Edition 31 October 2019, by Paola Westbeek
With its historic centre and pretty Dutch houses lining cobbled streets, the quaint town of Muiden has enough postcard charm to merit a visit no matter what the time of year. In the summer, the terraces dotting the Vecht River entice you to sit back with a glass of wine while watching boats lazily sailing by. It so happens that Eethuys-Café Graaf Floris V boasts one of the best terraces to do just that, and once the chill sets in, it’s just as inviting inside.
We arrive on a grey October afternoon and are welcomed by the smell of burning wood and animated chatter. Beamed ceilings, old-fashioned lamps and sturdy tables make the restaurant’s dimly lit interior cosy and pleasant. Behind us, a group of men are gathered around the fireplace enjoying a fondue with chilled white wine, and every so often another couple or family walks through the door seeking solace from the autumn drizzle. Even before the menu arrives, I’ve decided I’m in the mood for simple, hearty fare – and a glass of red wine that’s just as unpretentious and warming as the ambience. Standard Dutch café classics are on offer such as uitsmijters (bread topped with ham, cheese and fried eggs), croquettes with bread, soups and various sandwiches (including one with silky, smoked IJssel River eel). It’s nearly three in the afternoon and feasting on fish and chips (listed under the ‘Floris Plate Service Dishes’) seems like the perfect choice. Nevermind the red wine I’m sipping. I’ll order a white with my meal in the hopes that it’s just as satisfying as this one. Luckily, both the meal and the wine tick every box. The fish has a crisp, golden crust; the chips are piping hot and salted just right; and the accompanying ravigote mayonnaise is tangy and so good I could eat it with a spoon. My glass of Domaine les Charmettes Côtes de Thau is citrussy and refreshing.
Though I am thoroughly enjoying my late lunch, I can’t help but eyeball my partner’s satay – an exceptionally appealing dish of thick pieces of skewered chicken served with a small boat of chestnut-coloured peanut sauce and a large prawn cracker. After a coffee with a speculaas spice biscuit, we leave sated, and ruddy- cheeked, wondering whether we love this place more in the summer or on a day like today. Good thing we don’t have to choose.
Eethuys-Café Graaf Floris V
1398 AD Muiden
Open daily from 10:00 – 22:00 hrs