The New Amsterdam, Barnstaple

You know that very common British phrase of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well, I have a suggestion, or maybe, you could call it an improvement. So here it is: we swap the word apple for pizza. I know a daily pizza probably isn’t the best idea and would send us to the doctor more regularly than a Granny Smith, but you considered it. I certainly have! In all seriousness, as much as I love an apple that isn’t a Granny Smith, if I could eat pizza every day without consequences, I would (it’s true love) and I know exactly where I would go to get my eager fingers on a slice or eight; The New Amsterdam.

It’s not just GodDam Pizza

The New Amsterdam is a locally run restaurant and bar headed up by Fatt Matt (which is legitimately his actual name). The quirky and modern eatery is the sister restaurant to The Bull & Bear that has adorned our streets for over nine years and in times gone by, The Custom House (RIP; what a place that was!). Famed for their handmade sourdough pizzas with topping combinations you never knew you needed in life, The Dam boasts an extensive food menu that will make you put down that third slice of pizza and try something brand new (it’s true, because it happened to me!). Add to that their ridiculous cocktail menu that is designed and created in-house, a night in Amsterdam is one you won’t regret. And depending on how many cocktails you have, one you may not be able to remember clearly.

A slice of pizza never looked so good!

It’s all about that Base

When it comes to pizza, the base is the make or break; it can either be an outstanding pizza or cause an absolute breakdown. There is nothing worse than a rubbish pizza base, but luckily, the Dam team have absolutely nailed the Italian classic in their own kitchen. It’s why I keep going back for more slices! Hand stretched sourdough, the king of bread, because it is naturally fermented with no awful additions. Need I say more (I will because otherwise this will be the shortest review ever). Not only are their pizza bases super thin, crispy, light and adorned with the puffiest crust known to man or woman, meaning eating the whole thing to yourself is more than doable (or just normal practice in my eyes), the eccentric topping combinations make total sense and provide your taste buds with an explosion of new tastes and textures. Yet again that’s me heading back for even more slices, especially when the toppings include butternut squash, rosemary sea salt, egg, walnuts and more meats than a piggy could shake its curly wurley tail at, to name but a few. And just when you think you have tried every last topping combination (I can but hope), the Dam tosses out guest pizzas every so often for a limited time to keep us on our toes. Such a tease.

Which pizza to choose? Beets By Dre; Build Me Up Butternut; Fiorentina.

As I said above, The New Amsterdam is not just all about their mind-blowing pizzas. As much as I would like to continue rambling on about my undying love for said pizzas, their small plates deserve as much of the spotlight too. The best part? They’re not even that small. Winning!

Small plates central!

Fatts & Small Plates

In the rare instance that you fancy something a little different and diverse to pizza (shock I know, but bear with me here), deciding between the Dam’s choice of small plates is a tough job on the brain cells, but it is a job that is beyond worth the headache, especially when you realise the aptly named small plates have put on a few pounds. I probably did too after two visits in as many weeks in February (no regrets).

Smoked salmon dipping board

From the traditional olives and breads with oil, to a smoked salmon dipping board or whole (yes, whole) burrata, there is a not-so-small plate waiting for everyone, whether a meat eater, vegetarian, or just plain hungry. In a rare occurrence that I am willing to share food, three small plates between two is the perfect way to kick your Dam experience off and get your fingers stuck into many plates (not pies). The worst part? You won’t know what to dive into first: maybe spicy harissa halloumi with yoghurt and mint sauce, or creamy, oozy burrata (mozzarella on steroids) with pistachio pesto and sundried tomatoes (I died and visited heaven with every mouthful), or to satisfy the overwhelming urge for pizza, garlic pizza waffles with smoked garlic oil and the most amazing hot honey I have ever tasted. I wanted to high five those bees and wish I kept the pot for the upcoming pizza main (we live and learn).

Just some of their small plates: harissa halloumi; burrata; mac n cheese; garlic pizza waffles; chorizo; tenderstem broccoli.

The fact that each big (let’s be honest they are not small) plate that went to every table both looked and smelt triumphant, shows the passion they have for all their dishes, not just incredible sourdough pizzas. You could say the plates made me “turnaround” (showing my age with a Phats and Small reference). And just when you thought the fun of Amsterdam was over, you are politely handed the cocktail menu. Shame.

Just Order the Dam Cocktail

When it comes to a really good, enjoyable and drinkable cocktail, there are a few important things. First, the price, obviously. I question whether some cocktails need to be priced over £10 or £12. Second, creativity. Yes, I absolutely adore a mojito or French 75 as much as the next almost mid-30s female, but a clever twist on a classic is always refreshing. Lastly, the glass. I love nothing more than a delicious cocktail being as aesthetic as it is tasty. I am a sucker for a decent glass. And it will not surprise you in the slightest that The New Amsterdam hit all three.

As well as every cocktail being reasonably priced at under a tenner, including their signature ‘Only-Dams Martini’, which blew my brains out, and ‘Tito’s mule’ which is my favourite thus far, a handful of their playful cocktails are two for the price of one. Plus, that is every day. Does a cocktail menu get any better I hear you ask? Hell yes it does! If you’re more of a classic cocktail fan, your little heart will not be disappointed. In fact, it’ll be brimming with a happy twist on your favourite. Who doesn’t want a few dashes of chocolate bitters in their espresso martini to take it up a notch? And as for the glassware and rubber duck finishing touches, I’ll let the photos do the talking.

It’s cocktail time! Tito’s mule; only-dams martini; Jamaica queens; mango rum cooler.

Amster-DAM I Need to Visit

To say I am a huge fan of Fatt Matt and his team’s restaurant would be a definite understatement. It is one of the coolest places around with a menu that will leave you feeling possibly the happiest you’ve ever felt, and a team of staff that are more than happy to make your visit one to remember, number of cocktails consumed dependent!

Pizza, cocktails and smiling faces? Sounds like a dam good time to me!

I would like to thank Matt for the amazing opportunity to be invited to his restaurant and the fantastic service from all of The New Amsterdam team!

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