woensdag 25 december 2013

Merry Xmas - December 2013 restaurant update Amsterdam

Gebroeders Hartering

Great expectations when the menu was explained to us. We decided to go for the 9 course dinner.
In all honesty, that was too much food. So stick with the 6 course dinner.
We didn't get a bottle of wine, excellent choices of wines were poured in with each course.
The interior upstairs is funky industrial yet cozy looking, a lot of wood. We were downstairs, where it was a lot more quiet, but the interior down there is a bit dark and gloomy, not to say depressing. 
So try to eat a 6 course dinner upstairs.

You don't get to choose. It's a fixed menu, shared dining style, which seems to be the norm in Amsterdam nowadays. 

These are the 9 courses we got to samples: (sorry in Dutch, didn't feel like translating)

1. Griet|Rammenas|Postelein|Ponzu2. Langoustine vd Grill|Piment|Peterselie3. 3x Aardpeer|Zeeduivel|Lever|Knoflookboter4. Runderwang|Doré|Wilde paddenstoelen|Jus de veau5. Porchetta|Andijvie|Prei Coulis|Gepekelde citroen6. Ribstuk|Rode kool|Germenteerde kool7. Cheddar|large adrahan|blue de chevre8. Creme brulee manderijn9. Kardemom ijs|Koffie|karamel

This is a great place for those of you who want to have their taste buds spoiled.
It's not cheap, but it's not really overpriced. Highly recommended.


Hiding in Plain Sight

Tip: after dinner at Gebroeders Hartering go next door for amazing cocktails in a 30ies retro setting.


There is a very peculiar structure at Haparandadam (a Dam we (de Vries & van de Wiel) made by the way). It's REM Eiland. It was constructed in Cork and placed by Heerema cranes in the North Sea 9km out of the coast near Noordwijk.
The platform in the sea was used by Reclame Exploitatie Maatschappij to broadcast commercial tv in Holland, which was illegal in 1963. Illegal commercial broadcasts had to take place from ships (like the Veronica ship, which is now moored at NDSM-werf, or platforms in international waters).
3 months after broadcasting began the Dutch Government seized the platform after they altered legislation and Rijkswaterstaat used it as a measuring station in 1974.
In 2006 the platform was demolished and transported to Flushing by DEME's floating crane Rambiz. 

The building is spectacular, so are the views over the city, the Houthaven, the IJ and the Port of Amsterdam. It's a good vantage point to see DEME's (de Vries & van de Wiel) land reclamation works in the Houthaven.

The interior is well done, industrial robust setting, a lot of wood, steel and aluminum is used. Because of all the lights, it's very light and bright. A very comfortable place to be. In summer there is also a roof terrace. My plan is to return in summer or spring and enjoy a sunset over Amsterdam dinner.

REM Eiland serves lunch, it's Dutch lunch, so don't expect an elaborate menu. However they do have a sea fruit platter, which we sampled. It's a cold Normandy style platter with a variety sea food, some mussels, crab legs, langoustine, 2 oysters, a variety of clams. It tasted fresh and good. A decent sauvignon blanc was served alongside.

Dutch & Co

Didn't feel like cooking or ordering in, so we decided to head out in the neighborhood and score a dinner at Dutch & Co. This New York style international restaurant compares itself with the Standard Grill and Felix in NYC with added Amsterdam 'Gezelligheid'. They shouldn't. There isn't that much Amsterdam 'Gezelligheid' at Dutch & Co and they definitely don't live up to the standards set by Standard Grill and Felix. But true enough, it's obvious that they copied the interior style of the Standard Grill.

When we entered we were given a table, but weren't told there was a huge Xmas party going on in the same room right next to our table, with people giving speeches through microphones and amps. A lot of running around, a lot of cheering. It would have been polite of the staff to warn us at least for this. After quite a wait we were given menus and after an even longer wait our orders were taken.   

We went for steak, one medium rare, one rare. While we waited for our food to arrive plates and dishes were transferred from the kitchen into the dining area above our heads and coats, because the party had blocked the stairs leading from the kitchen into the dining area. 

The interior is indeed stylish, cosmopolitan looking, but the acoustics are horrible. When our food finally arrived a dog, brought in by another diner, came to visit our table. This is also something you wouldn't get at the Standard Grill, or any New York restaurant. Back to the food. The steak was nothing spectacular, not seasoned in a way good NYC steak houses would do, it wasn't cooked perfectly either, half my steak was well done, the other half was medium rare, because of the hectic environment and because we wanted to get out of there asap we decided not to make a fuss. The quality of the steak was not mind blowing either. The steak came with a mediocre salad and OK french fries.

Doggie visiting our table at Dutch & Co.

Because of the crowd, the atmosphere, the mediocre food, the dog ...we decided not to get deserts. We got the check, paid around 50 € for 2 steaks 2 wines and some water and headed out. 
The golden rule we thought was to avoid places who flaunt Dutchness or have Dutch in the name of their business.

Hugo's Bar & Kitchen

There is a new hotspot in West, very near the Jordaan on Hugo de Groot plein.
A very modern, big city chic interiour, hip people, good service, waiters who know their stuff. All good things. There is a big city feel about the place for sure.

We went for the 4 course menu:

Started with a steak tartare. Truly delicious.
Then we had very tender beef.
But the plat de resistance was definitely the game, with an amazing duck sauce!
All the food was well prepared, excellent quality was used. The chef definately used his creativity to spice up the dishes and used seasonal ingredients in a very clever way.

Hugo's also makes pretty decent cocktails, we didn't sample them yet. Next time we visit Hugo's we'll not go on a schoolnight! A cool gem in Amsterdam West near Jordaan.


Wilde Zwijnen

The nearest culinary hotspot to our project Sluiseiland Zeeburg (sluiseilandzeeburg Facebook) is Wilde Zwijnen on Javaplein. It was a matter of days before we had dinner there, and a matter of weeks to have a lunch. It's a place that keeps surprising me with their dishes, one of the more creative chefs in Amsterdam knows how to dazzle your mind with creative local ingredients.

On the other side of the table a very spectacular and absolute delicious sauerkraut soup appeared. 
I received a wonderful venison steak tartare with a quale egg. A very clever and wonderful dish.
The appetizers were followed by the perfect ravioli on the other side of the table. I was treated by the chef to a perfectly cooked pike-perch with a sort of muffin made of parsley-root, garnished with red beets and celery. Absolutely amazing!


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