While we’ve been eating from bowls for millennia, lately it seems that everything served in a concave vessel has achieved some cult-like status, from the burrito bowls that clog up our daily Instagram feed to the much tut-tutted ‘trendy bowl food’ served at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s standing wedding breakfast. Yet come cold weather the allure is easy to understand. There is something intrinsically soothing and appealingly relaxed about eating from a bowl. And, there’s more to so-called bowl food than the smoothie, Buddha and poké bowls so beloved in #fitgirl culture: think of soups,stews, tagines, risottos and other hearty dishes that’ll warm both your hands and your heart this winter. Italian food is, of course, the ultimate bowl food, and at the newly opened Soho House Amsterdam, you’ll find all the classics. Or go the traditional Dutch route at Restaurant Moeders, where hearty winter favourites are served in baby Dutch ovens. Some restaurants have taken the trend as permission to serve (almost) its entire menu in bowls, like newly opened all-day restaurant Kluis. But at others tradition demands it, like at Yuan’s Hot Pot where a Chengdu-style hot pot is served from steaming stainless steel vessels at the centre of your table.
Yuan’s Hot Pot
This recently opened Chengdu fondue specialist is already a hit with the local Chinese community. Swipe through a dazzling array of meats, vegetables and tofu products on a tablet-based menu, choosing from authentic Chinese favourites such as black fungus, chewy flat sweet potato vermicelli, chicken feet and tripe or less ‘scary’ options such as shrimp dumplings, spicy beef, enoki mushrooms, Chinese cabbage and tofu (from €0.90). Then, slip your bamboo-skewered selection into a simmering ‘secret family recipe’ soup base, which can also be ordered vegetarian, extra spicy or half-half (from €9.90), with a sesame oil-based dip (€1.90) on the side.
For superlative pasta (we recommend the lobster spaghetti, pictured, €28) head to the Amsterdam outpost of Cecconi’s at Soho House, where you’ll find other north Italian crowd pleasers like risotto and Parmigiana.
If it’s cosiness you crave, try this quaint eatery inspired by mums and decorated with hundreds of photos of them. Full of Dutch classics like snert (split pea soup) and stamppot (Dutch mash).
Set in a former bank, this spacious oasis serves bowls all day, from brûléed coconut milk porridge for breakfast to Peking duck salad for lunch to an exquisite tasting menu for dinner (€39 for three courses).