MOST people who travel usually ask their friends for the must see places, buy guide books and book hotels that are conveniently located to the touristy sites.
But when a foodie goes somewhere, the main concern isn’t about the key museums to visit or the best hotel to stay. The one and only question that a foodie asks when he/she travels is: which restaurant should I go to?
There is nothing more frustrating for someone passionate about food then to miss the most exciting culinary opportunities and hear about them…once back on the plane.
Well, it wasn’t going to happen to me this time. Amsterdam was the plan for a long bank holiday weekend and it was decided to make the best of this all too rare opportunity to escape from London for a few days. After having asked the ultimate question, it took about 2.5 seconds for the delightful @catty and the lovely @Aforkful to reply in one voice: De Kas! Well, if the foodies say so…
Holland may not be known for its fine cuisine but with a peculiar relationship with nature and a love for home-grown ingredients, restaurants know how to use the gift of Mother Nature at its best.
And that’s what makes De Kas the new foodie destination. All the ingredients used in the cooking come from their own garden and the farms around. From the bread to the herbs used to season the different dishes, everything is home-made based on the season. The menu changes practically every week, which give you a good reason to come back… again and again.
The venue itself is another excuse to make the trip to Amsterdam. This old greenhouse which dates from 1926, was due to be demolished but was refurbished into a modern restaurant and nursery where the 8-metre high ceiling lets the sunrise brighten the tables and plates.
Ronald Kunis wanted to become a boxer but the hours spent in the kitchen cooking with his mum made him embrace another career. He spent his twenties being trained at Michelin starred restaurants before opening De Kas in 2001.
His experience taught him the importance of discipline, hard work and the importance of every single detail but above all, it brought him the love of honest, quality food.
Since we have opened De Kas, our focus has always remained the same. We want to have a family atmosphere with good quality, honest food where people will come with their children enjoying a meal made of fresh ingredients without being pretentious. I’m not an alchemist, I’m a cook and the taste and the quality is my main concern. We’re not aiming to become a Michelin starred restaurant. We want our food to be honest and sincere.
We often organise visits to our nursery for children and schools to teach them the importance of fresh ingredients, the seasons and how to create your own garden. We even have a song they sing about the best way to make a soup and they love it!
The visits to the nursery had whetted our appetites and it was time to enjoy Ronald’s cuisine.
Soup from purselein with roasted scallops and Japanese sea berry
Very creamy soup enhanced by the crunkiness of the White cabbage and the sea berry. The scallops were tender, adding a smooth and meaty texture to the dish.
Roasted lamb with pancetta, marinated spinach, Jerusalem artichokes and nut vinaigrette
The lamb was spicy, supported by the bacon. However, the two products combined together resulted more of a plain sausage taste. The sweetness of the artichokes balanced the saltiness of the dish in a very pleasant way.
Crème brulee from red beetroots, capers, chiaggia beet and goat cheese
The crème brulee, despite a strong sweet taste for a starter, was a successful marriage of the sweetness of the beetroot and the savoury flavours provided by the goat’s cheese and the capers.
Skin roasted cod with a risotto from young garlic greens, pea shoots and pumpkin.
The halibut was very well cooked with a tasty meaty flesh. The risotto was well cooked enhanced by the chunkiness of the spring onions. However, the sweetness of the pumpkins overpowered the dish a bit too much to really appreciate the ingredients all together.
Violets ice cream with crème from Bourbon vanilla, rhubarb compote
A very refreshing dessert with a sweet rhubarb compote.
The Dutch experience wouldn’t have been complete without the famous Poffertjes, a sweet dough fried and served with ice sugar.
Our journey brought us to Poffertjeskraam De Haan, an incredible place which looks like a circus, with tables and private lodges, waiters all dressed up in black suit and white shirt, making this delicious sweet and other waffles on a large grill placed outdoor. It was like being sent into a Tim Burton movie where all the craziest things could happen and nobody will notice it!
The Poffertjes were a real treat for our sugar craving. The dough was crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, still warm enough to let the butter melts with the ice sugar. Heaven.
Dutch cuisine may not be very well known but it has a lot to offer and it’s definitely worth the trip.
Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3
1097 DE Amsterdam
Poffertjeskraam De Haan