vrijdag 31 januari 2014

January Restaurant Update - Amsterdam


Belgian|Limburg cuisine in Oud West.

The place looks urban retro, open kitchen, high tables, low tables, lot's of wood, lot's of copper, lot's of steel. Good acoustics, nice buzz, very comfy, very pleasant.
The food is supposed to be Belgian|Limburg cuisine. Being Belgian (and actually born in Limburg) I found that the menu didn't support their claim. Zoervleisj is on the menu (a typical Dutch-Limburg horse meat dish), there was duck sausage, duck (confit), imported USA beef diaphragm, game sausage, a burger, and a fish (cod). I was unable to spot the Belgian part on their menu apart from maybe the fries and the sauces: Mayonaise and Andalouse. 

I make it a point to consume locally grown products. I'm slightly carbon footprint aware. I just don't like the idea things I eat being transported from overseas if there's perfectly good products locally, or even in Belgium (blanc-blue belge beef for instance).

So I went for the Zoervleisj and confit de canard was selected on the other side of the table. The game sausage was spicy and delicious. The food was well prepared, and the zoervleisj was very harty, tasty and tasted genuine (and something you don't get often in Amsterdam).

The wine was mediocre and not memorable at all. Some more top shelf options would be welcome.

All in all, a fun place to have a meal and excellent value for money. We will be back!


High School Dissapointment

I have been wanting to go check Oldschool out as soon as they opened. It's very close to where I live, they claim to mix art with cuisine, it's in an old school building... a lot of good qualities.

The setting is cool, it's in an old school building, huge venue, a lot of tables, simple lighting, you feel like you're back in school, cool. Unfortunately you also use the old (unrefurbished, plain, dirty) school toilets. Not so cool.

The service is not good. Very clueless, clumsy and slow. When your server is making guesses about what the grey stuff on your plate is, I start to get worried. It took forever to get anything done, a drink, a bottle of wine, menus, first course, main course, the check... we were fed up with waiting, so we decided not to wait for dessert.

The food then: not meeting expectations. Not memorable, very basic, very middle of the road, and they have a very peculiar view on ravioli (see image below). If the chef decides to deconstruct a ravioli, maybe it's worth while mentioning that on the menu. If something is deconstructed, try to be original, creative, think out of the box, go beyond covering the inside of ravioli with a sheet of pasta. Too easy, too middle of the road. The cooking is not excellent, the ruin textures in the kitchen. It's mediocre and the lack of creativity makes it all a little disappointing in a venue like this.

AND the dirty toilets are a disgrace!

 Not highly recommended. I won't go back there.


World class delight

Every now and then it's good to try out established, world class restaurants in our fair city. We decided to try out Yamazato in January (my upstair neighbours often raved about Amsterdam's best Japanese restaurant). They are right though. It's a real treat. Definitely worth their Michelin star (the only Japanese Michelin star outside of Japan)

You're taken to Japan, to sample traditional Japanese haute cuisine. As soon as you take a bow and walk through the door into the restaurant, you're aware that you've left Holland and teleported to Japan. It fits, it works, it's genuine, it's calm, controlled, zen,... Don't expect a daring or hipster decor, it's all about authenticity and Japanese traditions.

The service is courteous, professional, the right amount of presence, friendly with a smile and a wink and... with a lot of knowledge. 

The food is fantastic. True traditional Japanese dishes, top quality ingredients, perfect cooking. Exciting flavours, nothing too modern or creative, pure sensations. We went for the 97,5 euro traditional menu, and spent 45 euro per person on wine. So eating here won't drain your account.

Highlights of the meal were the lackered yakimono cod, the fighting fish sashimi, duck breast with shredded soy sauce and the main course: lobster tempura.

This IS the Japanese embassy in Europe, it's an institute! I will be back here once a year for sure.

Very very very highly recommended.


The best cheese plate in Amsterdam.

Located in the heart of the bustling Pijp. An adult, modern, clean & tight, serious, Scandinavian looking setting. Friendly generous staff who seem to know how the minds of foodies work. Open kitchen, calm and relaxed atmosphere. Somehow this place felt like an oasis in the Pijp to me. Good stuff.

Allright, on to the food. Well, in short, it's very good actually. Especially the appetizer was kind of daring. You don't often see chefs preparing gamba's in a chef's menu.It came with crispy an delicious vegetables, a nice couscous and tasty sauces. I enjoyed it a lot.

The main course was beef diaphragm (Dutch beef) and a stew with tomatoes. Simply delicious. The chef goes for local and seasonal. I can't agree more with that. Top quality products are used, and cooking and seasoning is done to perfection.

Then the dessert! 8 amazing cheeses, good choices, and we got 'encores' on the cheeses we loved most. This is definitely the best cheese plate in town. Excellent price|quality ratio. Add stunning wines to the meal and you'll realize that this place made it on the highly recommended list.

Stay tuned for more reviews!

On my 'to go' list:
- Goudfazant
- Sinne
- Julius
- Kiebert
- Marathonweg
- Voldaan
- Odeon
- Johannes

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