Wasabi marshmellowMore pictures
Doing a search on the internet I found that Amsterdam and the surrounding areas has rather a large number of Michelin restaurants. This gave me rather a few choices to ponder when looking for a place to eat while out there last year. I also found that most of the good restaurant websites were in Dutch, a language that I have absolutely no understanding of. I do appreciate a pretty picture though and after looking at their website I decided that Ron Blauuw was the place for me.
Recently(ish) opened in Amsterdam after finding fame about 9 miles away in Ouderkerk aan de Amste I was surprised (at the time as I realised this during the meal) to discover that Ron Blaauw was actually a 2 starred Michelin establishment; the taxi driver didn’t seem to know the place, the building seemed to look rather homely and the staff extremely friendly – none of the pomp and rigor that I’ve received from similar restaurants in the UK.
On sitting down I started to twig on the standard of the place. Before I had even been shown the menu I was presented with a double punch amuse bouche of a smoked egg foam and fish roe (presented in a shell) and a chive crusted croquette topped with a fresh, crisp radish. Both perfectly presented and delicate one bite dishes; by this time I thought it was worth checking on my iPhone exactly where I was and discovered the standards that were being worked towards. At this point I was presented with the menu, and some delicious fresh locally baked bread and went for the ’6 course Amsterdam menu’. The style of menu gives nothing much away in regard to what you’ll be experiencing; no cooking preparations and no well know dishes mentioned – just a list of ingredients for each course. A menu that excites as much as it intrigues and sets up for numerous surprises.
After another 3 amuse bouche was it finally time to start the menu. Unfortunately I can’t quite remember exactly what they all were but there was beetroot, a savory ice cream cone and courgette flowers, and they were all fantastically leading me up to the first course. The menu read ‘goose liver, eel and watermellon’, the dish was as pretty as a picture, indeed it could be said that is WAS a picture with the ingredients being presented on a wide white plate and representing the Amsterdam sky-line. This might all sound a little tacky but take away the presentation and all the ingredients worked with each other. The sweet watermelon washed away the extreme richness of both the eel and the goose liver. It would have been easy to let style win over substance here but thankfully this was not the case.
Further indulgence followed with a scallop, mussels and thai style curry dish followed by oyster, potato and bone marrow; no such intricate presentation but flavours that went together on a fork. Not being a shell fish fan normally I was a bit worried about both but they were simply cooked with extra layers of taste and texture being added to them by the accompanying ingredients and garnishes. Maybe not what I would normally order but that’s the joy of a tasting menu, and why I like them so.
Monkish followed and was paired with generous shavings of truffle, cauliflower and a local cheese. Cauliflower was presented twice in the dish, as raw thinly sliced florets and fried ‘scraps’ giving a mixture of texture and a pleasant crunch. Was a bit confused with the fish and truffle combination at first but thanks to the steak like quality that monkfish has it was a winner, especially with a bit of cauliflower to bite through beforehand.
Finishing off the main courses was the most ‘traditional’ plate of the night, a pink flesh but crisp skinned duck breast with a rich beer based gravy and mushrooms. Nothing unexpected here, just delicious tastes that provide no surprises. The use of beer in the gravy gave it a slightly deeper taste than one based with wine, I’ll be sure to give it a go next time I’m making gravy as I did indeed finish off any leftovers with a spoon.
Pudding was a double header (following yet more small amuses’) based around 4 key ingredients of white chocolate/carrot and peaches/baileys with their inspiration coming very much for the world of haute cusine. Neither peach nor carrot were visually represented on the plate by their name-sakes but instead a chocolate shell filled with a familiar tasting cream; and both were excellent. Normally the only deconstruction that I think carrot cake needs is a couple of cuts with a knife but the faux carrot served next to a white chocolate ice-cream and sat upon some crumble and candied carrots brought a huge smile to my face and was a great finish to the meal. Put all these ingredients at once on a fork and you have a carrot cake, simple as that!
For ‘just’ a 6 course meal you get a very generous amount of food and some excellent bread for a good price (€95). The front of house staff all seemed to be foodies and therefore all seemed to be having a good time serving people, which is always a cool thing to see. This hasn’t been a critical review – I can’t think of anything to criticise. Not all ingredients being explained on paper (for instance the black cube in the monkfish dish)? Seems just like being nasty for nothing. If you’re in Amsterdam I would strongly recommend a visit.Tweet