Forgive the foodie flavor of this series of posts, but we are in Amsterdam and Copenhagen this week and sampling some truly amazing restaurants, which will include the legendary Noma in Copenhagen in my next post.
Yesterday, before departing Amsterdam, we strolled down by the Amsterdam Zuid (South) station and a rising complex of very modern buildings, both office and residential towers. Here are a few examples.
Our target was a restaurant that we had read about, BOLENIUS (LINK), that emphasized wine, local ingredients – especially vegetables, an open kitchen, and beautiful design. we were there for lunch before an early evening flight to Copenhagen.
First, let me say that our meal was splendid. Co-owner Xavier Giesen greeted us, told us a bit about the restaurant and their nearby organic garden, and oversaw (and participated in) our service through the meal. BOLENIUS has a mostly prix-fix menu with a variety of choices of complete dinners (up to 99 euros), one two-course lunch that varies day to day (34.50 euros), and a few à la carte items. The separate wine list is on an iPad and is very nicely put together with broad rather than deep range of wines from various areas of Europe.
We opted for the two-course lunch menu, which consisted of a first course based upon vegetables from the organic garden near the restaurant and a second course of cod with mashed potatoes and vegetables. But first, a “tray” of complimentary appetizers on a “sail” that matched their outdoor awnings, then an amuse-bouche, a tiny ice cream cone – the ice cream made from sweet Netherlands onions was sitting atop a piece of warm beef sausage in a tiny waffle cone. Odd-sounding, but delicious. Then, a bowl was brought out which contained four small objects. A very small first course, I thought. But no, this was a palate cleanser – a bit of beet sitting atop a small dollop of aioli, two halves of a sliced blueberry, and a baby beet covered with grated hazelnut.
The wine came at this point – we ordered a 2013 Albariño d Fefiñanes from Palacio de Fefiñanes in Rias Baixas, Spain (LINK). The wine was smooth and well balanced, with nice round mouth feel and hints of green fruit. It was a perfect compliment to the meal, and one of the best Albariño’s I have had.
The fish course was beautifully prepared and presented:
Afterward, espresso, chocolates, and a very special tray of assorted treats for us to enjoy.
After our meal, Xavier took us to the kitchen and the wine storage area, where we talked about wine, his love of Spain, and his desire to have a wine list that represents the best of Europe. The care, pride, and professionalism of the owners and staff of this excellent restaurant was evident in every aspect of the experience, and Xavier was very generous with his time to share much of it with us. It was truly a very special experience. We will definitely be returning to Amsterdam!