‘t Amsterdammertje* – Loenen (January 2018)

For Christmas, Chantal gave a me quarterly lunches/dinners for 2018. 😍 Intended to stimulate more fine dining posts here, but clearly some self-interest was involved as the fine print implied that she would have to accompany me and that she would not be the designated driver. Oh, man!! Â đŸ€”

Anyway, my first choice was Restaurant ‘t Amsterdammertje*, situated in a beautifully remodeled monumental Dutch farmhouse in the quaint town of Loenen aan de Vecht, a 20-minute drive south from Amsterdam.

After gaining experience at Michelin-starred chefs like Ron Blaauw, Jan de Wit, previously of nearby De Neederlanden in Vreeland and now of Le Restaurant in Amsterdam, AndrĂ© Gerrits became sous chef at Tonny Berentsen’s De Kromme Dissel already at 21 and returned to Ron Blaauw after 5 years.

’t Amsterdammertje’ was a well-known regional restaurant since the 1980s, one of the country’s first brasseries to offer a 3-course Ă  la carte menu. In 2009, AndrĂ© and his wife GeneviĂšve took over the restaurant (with initial support of Ron Blaauw’s HME-group) and turned the brasserie into a fine dining restaurant. He got awarded a Michelin star already in November 2010 and maintained it since.

Modern, pure and honest with an authentic foundation; their dishes take you all over the world, paying homage to a variety of international cuisines, aiming for a unique, memorable experience in a relaxed and accessible atmosphere. They succeeded in that. From the chef welcoming you personally to the relaxed, friendly and knowledgable service, they assured you feeling at ease.

We had a booked a fixed 4-course lunch via Diningcity. It actually was a reprise of their “Dining with the Stars” menu in view of the fact that ‘t Amsterdammertje got one of the highest ratings during the regular period. The offer was EUR 45,50 instead of the regular EUR 59 for a 4-course menu. We had the choice to add two different starters/entrĂ©es (Pork Belly and Gado Gado) for EUR 9.50 each and I opted for one additional course: the Pork Belly. All courses were also available on their regular menu, so I got a good sampling of what they have to offer. Consequently, Chantal had a 5-course vegetarian surprise menu. A very nice wine pairing option was offered with a range of French, Spanish and German whites, an Argentinian red and an Hungarian dessert wine (EUR 7,75 / EUR 4,25 per full/half glass).

Generally, the dishes were well executed, plenty flavourful, but not entirely without flaws. Nothing huge, but from the starters the cheese bitterbal still had a solid center and the empanada / spring roll were lukewarm. The slow cooked pork tasted very nice, but the almost corned beef-like structure was not exactly what you’d expect of pork belly. The vegetarian dishes could have been a bit more stand-alone / adventurous rather than “the vegetarian version of the regular dish”, but were tasty nonetheless.

On the upside: the skrei and beef dishes were excellent, especially the braised beef neck with star anise was delicious. We both were blown away by the dessert: bold and acidic apple and lemon flavours and textures, delicately balanced with the sweet notes from the sugar bread and the great Tokaji wine pairing. Excellent conclusion of a very nice lunch.

Below a visual impression of our lunch:

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Millefeuille sticks with spicy hummus and green olives

Perusing the menu, we started off with glass of bubbly, skipping the Cava and Moet & Chandon (the special Cuveé for the Alliance Gastronomique that we had before) and there opted instead for a more Chardonnay-based Brut by Ruinart (EUR 15,50) and a predominantly Pinot Noir-based one from Drappier (EUR 13,50).

The starters are a trip around the world: (clockwise)

  • Paris: Poached egg yolk, Foam, Croutons, Chives and Herring roe
  • USA: Spiced Corn Waffles with Sweet Potato ice-cream and Crispy Chicken Skin Crumble
  • Holland: Cheese Bitterbal with Mustard
  • Antilles: Spring Roll / Tuna Salad Empanada with pickled red onion

On to the actual menu:

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1. SCALLOP 
Pickled and steamed scallop with granité and panna cotta of tarragon, vadouvan and green herbs (Chantal’s minus the scallops and more panna cotta)
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2. SKREI
Flan of skrei baked on brioche bread with beurre blanc of caramelized onion. Chantal’s version had charred Chicory as a base
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3. PORK
Softly cooked pork belly with oyster cracker, oyster cream and sorrel sauce
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Chantal’s version had various preparations of parsnip, chestnut, red onion cracker and sorrel sauce
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4. BEEF
Roasted sirloin steak with ‘pommes paolo’, candied kale, cream of fermented garlic and red wine sauce with long grain pepper. (Chantal’s version had more kale and obviously didn’t have the beef)
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5. APPLE
Sugar bread, crémeux with Granny Smith, lemon and brandy and buttermilk ice cream
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FRIANDISES that came with our coffee/tea (EUR 7). Especially the Madeleine with hemp seed on the right was surprisingly crunchy. The miniature bar of chocolate on the right was meant to bring home and make yourself some hot chocolate milk.

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