Gluten free at Haesje Claes, Amsterdam

Living with intolerances and allergies is difficult at the best of times and I don’t think ‘normal’ eaters quite appreciate the effort that goes in to planning a trip abroad. The language barrier is concerning, as you never quite know whether the waiter has understood your list of food restrictions, and of course being presented with a menu written in gobbledee gook leaves you scratching your head over what you can possibly order that won’t have you laid up in bed for the rest of the holiday.

After my successful trip to Rome a few weeks ago, I was a little anxious about how I would get on in Amsterdam, as I had heard that the city isn’t the best place for gluten free places to eat. I was staying in a hotel on the outskirts of Vondel Park, Amsterdam’s own version of Central Park in New York and of course, I got googling once again to find places to eat before I arrived in the city.

After being given a selection of choices from a fellow tweeter and googling myself, the top restaurant that popped up on Trip Advisor for gluten free was Haesje Claes. The reviews were fantastic and I learned that they did a special gluten free menu – bingo I’d found the place.

Luckily we’d phoned the restaurant earlier in the day to book a table, as all night long locals and tourists were queuing at the door waiting to be seated. It must be good I thought if people are continuously in and out.

Gluten free in Amsterdam

Specialising in traditional Dutch food, the gluten free menu I was presented with had an extensive choice of appetisers, starters, mains and puddings for me to choose from. I ordered the pumpkin soup to begin, which was served alongside a warm gluten free bap and tasted absolutely delicious and most definitely homemade. My friend who had ordered lobster soup was also presented with pumpkin, and when flagging it up to the waitress was told ‘I’m just as shocked as you are’ – now how can you complain at a reaction like that.

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As it was a typical Dutch restaurant, I wanted to order a local speciality for mains and so I decided on the Carre rack of lamb with cabbage stamppot. The lamb was cooked to perfection and was one of the most tender and beautifully tasting lamb dishes I have ever had. Served alongside a mushroom sauce, cabbage mash and a big bowl full of chips just in case we weren’t quite full enough, I polished off my plate. I have to say, although the stamppot was just your typical national dish with no airs or graces, it was full of flavour, really fresh and I will be cooking it up in my kitchen soon enough – although maybe with a red wine sauce next time for good measure.

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Although I couldn’t touch the puddings due to my milk intolerance, there was a good choice of local puds on offer for those with a sweet tooth, including pancakes, biscuits with Dutch cheeses, apple pie and fruit concoctions.

The staff were very friendly, very knowledgeable about what I could and could not have with the additional dairy intolerance and they even refunded my glass of wine when I decided I had had quite enough throughout the day and barely touched a drop.

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