Bolenius Restaurant* – Amsterdam (Feb 2016)

With the kids away the entire day on playdates/birthday parties, we had some time on our hands to have a lunch with Koen and Erica at Bolenius Restaurant in Amsterdam. Bolenius restaurant started late 2010 amid the modern high-rise buildings of the business centre of Amsterdam (Zuid-As). Owners Luc Kusters (chef; having worked in a slew of Michelin starred restaurants, like La Rive, Vossius en Le Cirque) en Xavier Giesen (host, before at Amstel Hotel and Restaurant De Kas) describe the kitchen of Bolenius as ‘New Amsterdam’.

In this New Amsterdam kitchen, a mix of local ingredients and old-fashioned spices is used with respect for traditions and nature, resulting in biological and seasonal menus. Bolenius offers a great variety of products from their own herb and kitchen garden around the corner of the restaurant: eating more “local” than this in a city will be quite difficult!

Both Luc and Xavier have been awarded in 2012 with the highest levels of proficiency in the Dutch restaurant business: SHV Master cook and SHV Master host. Bolenius took the Best Dutch Vegetable restaurant 2015 award and recently Xavier was awarded the Gault&Millau Host of the Year 2016 award. In short, they are seasoned “veterans of the trade” with great attention to detail and presented with flair.


UPDATE December 2016: Bolenius was awarded a (well deserved) first Michelin Star!


One of such small details that secretly made me very happy: their oil for dipping the bread was infused with about 20 different spices and each of the courses would bring different spices to the foreground, making it taste distinctly different throughout the lunch. Nice!!

We went there on Saturday February 13 to avoid all the Valentine Day’s specials, but ended up with a Valentine’s Day menu. Luckily, they said that it was their regular menu and only the dessert was following the Love theme, but warned us that they did went a little overboard on that one (Grant Achatz-style of Chicago’s three Michelin-starred restaurant Alinea)…

They sure did as you can see in below pics, but it all added to the overall fantastic experience: stunning dishes (sometimes rather unusual combinations, but always with vegetables that were chockfull of flavour), excellent wine pairings and very pleasant, attentive and knowledgable service. Highly recommended!

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A nice start with a Veuve Cliquot Rosé Champagne. I unfortunately didn’t get a pic of the first amuse, but it was a fantastic re-interpretation of a typical Amsterdam accompaniment for drinks called “borrelgarnituur” which typically consists of cubes of cheese, slices of “ossenworst” (a sausage made from spiced aged beef that is only cold smoked so the meat stays raw) served with “Amsterdamse uien” (pickled baby onions with saffron and turmeric).  Bolenius’ take on this was a thumb sized cheese tuile/cone filled with ossenworst mousse and topped with a mini scoop of sorbet ice made from Amsterdamse uien.

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Amuses: “Boekweit / Cranberry”, “Pastei / Aubergine” en “Rammenas / Knol / Vadouvan”
Taster plate: “Buckwheat / Cranberry”, “Pastry / Aubergine ” and “Black Radish / Turnip / Vadouvan”

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“Wintergroenten / Bonen / Hazelnoot”
Winter vegetables / Beans / Hazelnut

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“Kreeft / Radijs / Aalbes / Roos”
Lobster / Radish / Currant / Rose

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“Uien compote / Portobello / Truffel”
Onion Compote / Portobello Mushroom / Truffle

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“Oester / Skrei / Zeekraal / Kokkels”
Oyster / Atlantic Cod / Samphire / Cockles
The purple hues on the picture are from the lights above the table that sometimes changed color to complement the dish being served. Details, details, details!

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The vegetarian version with more maritime greens and puffed quinoa crackers

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“Kleigebakken bietje met Truffel” 
This deliciously sweet beetroot was baked in clay. At the table they cracked the casing open with a mallet and then peeled the beetroot, before slicing and serving among others with a nice shaving of truffle.

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Sukade / Truffel / Hete Bliksem
Sous vide cooked Flat Iron Steak  / truffle / “hot lightning”; a Dutch potato stew with sweet apples, sour apples and onions
It was time for the dessert… The entire table was cleared and 2 huge rounds of plastic film were laid on the table. We got our cutlery and wineglass set directly in front of us. Soon after pretty much the entire kitchen team came out with 2 trolleys packed with all the components and started assembly right in front of us: A crème brûlée poured into a glass cylinder – and only set on the table – finished with a disc of burnt sugar, a tuile filled with a ginger beer mousse, a white chocolate bon-bon filled with Bloody Mary(!), various crumbles, popping candy and  white chocolate yoghurt and red fruit coulis “paints”. The centrepiece was an amazing sugar blown heart filled with popcorn, edible paper and mini meringues. Now it was our time to wield the mallet….

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❤️+ 🔨 = 💔
The lunch set us back EUR 125 per person. Not very cheap, but as it included a glass of champagne as appetizer, a 5-course menu with wine pairings and water/coffee/tea service, we thought it was well worth it. Again, highly recommended!

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