So couple of months ago I stumbled upon this very fun concept of communal dining called Eat With and since then I’ve been totally hooked on to it. Eat With is a concept that exists in different parts of the world that brings people together, one meal at a time. Here’s how it works – You log onto – eatwith.com do some research based on the city you’d like to dine in & dates your available. Browse through different hosts/cuisine options and then book a seat at a table at someone’s home. Voila! That’s simply how the adventure begins.
Whether you’re exploring a town, one that you live in or somewhere new or traveling to a city for the first time this is a super easy way to access the underground food scene and connect with creative, open-minded and interesting people. Sadly though, for me living in the middle east comes with its own challenges. One being that the concept hasn’t yet hit Doha but who knows what could happen after you read this post? Maybe you’d be inspired to start your own little home restuarant right here in our city. I personally waited long until last week when I found the perfect location, host, menu and time to experience this amazing concept.
While on a trip back home to Amsterdam my husband & I booked ourselves along with my food loving brother in law and his wife a place at Martine’s table and boy what a treat it turned out to be.
Martine and Olav were the perfect hosts right from the time we hit that doorbell. A big warm hello from Olav who opened the door set the mood for our adventurous dinner that night. A few flights up and we were met with another big smile and handshake from Martine. Olav & Martine’s apartment is tucked away in a busy alley in the heart of Amsterdam near central station. As we walked in we felt like we were already friends and had known them forever, strange but true. Their home is beautifully done with lots of quaint art work, stacks of books and musical instruments. The setting to me – screamed out ‘we are talented’ and that itself got me really excited!
The other guests that booked seats at the table were there earlier and hung around the balcony smoking away enjoying the stunning weather, a rare dutch occurrence of course. In a mood to mingle we were quick to introduce ourselves to the gang and got to know that our dinner companions were from Israel. We then got seated at the table to begin the much awaited feast.
As we settled into our seats Martine gave us an option of welcome cocktails one which was beer based and the other made with Martini. Very soon only minutes later drinks in hand and a Proost! (cheers in Dutch) it had all officially begun. Then soon an array of little nibbles got placed on the table which was followed by an explanation by Olav our chef for the night.
Ours nibbles were – Homemade smoked beef sausage 😛 / Aubergine spread / Homemade pickled gherkins / Raddish / Homemade fresh garlic mayo / Dutch cheese with pickled ginger / Mustard / Nuts & olives served with fresh homemade bread. For me the preggy party pooper of the night our polite hosts had a yummy garlic potato mash served as an alternative as I was unable to eat the fresh garlic mayo. Now its small thoughtful gestures like these that count and make the experience truly homely. We had’nt even started with our meal and Olav & Martine had already scored 10 points from me 🙂
Starter : Salad with smoked mackerel and roasted red & yellow beets in a yogurt dressing. (Served with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc) This was absolutely delicious. The fresh home smoked mackerel was divine and now I am craving more of it as I continue to write this post.
Main Course : Lamb shank in au jus with root vegetables.(Served with a glass of Malbec) A no fuss kinda dish. The simplicity and flavors of the dish were spot on with that sauce being the clear winner however I just wish there was some bread served with it to dunk in to all that yummy gravy.
Our fun chatty dinner companions
Martine prepping dessert
Dessert : Vanilla infused Yogurt and cream served with fresh berries and a moist homemade whey cake. (Served with a glass of Moscato) Whats whey? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whey
One last picture with this interesting and talented duo – Olav & Martine
Eatwith – Amsterdam is one of the most fun dinner experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve been to many blogging & dining events where I’ve known no one at the table and when I’ve walked out I’ve walked out more richer and informed about food, about the world, about people. But there’s something unique and special about dining in a strangers home. In no time these people who open their homes and lives become more than just an acquaintance. They become story tellers and knowledge lenders. You see your hosts on record covers when they were 20 and hear and see pictures of the neighborhood and the building you are now dining and wining in and in that moment no one is a stranger anymore just friends we did’t know we really had.
All in all like the Dutch would say ….the evening was very Gezelligheid !
For any of you traveling to Amsterdam this summer I highly recommend Martines table. The quality of food, service and the guarantee of a great evening at 43$ / per person is quite simply priceless. Eatwith.com has tons of locations and hosts to choose from around the world. I’d love to hear your experiences and recommendations in other cities. Do write back to let me know if you enjoy any communal dining experiences during your travels.
A big Bon Appetite from QuestandMark X
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More information on Martine’s Table at – www.facebook.com/martines.table/