We recently sat down with Quintin, the current owner and operator of a well-established Amsterdam tradition, Hemelse Modder, located in the Oude Waal district just off of Nieuwmarkt. The story goes that in 1984, a group of young Dutch friends decided to start a restaurant together. They took the name from what we in the English world know as “chocolate mousse,” which also happens to be their specialty. It should be mentioned for comical effect, however, that in Dutch “hemelse modder” literally translates to “heavenly mud.” It sure is.
Quintin tells us that Hemelse Modder was originally located in the Jordaan but was moved two years later to its present location, facing a wide canal that leads toward Centraal Station. Quintin started at the restaurant in 1997, which was the same year the original owners decided to expand from 40 seats to 80 seats. For the past six years, Quintin has enjoyed being a partner in the company, but has recently taken the reigns for himself and is presently the sole owner.
In celebration of the nearly thirty years of delicious foodie excellence, last year the décor underwent a bit of a makeover. New paint, new paintings, new furniture. Quintin explains, “Every year we try to renew the place a bit, you know, keep it fresh.” It’s lovely inside and, one could say, as delicate as the food itself.
The kitchen consists of six people: one chef, one sous-chef, and three cooks, all who hail from Dutch backgrounds. Quintin describes the cuisine as primarily in the Dutch, English, French tradition. It’s northwest European food, he says, using only organic, fair-trade, and (mostly) local ingredients, many of which are purchased from the nearby organic greengrocer at Nieuwmarkt. While most of the meat is purchased from local farmers, the beef comes from a special farm in Scotland and Quintin says you just can beat it.
Moderately priced meals come à la carte or you can chose either a three course meal for €32.50 or a four course meal for €37.00. With entrées such as the “Stew of beef and Belgian beer, orange and prune with mashed potatoes and roasted pumpkin” and starters such the “Guinea-fowl terrine with home-made piccalilli,” we suggest you go big or go home.
“For a main course, I like the cod filet, which is really nice. It’s delicate and it’s got a nice almond crunch and a nice sauce with hints of coffee and lemon. It’s really a delicate combination,” says Quintin.
But, you can’t talk about Hemelse Modder without talking about the dessert menu. Although they offer an impressive selection that would make the mouths of even those without a sweet tooth water, (such as the “Tompouce with juniper thyme cream and caramelized pear” or the “Warm sticky ginger pudding with mocka ice cream,” you can’t leave without trying the restaurants namesake (pictured above). Their heavenly mud contains both dark and white chocolate mousse with vanilla cream, and it also happens to be Quintin’s favorite thing on the entire menu.
When asked why our readers should consider Hemelse Modder, Quintin states, “We work with organic food, which is important. We make everything by hand. It’s honest food and that’s a good reason to come here.”
Open for dinner from 18:00 to 22:00 seven days a week except certain holidays, Hemelse Modder is also available to host large gatherings such as weddings and other celebrations.