Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Restaurant Bridges, inspired by Ron Blaauw
Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197,
1012 EX Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 555 3560
Bridges is a 1 Michelin-star restaurant located at the Sofitel Legend the Grand Hotel, a 5-star luxury hotel with a very long history, in the center of Amsterdam. The restaurant occupies the space of what used to be the banqueting room of Amsterdam’s City Hall, when the building was the town’s governing center.
We were in Amsterdam to start a 13-day Uniworld River Cruise up the Rhine to Basel in Switzerland (see Legendary Rhine & Moselle River Cruise).
The Sofitel Legend the Grand Hotel is within a five minute walk from Dam Square and the Royal Palace and close to many points of interest in the city. It is near Amsterdam’s red light district, but far removed from the wild red light scene.
As of August 2016, Andrès Delpeut is in charge as the Executive Chef at Bridges. He received his first Michelin star at Restaurant De Roggebot in 2000.
Dinning at the Bridges is a celebration of mostly fish and seafood. The Chef’s Menu (tasting menu) comes as either 4 or 6 courses, paired with wines, but of course there is an a-la-carte menu as well, where one can try some of the signature dishes.
The inspiration comes from Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) who said: “Fish should swim three times; first in the sea, then in butter, and finally in good wine”.
Chef Delpeut describes his dishes as “classic traditional dishes with international influences and a unique twist; unexpected combinations that work”. All the dishes we had were perfectly seasoned, delicious and beautifully plated. The service was attentive but not overbearing.
We started with an amuse-bouche of macaroons with tomato and basil leaf over a mozzarella cheese round and crumble of black olives; an interesting sweet and savory Mediterranean taste that paired well with a sparkler glass of Baumard Brut CrÃ©mant de Loire.
The first course was a cylinder of crispy and crunchy sesame seeds on the outside, filled with tuna, wassabi cream cheese and soy dressing. Paired with a quite dry (trocken) German Riesling, it is one of the signature dishes that are a must-try to appreciate the melding of an Asian taste with traditional Dutch seafood.
The second course was plaice with finely chopped Duxelles mushrooms cooked with lardo and green asparagus spears with red-wine infused butter. It was paired with a Jordan Chardonnay from Stellenbosch, South Africa. It was the only pairing I disagree with; in my opinion, the Chardonnay was just too acidic and the oak -- even though light -- fought the gentle taste of the mushrooms and fish. The Riesling of the previous dish would probably have been a better selection.
The next plate was Charred Jerusalem Artichoke, crispy battered and fried veal brains, and cornichonjus with pickled caper leaves. Now, I haven’t eaten brains since I left my mother’s house. Barbara thought it was a noteworthy nice dish. I’m still not persuaded that I like brains, though battered and fried was much better than boiled and sliced in an olive oil and lemon juice dressing as my mother used to make. The wine paired with it was Wairau River Pinot Noir from Marlborough NZ. A very light red was overshadowed by the rather bold taste of the dish it was paired with.
The final meat course was hangar steak from the BBQ, with marrow ravioli, roasted onion and smokey oxheart cabbage. It was beautifully rare as requested and the French syrah that accompanied it, though a bit on the heavier side, it did not overpower the juicy meat. Probably a Garnacha Negra and Samsó blend from Catalonia would have been a bit better pairing.
The dessert was a Rum Parfait Roasted Pineapple with yoghurt and rosemary. Another nice point/counterpoint of sweet and savory. Highly recommended. It was paired with Le Petit Paon, a Baumard from the Loire.
Then came a black slab of slate with sliced seasonal fruit -- cantaloupe, strawberries, honeydew, blueberries, raspberries, fresh black figs -- they were very refreshing and following came a sandwich of white and black chocolate.
It was the perfect ending to a most enjoyable meal.
For one more food story about food in Amsterdam, see Amsterdam Foodie Paradise in the Gastronomy section.
© December 2016 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.