The Butcher / Pijp, Amsterdam


Plonk a Petticoat Lane/Borough Market mash-up on Kingsland Road and you've got a rough idea of what Albert Cuypstraat and the surrounding Pijp district is like.

By day, the heaving market flogs every kind of shit to punters. And as the market packs up, al fresco drinkers crowd traditional bars inhabiting the street corners, and restaurants serving up Surinamese and Middle Eastern food fill up (check out Bazar - the vibrantly decorated converted church serving insanely good sharing platters). The Pijp is a buzzy burgeoning hiptropolis, and more places are opening up to get in on the act.

The Butcher, complete with a full-size model cow dangling in the front window, opening in mid-2012 is one of the early new wave of settlers.

Whilst most Amsterdammers' grip of the language is more accomplished than most of the population of Canvey Island, there is something integrally English about this place from the name itself, to the menu items, down to the "It’s bloody delicious!" tagline. As if it could be any more London, there is even a secret swish reservation-only speakeasy cocktail bar out the back.

The sleek aesthetic will feel familiar if you've been to anything fast-casual that has opened in London in the last year or so. Burnished steel tables cut along white-tiled walls illustrated with cuts of beef, softened by multi-shaded wood panelling under the open-kitchen. The nifty beef-obsessed design even makes it onto the paper covering the metal trays the burgers are served on.

The sheeny, golden Yorkshire Pudding-coloured bun on The Butcher With Cheese is fucking huge, shading most of what is inside from view apart from the foliage jutting out. The brioche remains savoury and robust enough while tip-toeing into croissant-like territory, it is nicely squishy.

The Aberdeen Angus patty is a vibrant pink inside and retains a great deal of juiciness, but the Edam melted over it strangely lacks any flavour. The burger sauce makes up for it, lacing an impressive tomatoey piquancy and mayo creaminess throughout. The awesome gherkin adds a good sour note kick to the bite as well. The tomato slice adds a juicy resistance and the lettuce is crisp. A simple and effective set up.

Yet for all its qualities the bun serves as a golf umbrella on a busy high street, it is far too fucking big and masks the flavour of all the elements. Get it to scale and there is a rather solid offering here.

The Butcher is one in the emerging Amsterdam burger renaissance of the last couple of years, as well as pop-ups like The Young Pretenders and food trucks Thrill Grill and Beef Chief. The recent Burger Beer Battle indicates that popularity is growing too. Even other Americana seems to be sticking its oar in, as hot dog gaff Fat Dog's recent opening in the Pijp suggests. Now seems as good a time as any to haul asses over there and sample what is being positioned between two slices of bread.

But what do you do when you're absolutely shitfaced at two in the morning though... Next stop, Febo

  • Rob.

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