Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

[Review] Restaurant Breda, Amsterdam

Breda is a city in the south of the Netherlands, that's probably not very well known to us tourists. It's also the home city of young gun chefs Freek van Noortwijk and Guillaume de Beer and sommelier Johanneke van Iwaarden. Having enjoyed huge success with their first Amsterdam restaurant Guts & Glory, they then proceeded to open Restaurant Breda on the beautiful Singel canal. 

Ever since it opened, Breda has been gathering the accolades for its modern international cuisine, and I decided to book ourselves in for lunch as part of my goodbye to Amsterdam. Lunch is available in different lengths with 3 courses for €29.50, 4 for €37.50 and 5 for €45.50. From the outside, it's unassuming. Inside, the dining room is high ceilinged, as you'd expect from an Amsterdam grachtenhuis (canal house) and the decor is on the smart right side of shabby chic. But yet, the tables are covered with fine linen, silver and crystal. Intentions are being signalled loud and clear.
Stitch & Bear - Breda - Bread and butter
Bread and butter

At Breda, there is no menu, no expectation of what you'll get. All that you can reasonably expect is that the cooking is seasonal. Our first course was a three dish celebration of carrot; an intense and vibrant Thai-flavoured carrot soup, a crisp with carrot puree and a bowl of sweetly pickled baby carrots coated in sweet herbs, and served with mildly sharp yogurt. This was followed by the first of our fish courses, a spectacular piece of mackerel, covered with discs of raw radish and sweet diced apple, mellowed by the flavours of toasted sesame. The second fish dish is even better, sweetly cooked pieces of cod, served in a beurre blanc with dark green cavolo nero.
Stitch & Bear - Breda - Sweet pickled carrots
Sweet pickled carrots with herbs
Stitch & Bear - Breda - Mackerel with apple and radish
Mackerel with sesame, apple and radish
Stitch & Bear - Breda - Cod
Cod with buerre blanc and cabbage
A dish of celeriac tagliatelle, a vegetable not normally high on my list of favourites, generously adorned with parmesan cheese and truffle shavings made a wonderful substitute for pasta. This was followed by pink lamb, dressed with an intense black garlic sauce and curried lentil puree. Lamb signals the transition from winter to spring, and this was both hearty and light, and perfectly seasonal. 
Stitch & Bear - Breda - Celeriac tagliatelle with truffle
Celeriac tagliatelle with truffle
Stitch & Bear - Breda - Spring lamb
Spring lamb with curried lentils
A fresh and light sorbet tempered with tarragon and meringues laid the way for desserts. My choice of a cheeseboard came with toasted thin slices of Dutch fruit bread and the very Dutch treacle-like appelstroop (apple syrup). And for a grand finale, smoked vanilla ice-cream bought a sublime coolness and intensity to a balanced sweet and savoury crumbly mixture of caramel, olives and rosemary.
Stitch & Bear - Breda - Sorbet
Sorbet and meringue
Stitch & Bear  - Breda - Cheese board
Cheese board with Dutch fruit bread

Our waiter pointed us in the direction of a bottle of Domaine Chiroulet from the Cotes de Gascogne, which was elegant with vanilla and fresh fruit, with a silky texture. Top marks for the recommendation.

There's clearly a playfulness and cleverness going on in the Breda kitchen. The dishes feel both Dutch and European, and even occasionally Asian. It's a clever fusion of modern dining styles and superb ingredients. It's simple in appearance, yet as always, the devil is in the details. A confident sense of balance and poise is what stands out the most to me. A fantastic lunch and a great way to say my goodbye to Amsterdam.

Breda, Singel 210, Amsterdam
Tel: +31 (0)20 622 52 33
URL: www.breda-amsterdam.com
Twitter: @RestaurantBREDA
Instagram: @restaurantbreda
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