At the end of September, I went on a girlie weekend to Amsterdam with two of my awesome former colleagues, Pia and Lieke – at 2K I really did make friends for life! We did lots of fun things during our trip (I’ll get to writing about these at some point!), with huge thanks to Lieke who is from the Netherlands and knew all the great spots to visit. One of those was Rijks restaurant.
Rijks is located within the world famous Rijksmuseum. Just as the museum tells the story and history of the Netherlands with some influences from other countries from across the globe, the restaurant follows suit. It describes itself as being “the Rijksmuseum served up on a plate”.
The kitchen is headed up by Joris Bijdendijk who you could see working hard away in the open plan kitchen with his team. He’s obviously well recognised in the cooking scene in the Netherlands, with a new book launching next week.
So, on to the food! To try a little bit of everything, we ordered the ‘Rijks Table’ – 6 dishes for 67.5 Euros per person, and we did wine pairing alongside this.
The first dish in the tasting menu was Scallop Ceviche: coconut, kalamansi, sambal
This was dreamy with a very generous serving of scallop for a first course in a tasting menu. And I was even luckier because my girl friends aren’t very keen on scallops, so I had extra portions. I loved the soft and creamy coconut flavour but it still had a bit of a kick to it.
Second course was Cauliflower: dashi, sourdough, smoked butter.
This was gorgeous – I’m always amazed when restaurants like this can get me to love a dish that has no meat in it, being the meat lover that I am. The cauliflower was more than enough substance for this dish and the sauce was rich and lovely!
Third dish was Plaice from the plancha: vin jaune, chicken liver, sea buckthorn, salsify.
The plaice was perfectly cooked and I’ve never thought of pairing chicken liver with fish, but it worked brilliantly. I was also very excited to see vin jaune on the menu in this sauce. I could have licked the plate clean, but that would have been highly inappropriate…
Fourth and the final savoury dish was Pork Knuckle: ‘Jonagold’, horseradish, wild herbs. The full pork knuckle was brought out for us to see, before being presented as the final dish.
I was really impressed by this meat and I’d actually never eaten pork knuckle before, following a rather bad experience in Cologne a few years ago. A colleague of mine (also while I was at 2K) was served it on a work trip and it was a bit of a monstrosity – a huge meaty lump whacked on the plate with very little edible meat on it. I’d been put off it ever since. But as you can see from the photo above, this pork knuckle couldn’t have been further than that, and was excellent. The jonagold apple you can see on the right hand side was sliced into tiny layers and reconstructed – very clever.
Fifth dish (first sweet) was Tzatziki: yogurt, cucumber dill.
I was particularly excited to try this, having grown up in Cyprus and consuming copious amounts of the stuff. But as a savoury dip. In kebabs. How on earth would this work as a dessert? Well I can tell you now, dear reader, it did! I was astounded! The sweetness and crunch of the meringue contrasted with the sharp smoothness of the yoghurt, it was brill!
We were then treated to an extra dish, a white chocolate palate cleanser in the form of little lollies.
And the sixth and final dish was Carrot Cake: mandarin, coffee, white chocolate ice cream.
One of the prettiest dishes but I wasn’t blown away by the flavours on this one. I’m not sure why, I think it was all just a ‘bit much’, but I liked the idea of it being like a deconstructed carrot cake with a side of coffee.
I was going to write about the wines we paired with the courses, but this was a bit ‘higgledy-piggledy’ (there’s a phrase I never thought I’d use on this blog). We didn’t seem to actually get a glass for each course, and when we did, we didn’t always have them explained to us by the waitress. Which brings me on to our biggest bugbear. The service was painfully slow! I know I can tend to get ‘London attitude’ sometimes and have to remind myself that life doesn’t always move as fast in other places as in our capital city. But this even annoyed Pia who has lived in many countries, and Lieke, who again is from the Netherlands. This wasn’t just me! We were having a great time enjoying each other’s company, but there’s only so long you can wait between courses. Especially when you want to enjoy the evening ahead of you – we were in there for nearly four hours, which in hindsight is rather insane.
Still it was a fun evening and a great experience, with delicious food! I’m glad I got to experience it, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Joris Bijdendijk.
If you’re interested in visiting, you can find out more on their website here.