Döner Oostelijke Handelskade

Greetings Döner Fans. I hope this post finds you well on this wet Dutch weekend. Perhaps you have been enjoying the Amsterdam Dance Event / ADE. Perhaps you have not. Dr Döner, for instance, has had bigger fish to fry, namely the serious business of eating kebabs and finding a permanent place of residence. As it happens, I was out and about running my various errands near the Oostelijke Handelskade today in pursuit of both these goals, when a sign made out of neon yellow paper caught my wandering eyes. On it were written two of my favourite words in the English language: Döner Kebab. And it was stuck onto the side of a likely looking mobile wagon. What further encouragement did I need than this! I approached the hatch to place my order.

The irresistible siren call of the kebab

There was a man inside the wagon. A large man. A gentle giant, if you will. It had clearly been a slow day for he had his head ducked down and was reading the paper. And he seemed very pleased to see me. I ordered a dürüm from him and he cheerily set about putting it together. One pleasant surprise was the way he prepared the bread. A flat pide was placed in an oven, and a minute later it had inflated like a chapatti. He then piled on the meat, salad and sauces and wrapped it all up. It was only a hunch, but I had a feeling that it was going to be a rather good dürüm. I paid 3,75 EUR for it (a decent price in these parts) and took it back to my cave to eat it.

The wagon, viewed from the tram stop

Back in my temporary Döner HQ, I peeled back the tinfoil to reveal what looked likely to be a fine meal. And in many ways it was. The bread, which had been so interestingly prepared, lent the whole ensemble an extra layer of flavour. The meat was ok, though the salad felt as if it had been soaking in its own juices for perhaps a little too long. Still, it didn’t detract too badly from the overall taste. All in all it was a good meal. Perhaps the friendliness of the man who made it, combined with the modest price, caused me to look upon it more favourably than it deserved. But I have to say, for Amsterdam, it was very very all right. Worth a try if you’re ever passing by the Oostelijke Handelskade. That’s all for now Döner Fans! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

The kebab is opened and begins to spill its secrets

Results

Service: 4/5 (nice and jolly)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (a halo of warmth on a wet day)

Price: 3/5 (good for Amsterdam)

Taste: 3/5 (nice bread)

Photography provided by Dr. Döner

Snackbar Nieuwe Vijzelstraat

Hello again Döner Fans. I hope this post finds you well. Last week, I was given the opportunity to enjoy two days of team-building activities at work. We built towers out of paper cups and straws, and acted out short skits depicting the company’s main values. I just about got through it without stabbing myself in the eye with one of the company pens. When Friday evening arrived, I took the first opportunity to rid myself of my new ‘team’, and went out to find a kebab. As luck would have it, I was in luck. Cruising down the Nieuwe Vijzelstraat towards Weteringcircuit, and still buoyed by my sudden freedom, I espied what looked like the perfect candidate lurking next to Café Mulder. Yes, hunched behind a skip was an establishment that felt no need to call itself anything grander than Snackbar. No family name, no allusion to any form of backstory or history – presumably the reputation of this establishment was such that one could simply say ‘Snackbar’ and others would know precisely where you meant. So, in anticipation of great things, I crossed the threshold and ordered a dürüm.

Snackbar! What do you mean "which" Snackbar?

The dürüm in fact turned out to be a lahmacun instead. An oversight I’m sure – the staff were speaking Arabic to each other and not Turkish. I sat on a plastic chair and waited for my food to be made. I was kept amused by an altercation that erupted between one of the staff and a group of irate and immaculately dressed Italian tourists who had been given the wrong sauce. My Italian is not what it used to be, but I believe there was some swearing. It all seemed good-natured though. Anyway, I was brought my lahmacun, stuffed with chicken meat, lettuce, herb sauce and samba (chilli sauce), and I unpeeled it from its tinfoil sheath and ate it. To be honest, it was not particularly good. The chicken was weird and flabby. The samba was spicy enough to distract me from the rest of the meal, but each mouthful which didn’t have enough samba on it tasted rather bland. So I ate it, paid my 4 Euros, and left. 4 Euros is probably OK for a stuffed lahmacun, I suppose, especially when the Snackbar was also selling a Broodje Döner for the same price. Confident that I had not been screwed financially this time (unlike in the neighbouring Lunchroom Etenstijd where I ate the previous Friday) I went back out into the bustling streets of Amsterdam ready for anything the weekend might throw at me. So do try the Snackbar if you dare, but do not expect great things. Until next time, Döner Fans! Have a good weekend!

A sneak peek inside the lahmacun, with a stray copy of De Telegraaf in the background.

Results

Service: 3/5 (fine, as long as you’re not Italian)

Atmosphere: 2/5 (plasticky)

Price: 3/5 (fine for Amsterdam)

Taste: 2/5 (not the best)

Photography provided by Dr. Döner

Lunchroom Etenstijd Nieuwe Vijzelstraat

Hello Döner Fans. Apologies for the despondent tone of my previous post. With any luck, things will be looking up soon. For instance, I find that eating a döner always helps. Unless, that is, the döner is bad. Today as I left my office after a hard day of kebab journalism, I strolled down the bustling thoroughfare that is Vijzelstraat, which runs from Muntplein down to Weteringcircuit. For those of you who aren’t au fait with Amsterdam’s geography, and who can recollect it only through a haze of brown smoke and red lights, the Weteringcircuit lies at a spitting distance from the Heineken Experience – which, I am told, is only an ‘experience’ in the same way that a colonoscopy is an experience. It was right at this bottom end of the Nieuwe Vijzelstraat that I espied something calling itself Lunchroom Etenstijd. This would seem to translate as Lunch Room Food Time (we all know Lunchroom should be two words). Which goes to show you that you can achieve a suitable name for a kebab shop without much thought, simply by shoving a bunch of semi-related nouns together.

Lunchroom Etenstijd proclaims its lack of imagination to the world.

Those of you who have been following the blog over the past months and years will know that I have not been overly impressed by Amsterdam’s assortment of kebab outlets. Therefore it was with no great expectation that I strode into the orange interior of the Lunchroom and ordered a Broodje Döner. ‘Alles erop?’ replied the man. ‘Ja,’ I said. And then I went to sit outside and wait for it to be brought to me. (These details are all true.) Anyway, I sat outside and he brought me the kebab on a plate with a fork, as well as two tubes of sauce, one creamy and one spicy, presumably because he’d forgotten to ask me what sauces I wanted. I suppose it showed a degree of trust on his part that I wouldn’t run off with his tubes (and I admit I was tempted). The plate was too small for the kebab on it, with the result that some of the meat fell off onto the table and went uneaten. I should make clear that this was the fault of the plate, and not due to my piggish eating habits.

The kebab writhes on its plate, while two tubes of sauce loom behind it.

The kebab was passable, I suppose, and by no means bad by Amsterdam standards. I chomped it down while watching the trams and then went inside to pay. The price for a Broodje Döner was 3,95 as clearly shown on the wall behind the counter; however, the serving man asked for 4 Euros. Being polite, I didn’t quibble. But I did hope that the 5 cents he screwed me out of would one day weigh heavily on his conscience. For 4 Euros, it was not the best kebab in the world. But then, I had not anticipated great things. Anyway, having satisfied my post-work hunger, I left the Lunchroom Etenstijd in no great hurry to return. The only thing that might draw me back to the Lunchroom is its propinquity to my work, meaning that it may manage to lure me in again in the future. We shall see. That’s all for now, Döner Fans! Enjoy your weekend!

Man overboard! Some excess meat went over the side.

Results

Service: 3/5 (fine)

Atmosphere: 2/5 (plasticky)

Price: 1/5 (I was robbed of 5 cents)

Taste: 2/5 (not the best)

Photography provided by Dr. Döner