It is not just about the food, although that is certainly the main event and our experience of the food at Restaurant Vermeer was fantastic; there are a lot of superlatives I could use. The service was attentive without being intrusive, the ambience trés chic, yet comfortable. As the ‘amuse bouche’were slowly presented – some clever things with raw rhubarb and fennel; a mouthful of the most wonderful wild mushroom, salmon roe and lovage; and finally a mixologist chemist’s delight, a piece of theatre only a cloud of liquid nitrogen can bring, a quasi martini of gin and tarragon sorbet on a cocktail puree of melon and smoked tea – seriously lush….. – we were only going to need the 4 course. With matching wines of course!
Menu’s can often tell lies – either a little too much information, that you can be disappointed by the final delivery, or sometimes a little too information, that you think the chef has not skill or imagination at all. The chef at Restaurant Vermeer clearly favours the less is more approach; imagination and skill he and his team have comes in heaps. He did pop out to serve the third course (which was a very nice touch) and say hello, it was a good lesson that even a piece of humble salmon can be tuned into a plate of artisitic and taste brilliance – flowers, peas, little foams and sauces, dressed so beautifully on the plate I did not know whether to eat it or hang it on the wall. The second was a piece of seabass in the most richly flavoured shitake mushroom bouillon accompanied with pieces of different seaweeds. The sauce was so delicious and perfectly balanced with the fish. The sommelier was extremely knowledgeable and paired the course with a slightly chilled Bader Dornfelder, which worked perfectly. I think somewhere in there, there was a darling little soup, but now to the third course of lamb – pieces of super sweet and so pink lamb from various muscle groups, with little root vegetables and carrot jus – heaven on a plate. I thought desert was going to be a bit disappointing, surely there is only so much you can do with strawberries – wrong again. Like Vermeer himself, ever so clever, ever so simple, the last course was a delicate balance of textures and flavours that perfectly complemented each other. Washed down with a large glass of delicious Beaumes de Venise, the sweetness and acidity came alive on your tongue – they are a clever lot at Restaurant Vermeer – excellent local produce, efficient friendly staff and a super clever kitchen. I won’t bore you with the details of the little macaroons and petits fours, but the last mouthful we had was one of those OMG moments, as crispy hard and super soft jelly chocolate broke out like an egg across your tongue. Yep we only needed 4 courses and it will be the first place I book next time we are in Amsterdam!
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