Twenty three years ago a very unique restaurant opened in Amsterdam and it was all about the love of garlic! While every dish is prepared with this pungent ingredient as much - or as little - garlic as you like including dessert, Garlic Queen Restaurant in Amsterdam stands up for its name by bringing you the garlic gastronomique to delight your aspiring palate. Have your mouthwash ready? mylifestylenews writes.
As the name suggests, the first thing that came to our mind was the restaurant may probably be set in a century old castle styled ambience with haunting interior and gloomy lighting atmosphere dining experience serving all those touristy and gimmicky set menus with rustic yet chunky meals. Oh Well! In Amsterdam, everything is possible! But on the contrary, the Garlic Queen Restaurant is a complete contemporary bistronomique restaurant set in chic and bright décor with a sleek design, finishes a touch of royal nestled along the bustling Reguliersdwasstraat – the Amsterdam version of SoHo where groovy restaurants and bars are clustered right behind the Bloemenmarkt.
Garlic Queen Restaurant is quite easily spotted by its royal blue neon sign adorned with a garlic symbol aka a queen’s tiara design motif that serves both purposes for its name on the framed brick wall. Large floor to ceiling high glass windows draws your attention inside-out or vice versa to watch the world go by with a few al fresco settings for the good weather.
On arrival, the entrance is intimate on a normally very buzzy Reguliersdwasstraat (it was unusually quiet on the night of our visit), but on stepping inside a whole chicness takes over – artwork that features queens (Dutch royalty that is) along with understated chandeliers and a long royal blue wall for a big pop of colour to juxtapose against the besuited and contemporary white tables and chairs as well as the well polished wooden flooring.
The interior has a very minimalistic and sleek look with a multi-tiered garlic stand and their exclusive garlic liqueur display as the main window highlight. The other feature wall has a wallpaper design that resembles gold satin fabric that adds an elegant touch to the entire restaurant.
At one end of the dining space is a glass display cabinet featuring china ware of the royal family to commemorate special occasions. The entire design and décor creates a very cozy, neat and distinct ambience which is subtle, playful with a sense of humour that is totally delightful.
While garlic is queen in the kitchen especially for the Garlic Queen Restaurant, this amazing versatile herb is inevitably being expected in every dish, from starter, soup to entrée and even including dessert and garlic liqueur and more than you could ever imagine. So, to broaden our intellectual dining horizons with an experience of other cultures, an open mind is necessary and embrace come what may.
Image Credit: Biesheuvel Knoflook
The menu naturally has garlic as an ingredient in absolutely every dish and as we are garlic lovers, we were looking forward to what flavours would burst forth. The garlic comes in fresh every day from Biesheuvel Knoflook Slootdorp where the family has been growing fresh garlic in North Holland since 1986. It is not those ordinary dried balls of garlic in the net, but these fresh and juicy white bulbs with a nice green stem are spicy in taste and more delicious and super healthy. So, attention to detail is everything and makes this restaurant a unique one.
For the love of garlic, we started with the creamy garlic soup with sage, potatoes, cream and a vegetable base stock which was absolutely unique and delicious. It was not as pungent or strong as you may have thought and in fact it was quite harmonious on the palate. We did not leave a drip in the bowl and bread was required to mop up the last vestiges of the soup as it was so moreish. A good garlic start!
<Duet of Duck>
A classic dish with the rillette being the highlight and a dollop of smoked garlic was much enjoyed. Beautifully laid and presented on a hallowed plate, the dish could even have more garlic, as it goes perfectly with the richness of the duck.
Two medium size shrimps well sautéed with plentiful of olive oil and garlic. Despite the sauce was a little bit salty, the chili peppers added a nice zing on the tongue.
The tender lamb shank was braised for hours with leeks and chili chutney and the meat fell apart at the touch of a knife. Succulent rich sauce was equally divine and accompanied by the silky potato mousseline.
Served with chicory and potato mash, the beef was cooked to perfection – this was slow cooked for at least six hours with many cloves of garlic, red wine and a piece of bay leaf. It had a ‘to die for’ reduction sauce and the lightest and tastiest mash you have ever had, so a triumph of culinary care.
<Pasta Aglio E Olio>
Our appetite was surely broadened and brightened up by the magic touch of the garlic and we opted for a pasta dish. Anglio e olio is a classic pasta dish that focuses on very basic ingredients such as olive oil, garlic and chili peppers where garlic is the soul ingredient of this creation. Despite the version here came out more like a light pesto sauce visually and topped with rughetta salad, we felt it was missing something and came across the palate as a little dry and tasteless. A pinch of salt would help to enhance the palate while many elements were already there to enjoy.
<Garlic Chocolate Ice-cream>
One of the most anticipated items from the menu! It may surprise you that garlic can feature in desserts, but it does here and we opted for the ice-cream of the day to share. The ice-cream was accompanied with two slices of warm chocolate that was as delicious as the ice-cream, firm on texture, creamy and moist on the palate with a very satisfactory finish with a hint of garlic flavour of course. An absolute winner!
The evening was a pleasant one and we look at garlic in a new way, as too often it is only considered for certain dishes, mainly on warm cooked dishes but clearly is able to be a key ingredient in so many dishes with the right kind of garlic to be used in recipes that delight. The classical background music is very apt, given the regal elements and was softly enjoyed by us throughout the evening. Of course, such enjoyment comes from the skilled hands of Geert in the kitchen and his wonderful culinary skills are very much complimented by the wonderful humour of John who looks after the front of house operations and his attention to detail. They are a great team and have only refurbished the restaurant last year, so it is even more gorgeous than before, but the amazing herb takes centre stage every step of the way through the culinary journey and you have to add this restaurant to your list of essential dining experiences when in Amsterdam.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 5/5
1017 BJ Amsterdam
1017 BJ Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 422 6426
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.