From their beautiful canal-side restaurant, brothers Paul and Niek (the restaurant's name translates as Hartering Bros.) serve Dutch - and a few French - classics made from local, seasonal ingredients.
Inspired by the table d'hote concept, Gebr. Hartering offers a changing set four- to seven-course dinner (€37-€56) from 8pm. A small à la carte menu is also available from 6.30pm.
Gebr. Hartering advertises itself as a neighbourhood restaurant. We live just a few minutes walk away, and in neighbourly fashion, the brothers invited us for a complimentary drink shortly after they opened. We were much too early for the set menu, but were charmed enough by the à la carte options, chalked up on a blackboard balanced against the wooden bar, to stay for dinner too.
The older brother leads a one-man show in the restaurant's open kitchen - and is clearly the sibling with the most catering experience - while the younger, sporting a magnificent Tintin-worthy quiff, waits tables with good intentions but a few fumbles and forgotten drinks along the way.
The mixed meat platter starter set the tone for the rest of the meal. Chunky farmer’s pâté, generous slices of liver sausage and three kinds of dried sausage were served on a wooden board with pickles and coarse mustard. The dried sausage, made by the owners' friends who have started an artisanal sausage business, were delicately flavoured with garlic, lavender and nutmeg, giving an exotic twist to a very Dutch snack.
The fish of the day was described simply as ray wing, which was exactly what I got. A fan-shaped wing was draped across the plate and garnished with a drift of salty capers. The fish was perfectly cooked, but in fact the whole dish was overly salty.
The chef brought R.’s raw ribeye to the table for his inspection and approval before searing it briefly on the restaurant’s charcoal grill. Both main courses were served with new potatoes (also very salty) in a playful red and white checked cone.
Portions at Gebr. Hartering are perfect for strapping farm lads, but defeated us office-bound urbanites. We passed on dessert - crème brûlée and cheese - in favour of more wine.
Like the menu, the wine list is small but carefully chosen. I would go back just for another glass of the spicy, intensely golden La Rocca Soave Classico.
Restaurant Gebr. Hartering has a few serving and seasoning issues to iron out, but without any pretensions it succeeds in being a celebration of Dutch food and everything it can be when made with care and (brotherly) love.
Tue-Wed 18.30-22.30; Thur-Sat until 23.00
Telephone: 020 421 0699
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