Review Score: 92 / 100.
Bord’Eau, which translates to beside the water, is a beautiful restaurant housed in the classic Hotel de L’Europe adjacent to the Rokin canal of Amsterdam, not too far from the Munt Toren (or Mint Tower) and the flower market. The restaurant was quite new in the scene and quickly gained two stars in a span of one year. Clearly, something good is going on in its kitchen.
I was greeted at the restaurant and seated right beside the window, which gave me a fantastic view of the canal and the environs. We started off with some lovely canapes. One of the standouts was the lovely bite of Dutch mussel with Lemongrass jus and dill-calamansi creme, which was delicate and had a nice bit of acidity to it.
I was also blown away by the Mariniere jus of Cockels with Waddenzee Oysters. The flavour of the oyster was omnipresent albeit in a good way, and was a mouthful of intense, briny flavours truly redolent of the sea. This was a ridiculously good amuse bouche.
I was then served the local Farmer’s butter from Southern Netherlands. I was utterly addicted to its richness and one of the rare occasions that I overdid it on the bread and butter, which is not exactly recommended with a heavy degustation menu. But I didn’t care, the butter was just magnificent.
The meal started off with a beautiful veal tartare encased by Potato “os a moelle”, which is to resemble a Bone Marrow. The dish also had smoked herring and a dollop of Kaluga caviar on top. Quite a luxurious course with the finely chopped tartare, salty hit from the caviar, and then balanced by the freme fraiche. Great flavour and very sophisticated indeed.
The next course was Langoustine poached in duck fat with “Katsuoboshi Albufeira” and coffee. The Langoustine was perfectly cooked and uber delicate, with a good dose of Umami from the katsuoboshi flakes (dried Bonito fish). The added coffee gave a nice lingering aroma that was not overpowering at all. A very well executed dish.
Now, for one of my favorites, was the smoked potatoes with roasted chicken broth, Wilde Wide cheese, and preserved black truffles. The smoked potatoes were essentially gnocchis, and with the perfect texture. The flavour combination with the cheese and truffles was unctuous, intense, and ultimately very pleasing. Despite the sophisticated presentation and cookery, the chef certainly isn’t shy with flavours.
Moving on, was a dish of local “Oosterschelde” seabass steamed with raw lime and Shiso broth. A beautiful dish and the seabass was steamed perfectly with a delicate texture. The broth itself had hints of Thai influence, and sort of resembled Tom Kha Gai in terms of fragrance, but the broth was much more delicate with a hints of coconut present. Another well executed dish with good flavour. Some chefs try to incorporate Asian elements into their dishes, but rarely do they get it right like in Bord’Eau by actually integrating the components in a cohesive manner.
A growing trend seems to be using Dairy cow instead of the traditional cows bred for slaughter, as exemplified by Magnus Nilson at Faviken who claimed it was underused but still had great flavour. At Bord’Eau, the chef had used Holsteiner dairy cow whiched was filleted, thinly sliced, and served with hay consomme with lemon thyme and mushrooms. There’s also BBQ oxtail with marrow, creamy polenta, and confiture of onion. The beef was unbelievably tender and rich with the Umami of the mushrooms kicking in, which was well balanced with the smooth polenta and sweet onion confit. An unctuous main course that was comforting.
This was a supplementary dish priced at 23 Euros, and I thought why not? Duck liver steamed above a seaweed broth with Umeboshi. Never had duck liver presented this way, and it had a surprisingly firm but lovely texture, and the richness was nicely balanced by the sweet and sour Umeboshi plum cream. This dish had great Umami notes as well.
As an additional surprise course, was a whimsical dish made from apples that resembled an apple core. A beautifully composed dish of apple sorbet encased within a glass of sugar, and a warm apple tart beneath. Great flavours and visually very appealing. Pre-dessert courses can sometimes appear to be an afterthought in terms of creativity, but this was a definite exception.
For the final dessert course, was Birch leaf anglaise with toasted birch wood, birch juice consomme with birch vinegar. The consomme was like a lighter version of Maple syrup, but still quite fragrant and smelled like Birch. The vinegar provided some acidity to balance out the richness. Another visually appealing dish and had good flavour and texture, the latter from the toasted birch wood.
After completing the petit fours and coffee, I felt that I was truly in my happy place. Some restaurants go for sophisticated courses that are quite beautiful to look at, but honestly didn’t have a whole lot of flavour going on e.g. Odette in Singapore. Bord’Eau, on the other hand, is very refined cuisine but the chef isn’t shy with flavours and manages to coax a lot of it from the ingredients. Most courses were visually appealing, and most importantly, tasted amazing! I’m quite happy to return here whenever I’m visiting Amsterdam. Plus, the service was on point and very friendly despite its very classic white table clothed ambience. Fantastic meal to say the least.
Location: Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2-14, 1012 CP Amsterdam, Netherlands. +31 20 531 1777. Website.