The end of the year is list time! And in good style Amsterdam city magazine NL20 has published a list of newly opened restaurants that they got around to reviewing in 2008.
The NL20 list covers about 25 new Amsterdam restaurants organized by neighborhood.
Mashua on Prinsengracht is one of the reviews of restaurants located in the center of Amsterdam. Mashua was created by the people running Casa Peru, so I went there soon after its opening upon their recommendation. Unfortunately Mashua does not have the home-style cooking and service that made me love Casa Peru. And even worse, Casa Peru has since also lost its laid back charm.
Some notable mentions outside of the center are The Colour Kitchen, the Dutch version of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Italian traiteur Frenzi Cucina that sells a good Ripasso wine and dessert only restaurant Sucre; all in the west of Amsterdam.
Right next door from Sucre, but missing from the NL20 list, is one of my favorite new restaurants of 2008: Restaurant Blauw on Amstelveenseweg serves a refreshingly different, modern Indonesian cuisine.
And again just a few steps further on Amstelveenseweg is Umoja, one of Mapplr’s favorite additions to the Amsterdam restaurant scene of the last five years.
What’s your favorite new restaurant in Amsterdam? For inspiration see the recently opened section of Dinnersite, which has a more complete and searchable list of new restaurants in the Netherlands.
Last weekend, I discovered an unusual type of pasta at Mediterranean restaurant cum deli Puyck on Ceintuurbaan in de Pijp.
My regular source for ingredients for Italian food is Feduzzi on Scheldestraat near the RAI. They have the best Parmaham and Parmesan in Amsterdam. I was, however, in de Pijp on the other side of town. And simply in need of some decent tomato sauce. Feduzzi was too far away and I remembered a little Italian traiteur by Sarphatipark. It’s called Puyck and belongs to the restaurant with the same name on Ceintuurbaan.
So I went there, had a look around, and discovered an unusual type of pasta – gnocchi filled with basil and mozzarella. Unlike regular gnocchi, they have a round shape. The flavor and texture is almost like German-style dumplings. And they have a mozzarella and basil filling.
Other than that, I thought Puyck was ok but certainly not worth going out of my way to pick up ingredients. The service was obnoxious. I was asked if I needed any help and replied that I wanted to have a look around. Unfortunately, the owner followed me around the entire store, breathing down my neck and commenting on everything. He was knowledgeable, but also annoying. Puyck has a large selection of different kinds of olive oil that they fill in little bottles. And they sell all the wines that the restaurant has on its wine list. It’s an interesting selection and I went home with a bottle of Sicilian Viognier that I have not tried yet.
A few weeks ago I posted about the Christmas menu at De Witte Uyl, one of my favorite restaurants in Amsterdam.
They also have a Christmas take-away that they are now doing for the third time. It’s a great offer for people who want delicious food that is easy to prepare at home. It’s €50,- per person for a slightly adapted version of the Christmas menu in the restaurant, including salmon, scallops, duck, and a tarte tatin of pear.
You will need to call them before Monday 22 December to pre-order.
Cafe de Curtis is a small Italian restaurant in the Jordaan. It’s simple but good.
Some reviewers complain that the food is too simple and that the service is arrogant. I disagree. The food is no frills – focused on just the right ingredients and perfect preparation. And while the service might seem blunt, it’s correct and knowledgeable. My impression is that the people who run de Curtis take pride in what they serve.
The building is typical Jordaan. The restaurant floor long and narrow, laid out around the open kitchen. Cafe de Curtis is really small with less than ten tables. There is one large table by the entrance, which is great for larger groups and also fun when shared by several guests and some of the regulars. Then there are a few tables for 2 or 4 people along the side wall, opposite the kitchen.
The walls are decorated with posters of classic Italian movies, mostly featuring Napolitanean actor Totò, known in real life as Antonio de Curtis. We were sitting at a table below Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg bathing in the Trevi Fountain in Rome…
The menu is small and written on a chalkboard. The dishes are simple classics like Bresaola, Caprese salad, Spaghetti Vongole or Saltimbocca. When we went last Friday, the waiter was very helpful. That night he set us up with a delicious Dolcetto wine (Famiglia Marrone) that was not on the main wine list. We loved it. It was unusually strong for a Dolcetto, but still had its typical smooth and distict flavor.
The pasta – penne with pumpkin and taleggio – was only average. The penne were slightly overcooked and the sauce was a little too thick. The rest of the dinner was fantastic. The Filetto with rucola and parmesan was close to perfection. The meat was tasty, tender and cooked just right – without even having to ask for medium / rare. The home made panna cotta was equally good and. It had just the right consistency and was the perfect finish of the dinner.
You can find de Curtis on 2e Anjeliersdwarsstraat 6hs.
Momo Restaurant opened in Amsterdam in early October to much acclaim. I have been wanting to go for a while, but could not get a reservation either on Wednesday or Friday. Momo was fully booked.
Momo is located on the ground floor of the Park Hotel on Hobbemakade. It’s run by head chef Anthony Sousa Tam, formerly of Inamo, London and Nobu, NYC. According to their web site it’s a modern pan Asian cuisine restaurant with a cocktail bar. With a menu designed for sharing where you pass plates amongst friends.
The reviews are polarizingly mixed – either excellent, praising the innovative food and trendy design, or outright bad, complaining about the high prices and arrogant service. Opinionated Parool critic Johannes van Dam tore Momo apart, awarding only a 5 on a scale of 10 and calling it a loud club rather than a restaurant.
Hope I’ll manage to get a table soon and check it out for myself!
Over the last few weeks several wine-related posts on smaak.blogo.nl have mentioned and linked to wijnenwijn.nl, a recently launched portal for online wine shops.
smaak.blogo.nl is one of the food blogs I follow regularly. It’s the food channel of blogo.nl, a Dutch blog network, and written by professional food enthusiasts.
6 wine-related articles were posted over the course of the last 2 months on topics including Dutch wine and Christmas wine. All posts were written by new blogo contributor Karel Hoenderdos, wine lover, writer and also founder of wijnenwijn.nl. Karel did not fail to link to wijnenwijn.nl in any of his articles – so I was curious on what it had to offer.
wijnenwijn has three features – wine news, a wine agenda and search. The news and agenda features are basically empty. The last news article dates from 13 November and there is only a single event – a wine tasting scheduled for 14 December.
Then there is the main feature, wine search. There is full-text as well as an advanced search tab where you can filter by country, region, price and other data. wijnenwijn.nl also has some predefined search queries such as “champagne for EUR 30 or more” and a search service where you can ask a question and leave your email address.
I decided to test search using two of my favorite and somewhat unusual wines as examples. The first test was searching for Ripasso, a red Italian Valpolicella that is pressed a second time on Amarone grapes. The second term was Pacherenc, a spicy French white wine that I discovered recently and have enjoyed a few times since.
wijnenwijn.nl came back with 8 Ripasso wines including well-known Ripasso Tommasi. There was only one result for Pacherenc. For comparison, Dutch wine import database wijninfo.nl contains 23 Ripasso entries and 26 for Pacherenc wines.
There is no information such as reviews or descriptions of the wines on wijnenwijn.nl. Also the search parameters are spotty – information about the year was missing on about half the wines, the color was specified sometimes as “red”, sometimes as “red wine” and also often missing, and the price of the Tommasi Ripasso turned out to be EUR 22,95 instead of the EUR 21,95 listed on wijnenwijn.nl.
wijnenwijn.nl currently aggregates 13 online wine shops with a total of 4.111 wines. The database of wijninfo.nl that I use frequently contains 38.197 wines from 513 wine importers.
In summary, it would be great to have a wine portal where you could find wines, get information and compare prices. However, wijnenwijn.nl currently falls short. There are too few wines and shops and the necessary information such as independent reviews is missing. I will continue to use wijninfo.nl, which has a very complete database, good descriptions and lists shop that sell the wines, although it does not link to them.