Daalder Amsterdam - More Than Just A Guilty Pleasure

Located on a quiet street of the trendy neighbourhood of historic Jordaan in the central of Amsterdam, this corner situated restaurant exudes charm from the outside. Dining in Daalder Amsterdam is all about the neighbourhood, local community and culture. Created out of pure imagination, Daalder Amsterdam is more than a proper dining destination that is not just only food for thought. As the flavors of a culture and fresh regional ingredients can color a holiday with unforgettable memories of a destination, the cuisine you experience is an important part of travelling – good or bad experiences included. mylifestylenews writes.

Helmed by Dennis Huwaë, right after his completion in culinary school and subsequently went to numerous culinary apprenticeships and internships in Okura’s Ciel Bleu and London’s Fat Duck, the 34 years old Huwaë returned to the Netherlands with his talent recognized by 3-Michelin star chef Moshik Roth who he battled gloriously with in the culinary field for eight years and finally set his footmark by creating a more relaxed experience and without the solemn atmosphere and rigid service often found at those haute restaurants.

Huwaë wanted his diners to dine at ease and omit the unbending stereotype hospitality which is a more low key and accessible yet with high level of quality food brought to the table. Right after he founded Restaurant Daalder, where he has been the chef and co-owner since 2016 and won numerous accredited awards including the Gault & Millau Award ‘Talented Chef of the Year 2018” and is one of the busiest and most talked about restaurants in Amsterdam and opened Edel by Dennis bistro and wine bar being his new playground where he now also spends time and ventures on a different path.

Transformed successfully from a local pub, Daalder is divided into two different dining sections, with a slight difference in interior settings. Chic mirror bar contrasting the white marble bar top adorned with art deco style glass panels lighting above the bar and dark wooden bar stools aptly aligned creates a low-key French Bistro vibe.

Unpretentiously, the understated space is styled in industrial style interior finishes with some warm elegant touches and they have taken the design approach that less is more, so there are some key accent pieces, such as stunning blown glass vases in the street windows and architectural lighting for creating the right atmosphere on the ceiling and the walls, enhanced with a golden dusted lips ornament on the wall in the other room and a modern photography art work at the end of the corner of the main dining area next to the kitchen. It has been open for three and a half years and still has the original flooring, but everything else for the interior is newly designed. Tabletops settings are simply elegant and quite striking with an eye for detail, which gives a hint of leaning towards fine dining.

Daalder is the name of the owner of the original building, but it can also be a coin from Jordaan in olden times (check out the dessert). Our host Jessica who is also the Daalder’s Restaurant Manager guided us through with the menu and wine pairing over lunch. Daalder only serves prix fixe menu, 3-4 course for lunch with an option to extend to even 7-courses to indulge yourself, depending on your appetite. Then, the rest you leave it to the chef to bring out the most anticipated dishes one after another with beautiful fresh ingredients, all carefully handpicked by Huwaë and transformed to an artful presentation to delight your palate who committed to look for the “inner beauty” on every ingredient used in order to bring out the best in each of them.

Wine pairing is essential while dining with fine gourmet dishes in a joyful and unpretentious restaurant that strives to deliver delicious and beautiful food - not to say Daalder has an eclectic and also affordable selection of rare fine European wines. We can assure you that most of the selected wines are perhaps the first time you would encounter them, yet extremely palatable and unique in character. Without much hesitation, we went with Jessica’s choice of wine pairing for her great informative introduction that already sounded ideal towards the dining sojourn. All we had to do was to be laid-back and await what’s lying ahead.

<Amuse Bouche>
The mouthful size bite of the petit and delicate cheeseburger with the bread bun made out of meringue was rich in flavour and made a perfect savoury start accompanied by the fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent Kombucha tea drink that is known for its supposedly health benefits, served in a tailor-made mini Daalder milk crate. The imaginative presentation has already scored full marks for its visual aspect of what would to come next on menu.

<Huwaë’s Guilty Pleasure>
The next excitement followed by Huwaë’s Guilty Pleasure aka Fish and Chips, specially crafted light and airy Indonesian style potato cracker, salad of pickled cod with cornichon laying on top of Daalder’s first copy of mini newspaper with the headline of Huwaë’s Guilty Pleasure explaining such a simple food snack that could be anyone’s favorite without any doubts but to enjoy it the way it was being served. This was another whimsical presentation with memorable flavours and textures to create more anticipation for what was to follow.

<Pumpkin Crisp with Foie Gras and Sea Urchin>  
The surprise doesn’t seem to stop. The crisp made out of pumpkin and topped with foie gras and sea urchin served on a small rectangle plate with Japanese sakura painting branches out to the plate well seated by the two miniscule bite-size of the umami delicacy. Rich, fresh and complex on the palate, it was the perfect foil on such a memorable and pleasurable bite.

 <Freshly Baked Bread>
Bread is only served now (and fabulous bread at that!), which is a clever thought process, so all of the above can be savoured without saturating the palate.

<Collection of Corn>
The “set” came in three different servings and presentation - Crisp of corn with salad of salmon, avocado with calamansi sauce and a ‘dot’ of Japanese Konbu, corn pasta noodles served on a plate with salmon fins and relish, sesame and cress and smoked salmon with Greek yoghurt and ice cream made of corn, curry and wasabi sesame. A truly triumph of different combinations of flavours and textures with unexpected surprises on the tongue. Despite the noodle being a little salty, it was so delicious and the rich flavour didn’t disappoint. The Greek yoghurt that followed also created the final part of the yin and yang to this trio of bites. Jessica picked a Luxembourg Gales Auxerrois Remich Hopetsbour Grand Premier Cru 2018 white wine with herbaceous nose and a pinch of kumquat citrus palate. The clean and refreshing mouthfeel with yellow apple gives in a long lingering finish is perfect for the trio corn collection.

Greek Yoghurt

Crisp of Corn

<Daalder’s Gnocchi>
Huwaë’s version of Gnocchi is not the usual suspect that you would have expected. Nothing come too straight forward from his very own culinary style, yet with something that reads so simply on the menu is so rich and complex on the palate. The caramelized Onion is the soul for this menu creation and well balanced with the soft washed-rind and smear-ripened French Reblochon cheese and the lightly roasted hazelnut adding a quaint texture on palate. All the ingredients are harmony in the mouth and every morsel was to die for! Paired with Italian Trediberri Langhe Nebbiolo 2018 – a classic Nebbiolo flavour with fine tannis, cherry, strawberry and vanilla excel in a smooth and elegant finish with the smooth and creamy gnocchi.

<Puffed Jasmine Rice with Black Squab & Crisp of Black Sesame Seaweed >
The arty presentation was once again visually stimulated. Breast of squab, Union 55 rum, cauliflower, puffed Jasmine rice and gravy of squab, this was the pièce de résistance of our lunch, with rich and unctuous flavours. The young and unfledged squab was superbly cooked yet not losing its delicate gamey flavour. Every ingredient was in perfect match and so many different elements and layers of flavour stood out. This was gastronomy at its best. Well paired with the medium bodied Spanish 2017 Arenisca. Fruity and intense on the nose, with rounded notes of blackberry, plum, leather and earth and well balanced, elegant on the palate with a long finished.

<“Daalder”> Dessert
Another inventive presentation on a large “old coin” with bergamont crème fraiche, champagne, vodka and coconut, it was refreshing, light and not too sweet. An ideal fitting finish to a very rich culinary journey! Jessica suggested the lush and balance German wine - Rheinhessen Huxelrebe Spätlese 2018 Erbeldinger with a sufficient body, great aromas of honey and a hint of nutmeg. Not too sweet and yet with a refreshing character. The El Maestro Sierra Jerez 1830 medium sweet sherry aged in American oak casks well rounded with the rich stroopwafel. A perfect match!

A recreation presented on a traditional Dutch Daelmans tin can, the classic parfait of caramel, ice cream and salted toffee ice cream sandwich was to be eaten with your hands, this artisanal creation was a ‘wow’ dessert and soooo delicious. You have to make room for this, no matter what. The stroopwafel chunks of wafel cookies underneath are equally delicious. An amazing end to our lunch extravaganza!

By doing things differently, Huwaë’s personal style of creation for the perfect dish still remains a quest for the ideal combination of ingredients that reinforce and complement each other perfectly. His exquisite dishes look like art, and with their many levels of flavours and textures, nothing startling but only with pleasant surprises one after another. The Italian Head Chef Luca Chemelli was manning the kitchen during our visit and without a doubt, he has spun culinary gold in the kitchen. Jessica and her assistant Joel ensured that the food was delivered with care and attention to detail, while imparting every aspect of the Chef’s creations. Despite Daalder not meeting the Michelin one star standard for its too “pub like” style concept, the already two Michelin star reigned Huwaë ‘s beautifully composed cuisine is absolutely divine and artfully executed and less than half the price you would pay in any Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe. We left on a high, as we had enjoyed some very refined cuisine that quite clearly had been created with passion and talent to spare. Service was the best of the best and the warmth of hospitality is beyond expectations. No trip to Amsterdam is replete without dining at Daalder and excellent value for money for a total dining experience to savour.

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4/5
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value For Money: 5/5
Experience: 5/5

Lindengracht 90,
1015 KK, Amsterdam 
Tel: +31 20 624 8864

Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.

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