I know my way around Amsterdam quite well at this stage, but my curiousity around Dutch food has rarely ventured further afield than stroopwafel, oliebollen and vlaamse frites (aka caramel wafer biscuits, doughnuts and Dutch fries). I've tried rookworst (sausage) and stamppot (stew) and of course, I've eaten loads of aged Dutch Gouda. But to be honest, my view on Dutch cuisine has been akin to that of traditional Irish food. In other words, comforting, homely and not very exciting.
However, I think I've finally found a restaurant that serves a truly modern take on Dutch cuisine. And to make things even better, it's located right in the middle of town, in a beautiful centuries-old typical Dutch building. Replicas of classic Dutch paintings adorn the walls, but look closely as some paintings are actually moving, giving you a very bizarre sensation that someone is watching. Blue and white classic Dutch Delft plates add brightness, yet maintain the Dutch theme.
|Interior view at Lt. Cornelis|
|Torched mackerel with bacon and North Sea shrimp|
|Plaice with fennel and buerre blanc|
Onwards to the meat course, which was sliced sirloin, served simply with parsnips, mashed potatoes and jus. It might sound simple, but this perfectly cooked and seared steak was spot on. The fourth course was a cheeseboard, with 3 out of 4 being Dutch. The Dutch produce some excellent cheese, so no surprises when the Dutch contenders turned out to be all delicious. The only odd note was the French blue cheese which was too strong (to me) for the rest of the board.
|Beef sirloin with parsnips and garlic jus|
|Dutch cheese platter|
Finally, the dessert, which was a twist on a tompouce, which is itself the Dutch version of a mille-feuille. A crisp disc of puff pastry, topped with classic icing, covers a mix of ginger and pear. It was sweet and delicious and not a heavy finish to the meal.
|Tompouce with pear and ginger|
If you're a tourist in Amsterdam city centre, it can be hard to find a true taste of the Netherlands amidst all the hustle and bustle of this popular city. Yes, you can taste cheese, eat fries and gorge on pancakes and stroopwafel. But you need to dig a little deeper to find real Dutch food. With its refined and elegant food, Lt. Cornelis is that very spot.
Lt. Cornelis, Voetboogstraat 13, 1012 XK Amsterdam
Tel: +31 (0)20 261 4863