Whether you live in Amsterdam or are planning a visit, it’s easy to fall in the trap of only looking for restaurants around the city centre – but what a mistake that would be! Much like the UK, where some of the best restaurants have become a destination in their own right; Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir in Oxfordshire to name just a couple, the best restaurant I’ve visited in Amsterdam is also away from the popular tourist traps. Just a 10 minute bike ride South East from the city centre, just past the Artis Zoo, Tropenmuseum and Oosterpark you’ll fine the ever-popular Jacobsz restaurant.
Even on a Sunday evening when we parked our bikes up outside the restaurant, rosy cheeked from the brisk bike ride and pressing our cold noses up against Jacobsz’s windows, the restaurant was heaving with activity.
We walked through the grand looking entrance into a hallway that seemingly separated two dining areas; the main restaurant on the right was filled with loud chatter as every table was taken by animated groups of friends and couples, and on the left was a quieter bar / brasserie area. Upstairs there’s a smoking room with a gentleman’s club feel, and a large private dining space.
We made our way into the main restaurant where we were shown to our table; candle-lit and laid with gorgeous glassware, cutlery and napkins, but with not a table cloth in sight the restaurant managed to create a more informal atmosphere.
Before studying the wine menu we were persuaded by their signature house cocktail; a frothy concoction of white beer, ginger ale and gin that we practically inhaled. Definitely one to try at home!
Our drinks came with a basket of warm doughy bread and a super fluffy burnt butter which was absolutely out of this world: so light it was almost a mousse, it dissolved instantly in your mouth like ice cream and left behind a heavenly salted caramel after taste that made you desperate for more.
Although there was a regular wine menu featuring their every day wines, the sommelier also offered the special wine menu; a leather-bound notebook of curated wines that he had picked himself – with a background story about each of the vineyards (he’s visited every single one, and knows each family on a first name basis).
In this notebook there was only one or two of each bottle, and they were surprisingly inexpensive (around the €40 mark). When one of those bottles is ordered, it’s crossed off the menu; in other words, when its gone, it’s gone!
— Lotte Brouwer (@yespleaseblog) November 6, 2017
We were recommended a German Pinot Noir, which was one of the sultriest, smoothest and sexiest Pinot Noirs we’ve tasted. You’ll want to take it home with you.
There was only a choice of 3 options for each meal; a choice of 3 starters, 3 in-betweens, 3 mains and 3 desserts to choose from. The prices were the same; you either paid for €34 for 3 courses, €42 for 4, or €49 for 5 courses.
The meal started with an amuse bouche of fennel and tarragon fudge-like cake topped with tarragon. It was like a savoury liquorice fudge cookie dough butter that melted instantly on your tongue. Whatever it was, and however they made it, it was mind-blowing.
Our starters came quickly thereafter. Mine a thin, rare carpaccio served with a smokey crème fraîche and crispy black pudding crumbs. Jonathan’s was raw sashimi that came in a fragrant pool of miso dressing. My starter won hands down.
Next, dry mussels served with powdered tarragon and potato soufflé, while he enjoyed his beetroot leaves, macadamia crumble, egg yolk and mushroom sauce with salsify (a root vegetable belonging to the dandelion family).
My favourite dish was the celeriac with peanut crumble topping. A vegetarian main, yet hugely satisfying and scrumptious.
Jonathan was bowled over with his Iberico main with saurkraut and mushroom cep (even though he claims he hates mushrooms). The Iberico really was incredible, the meat falls apart and has a pulled pork texture to it, with a salted ham flavour.
Finally, a cheese board completed our meal with a selection of gooey and unusual Dutch cheeses.
We were one of the last to leave, and still found ourselves talking about the meal days later. Highly recommended.