The phrase going Dutch when applied to eating out, used only to imply that the final cost of the meal would be divided between its participants. Today, with the rise of Amsterdam as a happening and much sought after culinary destination, the term has taken on a far more eloquent and elegant meaning. There is a small hub of relatively new and forward thinking venues leading this wonderful development and driving the city towards a new and dynamic culinary renaissance.
Located on the 19th Floor of the A’Dam Tower, this slowly revolving restaurant offers not only a complete, hour-long visual tour of the city skyline but a remarkable dining experience. If Amsterdam was known for food at all in the past it was for more predictable French style dining or local signature dishes, but all that is about to change and Moon is at the fore-front of that revolution.
A new breed of chef is behind these changes, chefs such as Jaime van Heije whose European and Indonesian heritage are reflected in his occidental meets oriental flavours such belly pork infused with the expected rosemary and thyme but also with the more exotic tastes of lemon and coriander. Dishes such as scallops and eggplant puree topped with shaved truffles indicate the playful fresh and uniquely blended fusions on offer at this exciting scene leader.
Away from the vibrant urban hustle and bustle of the docklands area, Restaurant Breda celebrates both the gourmet flavours synonymous with the south of Netherlands and the international scope of the capital’s new found status amongst the culinary elite. Although located in the historic heart of the city, chef Freet van Noorwijk is sure of the venue’s direction, eschewing traditions and the restrictive rules of the past to cook in an adventurous fashion but favouring simple rustic flavours and local products.
The eclecticism of their menu may see you dining on watercress dressed cured haddock with herring roe and crème fraiche followed by a plate of Brussels sprouts, tossed with pickled onions, truffles and ham. At the other extreme the local rib-eye may just be accompanied by sorrel granita and ginger yogurt. From the extravagant to the simplistic all within the same menu.
In the southern, revitalised museum region and located itself in a wing of the Rijksmuseum, this restaurant has received a lot of attention for its locally sourced produce and slow-food attitude. Not only are Dutch veal, beef, pork and fish highlights of the menu any time of year, they also get much inspiration from the museum exhibitions as well. If a big Asian exhibition is on show there, expect guest cooks specialising in the culinary richness of that culture to be brought on board to help create complimenting dishes.
C, which stands for Celsius, is located in Amsterdam’s eastern quarter and takes a unique approach to the divisions on their menu buy dividing them into four sections based on cooking temperatures- raw and cold; low temperature; steamed and cooked; and grilled, plancha, or tempura. The result is a dining experience that heats up as you eat, literally, ranging from ice cream cooled tuna tartare to warm crispy noodle plates, hot pasta dishes and final entrees such as sizzling masala or spicy chorizo flavours .
Amsterdam has made its name throughout history for many reasons, for its military prowess, intricate canals and socially for a tolerant attitude and relaxed nightlife. Now it is about to add another accolade to its list of notable offerings as nothing less than the new and growing culinary centre for cutting edge dining.