbits. Tip: more salad and especially more Lebanese bread, and an even number of mini peppers would be good for two people. Orange carpaccio (8.5)Sunshine on our plate. This will keep us going.Brownie (8)
We may have comments about the quantity of the main course, but the desert makes up for it. Two pieces of chocolate heaven, a scoop of ice-cream and large dollop of whipped cream ensure that we go home with well-filled tummies.
The mezze unfortunately did not fill our stomachs.
Price/qualityHarira (7.5)Well filled, so EUR 4 is okay.Veal paté (7)Where else would you find a starter for EUR 4.50? Despite this pleasant price, we still want to give a tip – a little less paté and a little more balsamic vinegar.Mezze (7)The quality and the price were fine. You taste that the meal is made with love. But subconsciously we link the quantity of the food to the quantity of the money – EUR 21 for two. We would be happy to pay a little more for a larger portion.Orange carpaccio (8)This feast deserves the same four shiny coins as the harira.Brownie (8)
We may not be pastry chefs, but the quality of the brownies is definitely high. We don’t know who is in the kitchen, but whoever you are, this week’s ‘Master Baker’ award is for you!
The orange carpaccio was this weeks big winner.
PresentationHarira (7)OrdinaryVeal paté (7)
Satisfactory, but effective.Mezze (7)They come on big trays but the dishes on them are hard to spot.Orange carpaccio (8.5)The prize of the evening! It makes us super happy.Brownie (7)
If it had been served warm, it would have earned a place on the stage, but as it is, the brownie disappears into average.Host Deleuvan joined us for desert.
Experience (8.5)The place is impressive but feels like a night club without the music. Are we in grandpa’s diner? But the waiters make everything right. Just as charming as they are attentive, they turn up at our table at exactly the right times. Don’t forget, everyone who works here does so voluntarily for a good cause. They more than earn a good tip!Overall ratingHarira: 7+
Veal paté: 7
Orange carpaccio: 8.5