DINING OWL AWARDS: 1st – wine list; 5th – sommelier; 1st – petits fours; 4th – canapés
When I visited: August 2015
Location: Amsterdam, within the Waldorf Astoria hotel
Team: Sidney Schutte (Executive Chef), Sascha Speckemeier (Restaurant Manager), Willem van der Geer (Head Sommelier)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: 2 stars
What to wear: Men – shirt and jacket and nice trousers and shoes; women – a smart dress and/or smart trousers and a top (although some diners were dressed more casually)
Course of the meal: Carabinero with red pepper, vegetables and ginger
If I could change one thing: Leave menu cards on the table
When we were escorted down through the hotel to this intimate, calm-looking restaurant with its blue and green colour scheme and views across a secluded garden, my partner Owl and I had a good feeling that we might be in for a 5-hoot experience and we were not disappointed. Our first impression was of attentive staff and pretty decor, with glass-blown tulips on the tables.
We began with a customary glass each of house Champagne (Henriot Brut, about 15 euro each) with which we had some lovely canapés: grapefruit in an oyster with green olive, chicken liver in a crisp, crispy pawpaw with yellow curry sauce, haddock liver and beetroot, and lemon foam with caviar and lime foam with fried sardine head and tail.
The wine list was extremely reasonable in terms of prices and the sommelier was very helpful and recommended a favourite of his – a bottle of red Radford Dale Frankenstein (so named as the creator apparently thought he had a ‘monster wine’ on his hands!) 2014 from South Africa for 65 euro. The bread we were given was also delicious – warm and doughy with 2 types of butter on another glass-blown dish (caramelised, and Jersey cream).
We went for the signature tasting menu (6 courses for 112.5 euro each). This began with red mullet sashimi with magnolia lukewarm sauce and a quenelle of sorbet, followed by my favourite course (which would also have been on the set lunch menu) – Carabinero with red pepper, vegetables and ginger. Next came bleu lobster with pickled strawberries and little beetroot pieces: fresh and delicious.
The meaty part of the meal consisted of a small perfect piece of pork belly with fish on top with traditional Dutch green sauce including fennel coating it, followed by lamb marinated for 3 days in spiced yoghurt (some of which was poured at the table). There was then an ‘interlude’ course of a sweet Waldorf salad with a quenelle of vegetable sorbet and sweet walnuts and raisins, followed by one of the most innovative desserts I’ve had in a while – a taco made of caramel with jalapeños and roasted sweetcorn.
We had a green tea each with spectacular mignons: a foam crisp with mojito centre, frozen apples with little appletini on top, and 4 green to red cocktail themed chocolates on wooden L and Z letters – an espresso martini, mini churros with cream on top, a Cosmo macaron, and yellow margarita bubbles with meringue.
This restaurant truly deserves its 2 Michelin stars and visiting was a lovely experience from start to finish.