De Foodhallen , “Food Halls”, is a covered food market in Amsterdam which houses a plethora of different food stalls. One of those food stalls is operated by The Rough Kitchen, which sells authentic barbecue.
Although de Foodhallen have been open for quite a while I hadn’t been there to taste the barbecue, which is odd since I know Jord Althuizen, one of the founders of The Rough Kitchen personally. We’ve known each other for years now and see each other regularly at different KCBS BBQ contests all over Europe.
Last Sunday I had to be in Amsterdam so I why not drop by and see what Jord and his businesspartner created there?
Don’t trust barbecue restaurants that never sell out.
When I visit a barbecue restaurant I like to order a tasting platter if available. At the Rough Kitchen there’s not just one but there are four tasting platters to choose from. When presented with a choice like that I go for the largest one of course, in this case the “I want it all”.
Unfortunately it was sold out. Too bad, but also a good sign. Don’t trust barbecue restaurants that never sell out. Preparing the meat is a long process and it’s hard to predict how much you will sell during any given day. So I rather have an item no longer being available than eating old barbecue.
What was available was a variation on the Best of Pork platter. It consisted of rillettes, “zolderspek”, pulled pork, grilled chicken and MOINK Balls. On the side we got Amsterdam pickles, greens and bread. All this was presented on a rustic wooden board.
Not all of it was barbecue but part was charcuterie, things that work very well next to each other.
Did we like it?
The rillettes -meat cooked in fat, then shredded and mixed with fat into a spreadable paste- had great flavor and was a good combination with the bread.
The MOINK balls, well technically these weren’t MOINK Balls. A MOINK ball is an Italian meatball wrapped in bacon and smoked on barbecue then glazed with barbecue sauce. These were just regular meatballs with a very loose, too loose structure, wrapped in bacon. No MOINKs and not impressive, they lacked flavor and smoke.
The chicken didn’t do it for us. The tenderness was perfect but the sauce that it was covered in just didn’t work. The chicken was something that was added to the platter because other items were sold out, so maybe in a sandwich with some garnish it would work, but not on itself like this.
The pulled pork made up for a lot of things we tried first. Jord knows how to make good pulled pork, he became 4th this year in the Dutch Championship ranking in that category. But making pulled pork at a competition is different from cooking large quantities at a restaurant. I think he did a great job to present us a very good version. One of my companions, an experienced KCBS Certified BBQ Judge, said that a lot of the times she gets way less tasting pork during competitions!
The star of the meal was not a barbecue dish though. It was the zolderspek, which would translate into Attic Bacon, porkbelly which is cured, cold smoked for six weeks and aged for a year. The result is a divine piece of bacon, full of smokey flavor, the fat melts when it hits your tongue, it’s pure heaven!
Since there are so many more food stands in de Foodhallen, we kept it at this barbecue wise. But fortunately there are more Rough Kitchen’s to be found in The Netherlands. One of those close to my home at the Pier of Scheveningen (The Hague). So that gives me a nice opportunity to try out the things I missed like ribs and pork belly. I’m craving those as we speak 😉
Sunday – Thursday from 11:00 to 23:30 hrs.
Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 01:00 hrs.