The land of tulips, bicycles and wooden shoes has made a small home on our island and plays host to Ankita Mamgain as she discovers its many delicious treasures.
Amsterdam – I once used to associate it with quaint houses, Anne Frank, beautiful flower buds and lovely canals. But, after a while, that changed and my pre-teen notion of the city was replaced by something entirely different. Each time the name was mentioned, it was accompanied by an underlying sense of perverse excitement; with that knowing look on the face, as if it could mean just two things.
Its no secret, the city belongs to indulgences of all kinds and forms. Be it the breathtaking landscape, art, music, history, the not-so-controlled substances and, yes, food.
Café Amsterdam, in Block 338, brings you a slice of its enormous culinary repertoire packaged in a plush capsule that transports you instantly to the city.
The restaurant has been one of the most happening dining venues ever since it opened in 2014 and now enjoys a large and loyal customer base.
With a new chef in the kitchen, it is in the process of introducing new items to the menu and I went in to have a taste.
Each corner of this airy space is inspired by a different part of Amsterdam. It welcomes you with its fresh and airy interiors and quirky design elements such as bicycles and floral patterns. The restaurant also boasts a beautiful garden terrace that it shares with sister venue, La Vinoteca Barcelona.
The food is still mainly European but the new additions bring in other global influences as well, which perhaps is a great move given Bahrain’s diverse population. I started off with avocado tempura, a really interesting dish that came alive with the nutty flavour of the sauce that accompanied it. Next, I tried stuffed calamari, a remarkable dish that bears Moroccan influences. The squid is packed with a rice and pistachio filling and a delicious dark sauce made of black olives, mushrooms, olive oil and balsamic vinegar is generously drizzled all over it. This dish literally flirts with your taste buds, teasing you with a bit of sweet, salt and tang.
I am always a little wary of eating restaurant risotto because I’ve seldom had a good one, so when I was told this was the next course I wasn’t looking forward to it much. However the new tomato and mushroom risotto, is an absolute must have. It has a wonderfully creamy texture and is bursting with flavours.
Then of course there are some regulars on Café Amsterdam’s menu that no one should dare remove. The Wagyu sirloin is certainly one of them and, cooked medium-well, it was enormously juicy and absolutely delicious.
This decadent affair came to an end with dessert which comprised of three refreshing sorbets – green apple, pear and banana, all made in-house with fresh fruits.
Café Amsterdam impresses at multiple levels with attentive service, creative cuisine and a pleasing ambience. Add to this a regular dose of weekly events and parties; it surely is one place where you can truly indulge.