Borrel taking a break until September!

photoDear friends, this Sunday, July 20, will be our last Borrel for a while. At the risk of oversharing, Alison is not only one of the world’s most wonderful waitresses, but more importantly my fiancee and we are getting married at the end of the month! Following that we will be going on our honeymoon.

But fear not, Borrel at The Ossington will return Sunday, Sept. 7! And part of the reason our honeymoon is so long is that we will be investing time back in the Netherlands, studying and sampling more Dutch treats that we can try to recreate for you back here in Toronto. … OK, it’s hardly a business trip, but we do hope it can help make Borrel even better going ahead!

We would like to thank everyone who has attended the Borrels or World Cup matches for their enthusiasm for our humble little venture. Considering I have absolutely no prior experience in this line of work, your compliments about the food are what kept us going, knowing that we were doing something right. It’s been a huge thrill to prepare these foods for such appreciative customers and we hope to continue to do so for years to come. A final big thanks to everyone at The Ossington for giving us the opportunity to do this.

We hope to see you this Sunday. … And again in September! (Enjoy the rest of your summer, it’ll be boerenkool-appropriate weather again before you know it!)

Alas … Oranje out

120710 Oranjefans op de Binnerotte in RotterdamNow that I’ve finally stopped crying, I just wanted to say thanks to all the Oranje supporters we’ve had at The Ossington for all the Dutch matches. While it’s a bitter loss to take being once again so close to that elusive world championship, I still have to smile thinking about some of the amazing moments we’ve experienced during this World Cup: the insane euphoria following Holland’s win in penalties to Costa Rica; a 5-1 redemption victory against Spain; a definitive extra goal against Chile just to finish top of the group. … It was a hell of a lot of fun. A huge thanks to all of you for making these games truly epic.

I’m not sure how many of you are interested in watching the Holland vs. Brazil third place match (I don’t even think manager Louis van Gaal will be watching it from his comments stating “You shouldn’t have players play a match for third and fourth place. There should only be one champion. I think that this match should never be played. I have been saying it for 10 or 15 years”), so we’re deciding not to screen it at The Ossington. But The Ossington will be showing the final match between Germany and Argentina for any of you interested in non-Oranje action.

Once again, a big thanks to all of you. Hope to see you in two years’ time for the European Cup.


Oranje on to the semis!


Oh wow. My heart is still racing from Saturday’s match against Costa Rica. What a game. And what a great turnout at The Ossington! Thanks to all of you for coming and giving it up for Holland. The atmosphere in there was amazing.

And thanks as well for your enthusiasm for the Dutch food. We sold out well ahead of the end, allowing me to actually watch the game! … Although I was just contemplating washing the dishes instead of watching the penalty kicks just to spare myself the potential heartache. Very glad I did watch though!

And now it’s on to the semifinals! If you’ve recovered by Wednesday, please join us at The Ossington. Doors open at 2 p.m. for a 4 p.m. kickoff. As always, $6.50 flip-top bottles of Grolsch and $6 homemade Dutch snacks. I’m going to prep some more food for this game (partly so that I can spare my nerves from watching) but, as you may have noticed, our cooking facilities are pretty limited so there’s really only a certain amount of food that can be made during the length of the match.

Your patience waiting for the food and with the technical issues we’ve had has been amazing. We’re honoured to host these games for the best Oranje supporters in town.

Hup Holland!

Oranje in the quarter finals!


And we’re through to the quarter finals! I won’t lie, it’s a bit bittersweet going through on a questionable penalty kick so late in the game. … But we’ll take it! Join us at The Ossington for Holland’s match against Costa Rica this Saturday. Doors open at 2 p.m. for the 4 p.m. kickoff. As always, $6.50 flip-top bottles of Grolsch and $6 homemade traditional Dutch snacks will be available. We hope you can join us!

We’d like to thank everyone who made it down to the Holland vs. Mexico match on Sunday. The atmosphere in there was amazing! I didn’t catch much of the match in the kitchen but still felt the tension of every second with the loud vocal reactions in the bar. And I’d like to thank you all for your extreme patience with the technical issues we experienced in the back room. The Ossington staff has corrected the issue and we’ll be ready for your thunderous support on Saturday!

Also, we will cancel our regular Borrel this Sunday as win or lose, I think we all  use a little break from all this Dutchness by then.

Hup Holland!

More Oranje at The Ossington this Sunday at 11 a.m.!


And we’re on to the next round after conquering Group B! I’ll be honest, I hadn’t quite expected Holland to look so good at this World Cup. … Well, to be completely honest, I haven’t actually seen much of them at all as I’ve been too busy cooking! It’s a change from my usual routine of losing my mind and yelling at the TV but it’s truly been an honour to serve up Dutch snacks to an enthusiastic crowd of Oranje believers.

Thanks so much to all of you for coming to The Ossington and making it such a great atmosphere for these games. A huge thanks as well to Sarah Ward and Samantha Grice for helping over the weekend with the Borrel and Holland-Chile match respectively.

This Sunday it’s Borrel meets World Cup as Holland takes on Mexico in the Round of 16. We’ll continue serving all Dutch snacks on disposable plates for $6 each and flip-top bottles of Grolsch for $6.50. And we’ll be open at 11 a.m. for noon kickoff. I’m already getting anxious … but really looking forward to it. Hope you can make it by and make some noise for the Netherlands. Hup Holland!

The Ossington Goes Orange for the World Cup!


Having reunited Dutch expats with some of their favourite foods every Sunday for the past four months – and turning on a bunch of Torontonians to the nosh from the Netherlands along the way – it only made sense for Borrel at the Ossington to open its doors for Holland’s World Cup matches this summer. The Ossington is proud to go orange and provide another home for the Dutch to root for their home team in what has become one of the city’s greatest sporting traditions.

To celebrate these joyous, and often nerve-wracking, games we’ll be serving up some traditional Dutch snacks. Doing away with the fancy sides and annoying cutlery of our Sunday afternoon get-togethers, we’re paring down the presentation to disposable plates – the way it was meant to be eaten. Better yet, we’ll be serving all dishes at a discounted price of $6. These items include:

Frikandel Speciaal: Voted Holland’s most famous fast food, this fried beef/pork/chicken sausage is served with curry ketchup, mayonnaise and onions on a bun.

Maatjesharing: Salted raw herring imported from Holland’s herring capital Scheveningen, served with onions on a bun.

Krokets and bitterballen: Minced meats or veggies, cooked in a savoury roux, breaded and deep-fried, and served with a special mustard from the North of Holland. Served on a bun as a kroket or in ball form as a snack, you can’t really go wrong either way.

Poffertjes: This Dutch treat of mini puffy pancakes grilled in a special pan, covered in icing sugar and a thin slab of butter, has been a huge hit with all of our customers.

The Ossington will quench the thirst of fans with some great drink specials. So get your orange on and join us for the opening group stage matches (and hopefully more) on:

Friday, June 13 at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, June 18 at 12 p.m.

Monday, June 23 at 12 p.m.

As always, Borrel at the Ossington will continue every Sunday from 1-6 p.m. for those of you who would like to sample Dutch foods without being surrounded by fanatics decked out in orange. Hup Holland!

Welcome to Borrel at The Ossington!

justinFor the past several years I hosted an annual “Holland Day in Canada,” a completely made up holiday where I served up traditional Dutch foods to friends at my home in Toronto. What originally started as a bit of a lark — after all, who’s going to like kale mixed with mashed potatoes — was met with surprising enthusiasm. I continued to expand my repertoire every year, trying out new dishes from my home country and delighting in the fact that they translated to Canadian palates. So much so that I thought, “If my friends like this food, maybe other Torontonians will too.” In February 2014, I decided to find out.

Every Sunday afternoon from 1-6 p.m. you can find me and my wonderful fiancee Alison Broverman serving up traditional Dutch fare at The Ossington bar (61 Ossington Avenue). Known for its rowdy reputation on weekend nights, the bar is transformed into a cozy and relaxed environment — gezellig, as the Dutch say — where people can enjoy such Dutch treats as krokets, poffertjes, frikandellen, and even some not-so-Dutch dishes including our homemade corned beef sandwiches. It’s become the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon and enjoy a few drinks and snacks while catching up with friends.

It’s our hope to continue reuniting Dutch expats with their beloved national cuisine while introducing Toronto to the nosh of the Netherlands for many years to come. Tot gauw!


Photos by Jesse Kinos-Goodin