Rough Kitchen, a walk-up inside Foodhallen (a converted tram repair facility that houses 21 startup restaurants) smokes their pork shoulders for 16 hours over Beech wood in a Big Green Egg before pulling the meat, saucing it, and serving it on a wooden paddle with accoutrements.Jord Althuizen is a competition pitboss based in Amsterdam. He is also the co-owner of Rough Kitchen. Althuizen finished 4th last year in pulled pork in the Dutch Barbecue Championships and I can see why. The meat is velvety if over-sauced. In USA I always ask for sauce on side but I neglected this strategy in Amsterdam and paid dearly. Rough Kitchen’s sauce is extremely sweet. A little chile would have went a long way in balancing this dish.
The pork belly fared better although it lacked tenderness. The best belly melts away as you eat but Rough Kitchen’s dish had a quite a bit of chew to it. Fortunately, the sauce they applied was akin to a chimichurri, bright and hot with fresh garlic which proved to be its saving grace.A side of coleslaw was an abomination. Pure sugar with nary a touch of balancing vinegar or other acid, the poor cabbage never stood a chance. Pickles too were overly sweet. Someone in this kitchen really loves treacle.
Marcus Polman co-owns Rough Kitchen. He’s a famous Dutch journalist who’s written multiple books on cooking in the Netherlands. Perhaps he’s the sugar lover afoot in the creation of Rough Kitchen’s recipes?I love the ethos of Rough Kitchen; they’re committed to using heritage breeds of ‘free-range pork’ and even have a charity called Give A Pig which donates hogs to poor families living in Thailand.
There are now three Rough Kitchens scattered about the Netherlands. As is often the case the rush towards growth has outstripped the capabilities of the cooking team. I have a high bar for Dutch restaurants serving pork and unfortunately Jord Althuizen and Marcus Polman’s stall inside Foodhallen did not clear it.
Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT, Amsterdam