You can also eat delicious Mediterranean again

Maydanoz is one of our all-time favorites in Amsterdam: the restaurant from 2009 is simple and cosy, not too raked and the food is well made from fresh stuff. For years there has been a review of Johannes van Dam with the number 9 on the window, while the good man has not been with us for seven years. That also impresses us for this case, because let’s face it: they have not forgotten this renowned and feared critic.

Another beautiful thing: they just keep it up, while one hip place after another opens its doors and sometimes closes quickly in that crazy Pijp. Maydanoz is beyond the whimsical and the fashionable; many guests are regulars, often also local guests. Then something positive: Maydanoz is not unique, the kitchen is originally Turkish but fans out over the entire width, so you also eat Greek, Lebanese and Israeli.

On the day before ‘the second lockdown’ we take food off, that’s what we have to do with it for the time being. It is sad that the catering industry has to close, but we continue to order to ensure that the cook stays at work and there is still some money in the cash register. We order generously, for two people and someone more, so we get an accurate impression of how Maydanoz’s food fares at home in our little Mediterranean atmosphere.

We start with red lentil soup (6,-), babaganuc (7,30) and taboul salad (6,80), which of course we share. The sharing of starters, mezze, is as old as Esau’s beard in Mediterranean countries. And, this for the less bible readers, Esau was the man who asked his brother Jacob in exchange for his birthright for ‘that red’, it was red lentil soup.

Not without reason, such a soup has body and is an effective remedy for fatigue. The red lentil soup is not red here, which makes sense, because when you cook red lentils they turn reddish-brown, but that does not affect the taste: it is delicious, firm and spicy at the same time – a real boost.

The babaganuc, cream of charcoal-grilled aubergines with fresh mint, on the other hand, is creamy, but also has acidity and the pepper is not shunned. The tabouli is a nice, fine salad of dill, parsley and pomegranate seeds with some bulgur here and there, fresh and crisp. We baked the supplied bread in the frying pan for a while, it’s a fantastic start.

Then we go for the mixed grill (24.50) and the beyti, minced lamb in a wrap (8.-), with fried spinach (6.30). While we throw ourselves into the meat like wild beasts, we have to admit that the other dishes have held up better during the transport home. The lamb from the grill is beautifully rosé and tasty, the cutlet has a nice fat and is certainly not lacking in juiciness, but the chicken chop and the köfte (meatballs) have become a bit dry. Typical meat dishes that rely on a la minute preparation and well, that cook and his accompanying charcoal grill were unfortunately not on our balcony.

It goes better with the minced lamb, rolled in a pancake and with yogurt and tomato, spicy, soft and sour at the same time, what a top dish! The spinach, baked with bell pepper and small raisins, is spicy and spicy. The rice supplied is, we suspect, cooked in tomato broth, very tasty.

Finally we head for the favorite dessert of Johannes van Dam, fortunately it is still on the menu: kabak tatlisi (6,-). This autumn dessert of grilled pumpkin, soft and deep in taste, with walnuts and homemade crème shanti is heartwarming. Just right for a long, bleak autumn.

Reviewer and journalist Rock Possel test a restaurant in and around Amsterdam every week – during this temporary lockdown takeaway or delivery food.