Since things didn’t quite go according to plan in Barcelona, we ended up arriving in Amsterdam earlier than expected, which gave us a couple extra days to investigate the city’s culinary scene.
Once again, we were surprised by the number and variety of Michelin restaurants in the area and the reasonable prices of their tasting menus, comparably speaking. We originally opted to try Senses, which despite not having a Michelin Star, had just received a positive review from the Guide. And it was located in our hotel, so that was a plus. Unfortunately, they were completely booked, but if any of you go to Amsterdam, you must try this restaurant and let us know how it is! It was PACKED every night, and the plates looked fantastic – or at least from what we could see from outside.
After some more searching, we landed on a reservation at Bridges, a one-star Michelin restaurant located in the Grand Hotel about 10 minutes away from where we were staying. From the ambience and decor to food presentation and service, it was easy to see how they earned their first star.
Upon arrival, we walked through the extravagant entrance for the restaurant. It was separated from the hotel entrance, which gave it a more ‘independent’ feel. It was quiet when we walked in, and we had to investigate a little bit to find the hostess. When we finally found her, she took our coats and led us to our table. It was set up nicely and had extremely comfortable chairs – a welcome change from the plane and train seats we had been in all day.
The staff was a little unorganized in the beginning. We waited for a while before anyone came to our table – probably only ten minutes or so, but definitely longer than expected in this caliber restaurant. Eventually, we were greeted by our server. He was a friendly, yet quiet guy who explained the tasting and a la carte menus to us. From then on, the service was great, so we assume there was some sort of miscommunication when we were seated.
The tasting menu looked incredible, and featured items that were the “chef favorites at the moment.” Slowly cured sepia, smoked sole and roe deer highlighted the six-course dinner option for 89 euro (wine pairings not included). There were a few additional items on the a la carte menu that we wanted to try, so we decided to go that route and created our own courses.
There was a steady flow a bread and two amuse-bouche offerings between courses, so we were never hungry. Honestly, I can’t remember what the first amuse was, but it had an amazing curry sponge cake with creme fraiche and a little puff pastry. We had a champagne aperitif along with our second amuse– a perfectly cooked mussel with a clear citrus gel and jalapeño. A perfect combination of flavors. The presentation was amazing, too. All of their plates and decor played a part in creating the atmosphere.
For starters, we had the smoked sole with parsnip, foie gras mousse, cauliflower fungus, white chocolate and a shaving of winter truffles. It was my personal favorite of the evening. A bold dish that was nicely layered with rich, smokey, and earthy flavors.
Our second starter was the ‘cylinder of sesame seeds,’ filled with ahi tuna, wasabi cream cheese and soy vinaigrette.
We paired our starters with a ‘Mother Rock’ white blend of grenache and chenin blanc from Swartland, South Africa.
We landed on the oxtail and red mullet fillet for mains. The oxtail was very good. Nothing ‘exceptional,’ but very, very good. It was served with tomato powder and a tomato-infused jus that was delicious, along with Chinese cabbage and a piece of folded pasta on top.
The red mullet was fantastic. It was sourdough-crusted with a layer of Lardo (a type of cured pork) underneath, kohlrabi, Waldorf ravioli and langoustine. Delicious and well balanced.
We thought Pinot Noir would be a good choice to go with our mains – not too bold for the mullet, but not too wimpy for the oxtail. We chose Jean Stodden’s Spätburgunder, Alte Reben 2010 from the Ahr Valley. We don’t normally think of Germany when choosing a red wine, but this one was great.
For dessert, we ordered the chocolate mousse with carrot sponge cake, orange gel and cream cheese ice cream, and paired it with Fernando De Castilla Vermut Sherry Cask – a red vermut with spicy notes of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, along with flavors of vanilla and citrus peel. A good pairing for the semi-sweet dish.
All in all, we were overwhelmed and underwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the presentation, balance and creativity of flavors, and ingredients on each dish. From amuse to dessert, each plate had something exciting and creative about it, which is definitely necessary to earn a Star.
The underwhelming was our overall experience. We talk a lot about “how we feel from walking in to walking out,” and Bridges did an ‘okay’ job of making this trip to their restaurant an experience to remember.
Every restaurant should strive to make people want to come back because of the whole experience, from food presentation to guiding you through the menu and catering to special requests. The ‘Pedro’ factor (you may remember him from a previous restaurant review). We especially feel that this should be the case for any place that has been fortunate enough to earn a Michelin star.
Again, there wasn’t anything bad about our experience, but there wasn’t necessarily a ‘wow’ factor either. It could have been because it was a slow Monday night, but ultimately, we probably wouldn’t go back. Don’t get us wrong, we still enjoyed a wonderful meal, just not quite the Michelin experience we’ve had elsewhere.
All for now!
Lunch: Closed Monday, Tuesday – Friday, 12:00 – 14:30 hrs, Saturday – Sunday, 13:00 – 15:00 hrs
Dinner: Daily, 18:30 – 22:30 hrs
Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197, 1012 EX Amsterdam
Tel. +31 (0)20 555 3 560
Open daily from 12:00 – 14:00 hrs., and 18:00 – 22:30 hrs.
Address: Vijzelstraat 45, 1017 HE Amsterdam
Tel. +31 (0)20 530 6266