5 x places to eat this month
This month’s selection of Amsterdam restaurants includes a variety of bold Asian flavours, a boozy brunch and a classic gastro bistro.
The new one:
Dum Dum Palace
This fresh face on storied Zeedijk – said to be the oldest Chinatown on the European continent, with a history dating to 1911 – stands out from all the old-school Asian restaurants, shops and tourist traps nearby, with its modern décor of curved wooden benches, brick walls and hanging plants, as well as its relaxed, local vibe and pan-Asian menu. The brainchild of the boys behind HotMamaHot, which you may know from festivals such as De Rollende Keukens and De Parade, is one of the few places on Zeedijk where you can get a decent cocktail by day (from €8.00). Lunch here has the typical kaas tosti (toasted cheese sandwich) updated with kimchi (€6.00) and replaces the Dutch broodje with pork belly bahn mi steeped in tamarind caramel (highly recommended, €8.00). There’s also soto ayam, a subtly spiced Indonesian chicken soup served with rice and crisp-fried onions. Night-time brings beats and a more extensive menu, with sticky chicken wings, shiitake bao buns, fries with beef rendang sauce, various housemade dumplings, and oysters with ponzu ‘pearls’. Also look out for house brand booze, such as Panda beer, Willy Wodka vodka and 40 Winks gin.
Zeedijk 37 // www.dumdum.nl
The critic’s choice:
Inspired by contemporary concepts like Nobu and Zuma, chef Schilo van Coevorden ‘plays with Asian ingredients, unrestrained by traditional boundaries’. His typically delicate treatment of the restaurant’s ‘Ingredient of the Year’ – wasabi – shows off the unexpected versatility of the fiery plant (classically used only as a condiment in Japanese cuisine) in daring dishes such as wasabi-spiked panna cotta with uni and caviar, hamachi sashimi with wasabi sorbet, and miso-marinated black cod with wasabi hollandaise. Wasabi also takes a turn in various fruity cocktails and adds punch to yoghurt in a dessert with silky soy ice cream, bracing blackberry crisps and smoked maple syrup (from €85.00 for a 4-course chef’s menu).
Van Baerlestraat 27 (Conservatorium Hotel) // www.conservatoriumhotel.com/taikorestaurant
The classic one:
Kaagman & Kortekaas
With a combined CV that includes revered restaurants such as Bordewijk, Vis aan de Schelde, Rijsel and Toscanini, Amsterdam epicures have been happily placing themselves in the practiced hands of chef Giel Kaagman and sommelier Bram Kortekaas for well over a year. Down a slim alley near Dam square, you’ll find a multi-level restaurant with distressed walls and a simple decor set around a recessed kitchen, providing plenty of opportunity to gawk at the gastro bistro action. While the creative five-course chef’s menu (€52,50) changes regularly, there’s always a harmonious medley of surprising ingredients and traditional techniques, with house-made charcuterie, seafood, venison and veal regularly featuring.
Sint Nicolaasstraat 43 // www.kaagmanenkortekaas.nl
The trendy one:
Attention all parents: the Wing sisters’ new concept means that you can now enjoy a ‘boozy brunch’ and bring the kids along, too. You’ll find all the usual suspects, such as eggs Florentine (€8,00), American pancake stacks with banana, bacon and maple syrup (€7,50), ham-cheese croissants and French toast, and morning cocktails (no judgement!). There’s a kids’ activity table complete with nannies and child-friendly foods such as decorate-it-yourself pancakes and sandwiches. We’ll say cheers to that! Every last Sunday of the month, from 11:00-15:00 (reservations advised).
Beethovenstraat 43 // www.brooksamsterdam.nl
The quick & simple one:
Fou Fow Ramen
We can’t think of a better way to warm up after a shopping run on the renowned 9 straatjes than with fresh Japanese ramen soup: a generous bowlful with slippery noodles, sliced meat (or tofu), soft-set boiled egg, crunchy seaweed and Asian greens in a fragrant chicken, pork or vegetarian broth (from €10,50).
Elandsgracht 2A // www.foufow.nl
Text: Karin Engelbrecht for A-Mag Amsterdam Magazine