Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Restaurant review | Sinne, Amsterdam


The open kitchen at the back of this warm and friendly restaurant is reminiscent of a theatre scene. While chef Ioannou plays the lead role, the top quality produce steals the show in the form of modern, meticulously prepared dishes. Attentive service from hostess Suzanne, as well as reasonable prices.
Restaurant Sinne is in the heart of the De Pijp district and boasts a Michelin star. We had a reservation booked weeks prior to our arrival in Amsterdam and having looked at the website and Trip Advisor, I was majorly excited. I was not in the slightest disappointed and it exceeded my expectations. The restaurant is only open for dinner service (excluding Sundays when it’s also open for lunch) and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The menu is based upon the tasting concept – a selection of smaller dishes – and is inspired by flavours of the world, notably French bistro cuisine.

Upon arrival, our coats were taken to the cloakroom and we were shown to our table, next to the bar. The restaurant itself is very narrow, with booth sitting along the bar side, tables in the middle section and then the open kitchen at the back. It’s a shame we couldn’t see the kitchen from where we were sat, but we certainly admired the selection of fine wines and premium spirits. We were immediately offered an aperitif and I opted for a glass of cava – even better, it was a freshly popped bottle.

In terms of the menu, we were given the choice of a la carte, or the chef’s selection. We opted for the latter and were allowed to choose between four and eight courses, choosing four (three savoury and a dessert, no cheese). Our waiter then asked if we had any dietary requirements, which would obviously be considered – Jake requested no seafood or fish and I was happy to try everything (even though I don’t like mushrooms). I was also intrigued by the element of surprise. The meal format was very similar to a formal Italian meal: we began with an amuse bouche (off menu), followed by an entree, first and second course, pre-dessert (palette cleanser) and finishing off with a dessert.
Amuse boucheCone of marinated watermelon & feta and red Thai curry soup, with cream foam & dried wild rice

Our waiter recommended we had the watermelon cone first and it was beautiful; I never would have thought about putting watermelon and feta together, but both tastes were light, the melon refreshing and the cheese, not too salty. The soup was a lukewarm one, cooled down by the cream foam and the Thai curry flavours were similar to Penang: coconut but very spicy. If this was the start of things to come, my taste buds would be in for a treat...
Entree – red shrimp with Thai green curry lobster sauce, prawn crackers, scallop powder, passion fruit foam & papaya

This dish was executed to perfection and was incredibly tasty! The shrimp were so meaty and the Thai lobster sauce really worked with the sweet passion fruit and payapa, adding another dimension to the coconut. I loved the prawn crackers, which were like shards, rather than those loft insulation things you get over here! I could have quite easily eaten this dish numerous times over.

First course – celeriac with a 63C egg, topped with hollandaise & grated truffle, served with wild mushrooms, hazelnuts and a garlic truffle foam

I didn’t manage to get a photo of this dish, but it really was divine – and that’s high praise from someone who hates mushroom and rarely eats egg. The egg was poached to perfection (hence the 63C) and wrapped in a ring of barbecued celeriac. My previous experience of truffles wasn’t good (truffle fries at Madison’s btw), but this may have converted me. This was a real earthy dish, where all the components complemented each other – and the mushrooms didn’t even taste like mushroom; I actually enjoyed them!
Second course – Aberdeen Black Angus with a red wine jus, served with a potato & pea puree tart, broad beans and a chive dust

The most interesting of all the dishes I tried, as essentially this was two courses in one – the meat course and the vegetarian course. The Aberdeen Angus steak was grilled to perfection and exactly how I’d normally order mine. The vegetable tart was also good, although a little rich for me, particularly when it was mixed with the jus on the plate. By the time I had finished, I’d hit a wall and was glad to be moving onto the desserts. The steak was paired with a beautiful Spanish Tempranillo, of which we both had a glass.
 
Pre-dessert – rhubarb compote, topped with lemon yogurt foam and white chocolate chips

A much-needed palette cleanser: the rhubarb wasn’t too tart, the yogurt foam light like soft meringue. A little pot just wasn’t enough, I needed more!
Dessert – chocolate fondant, served with mini cassis meringue, cassis sorbet, fresh raspberries and white chocolate powder

Definitely saving the best ‘til last here – who doesn’t love chocolate fondant? It was almost like a black forest, with the elements of raspberry and cassis, just a million times less sickly. The fondant was baked so well, with a crisp exterior, but as soon as you cut into it, the chocolate sauce just oozed. I chose the dessert wine to partner this dish and it went so well – a Greek dessert wine, similar to port, with hints of forest fruit. It was the perfect finale to a thoroughly enjoyable meal.

Everything about Sinne was superb: the relaxing ambience, the superlative service from waiters and waitresses who really know their stuff, the execution and taste of every dish that arrived to our table and price at the end. We paid 43 for the four courses, with drinks an additional cost – definitely well worth the money and cheaper than London restaurants of that standard. If you’re after a fine dining experience in Amsterdam, I thoroughly recommend Sinne.

Love, Lucy xx

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