The Seafood Bar
May 7, 2019
The Seafood Bar, Amsterdam
We passed the restaurant in the morning near Vondelpark, while walking along Van Baerlestraat towards the Van Gogh Museum. What we could see of the pristine, white tiled interior looked promising, and the empty plastic crates stacked outside boded well, even on a Monday.
Returning at lunchtime, we had to wait a couple of minutes to be seated at the bar, but our arrival was well timed; a queue quickly formed behind us.
We were given a lengthy menu to study, and the show began, as we watched the assembly line of chefs, plating the various combinations of seafood with care and precision.
You can tell a lot about a place by small details. The bread was brought to us immediately: slices of perfect baguette were presented in a paper bag, preserving its perfect crust and soft crumb, and a pat of chive butter.
The food: I ordered a selection of small dishes, and ‘she’ decided on the ‘plateau’, consisting of prawns; white and snow crab, beautifully fresh & sweet; cold and hot-smoked salmon, and firm strips of smoked trout fillet.
Dutch shrimp croquettes came with mustard mayo; when I cut through the crunchy crust, the bechamel filling oozed out nicely.
Scallop, basil, hazelnut was a simple and well judged combination of flavours and textures.
Sashimi of the day: sea bass, salmon, scallop and tuna, with wasabi, soy and ginger, and a salad of seaweed rolled in cucumber and dressed with sesame.
Wine: Glasses of Austrian Grüner Veltliner from Julius Klein were a good match; kiwi, greengage, lime.
Playlist: Blue Note jazz.
We liked it so much, we went back the next day for more
The following day we realised that our timed visit to the Rijksmuseum would make it impossible to make a booking for lunch near Centraal station. We liked The Seafood Bar so much that it was an easy decision to change our plans; there was a branch handily placed near the museum on Ferdinand Bolstraat.
It’s in De Pijp, the neighbourhood described as Amsterdam’s Latin Quarter, where the streets are named after Dutch painters.
There was no wait for a table, it looked as if the action would take place in the evenings in De Pijp.
If you’re an oyster lover, there was a Happy Hour (available all afternoon) with a choice of oysters priced at one euro each.
This time we reversed roles (in that I had the plateau). She went for the shrimp croquettes, and tried the crab cakes, which were rich with brown meat, and a funky undertone of heat.
The portion of both of these is three, and our waitress helpfully suggested adding an extra one of each so we could share.
Larger fruits de mer were on the menu ‘to share’, but at least one dedicated luncher was going in on her own, with nothing but a paper bib for protection.
The playlist at this branch has a funky undertone too; laid back, trippy jazz.
Wine: I ordered the Grüner Veltliner again. Why wouldn’t you, it’s perfect?
The Seafood Bar is at three locations in Amsterdam, and The Seafood Shop at Leidsestraat 61. There’s also a branch in Utrecht.
Another return visit; Café Restaurant Dauphine
This time a year later, to Café Restaurant Dauphine. Read about my previous visit here: ‘Amsterdam, and a Tale of Two Brasseries’ https://wp.me/p7AW4i-fw
We both started with Shrimp Cocktail ‘Dauphine’, generous glasses of prawns with avocado, grapefruit, fennel, tomato and a dusting of cayenne.
Wine: we drank well!
Raumland ‘Cuvée Katharina’ German Sekt was an impressive aperitif; an austere and aromatic Blanc de Noirs (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier)
Grüner Veltliner Steingarten 2017, Weszeli, Kamptal, Austria
Spätburgunder SP 2015, Hensel, Pfalz, Germany – a refreshing Pinot Noir, which was offered chilled
Playlist: it’s a converted car showroom, a big modern space with hard surfaces, so I guess it might get noisy. On the Sunday evening we were there it wasn’t busy, there was no music, just a quiet buzz of conversation.
Club Dauphine: on Friday nights, and some Sundays, there’s a live music venue next door “in the atmosphere of a New York nightclub”. Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer is the musical advisor, and sometimes she plays there with her band; it looks right up my straat…..
Dauphine, Prins Bernhardplein 175, 1097 BL Amsterdam 00 31 20 46 216 46
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