Bord’eau is located in the De L’Europe Hotel which overlooks a busy canal in Amsterdam. One wall of the lovely restaurant is floor to ceiling windows overlooking this canal – a great seat for a show with your meal. The tables are good sized and well spaced with faint pop music playing in the background. Service is friendly and helpful but pacing was too slow leaving lots of time between courses which seemed deliberate since there was no crowd. The food seemed to be going for more visual punch than flavor. They offer an a la carte menu as well as tastings of 3 – 6 courses and it is well detailed what is added with each additional course. There is also an optional duck liver course that could be added to any of the tastings. (We chose to add that to our 4 course tasting).
While looking over the menu we enjoyed a warm velouté of Japanese sea urchin. A nice flavor.
All tastings start with a set of snacks. A Dutch mussel with lemongrass jus and dill-calamansi creme was a large mussel with the dill being a strong flavor. Dutch shrimps with XO sauce, remoulade of celeriac and horseradish were really good. The celeriac was in long strings inside the molded shrimps and there was a good taste of horseradish. A razor clam with ‘soffritto’, Pernod jelly and clementine was chewy with a bit of sweetness and no grit left in the clam. Mariniere jus of cockles with a liaison of Waddenzee oyster was described as a combination soup of all the others however it mostly tasted of oysters and was my least liked.
A classic Dutch bread was served warm with Dutch butter and both were quite tasty.
The langoustine was poached in duckfat with coffee and ‘katsuobushi Albufeira’ – which was a shaved dry tuna. It was an interesting visual addition as the heat of the dish caused the super thin flakes to move around in the bowl, like they were alive. The langoustine was barely cooked and blended beautifully with the rich sauce and tuna flakes. It gave it a hammy taste that came off nicely.
The course added for the 4 course tasting was smoked potatoes that were served with roasted chicken broth, Wilde Weide cheese and preserved black truffle. The interesting visual here is that that homey dish of little potatoes was actually a potato dumpling stuffed with truffle and brushed with truffle oil. They were served in a very thick broth that tasted of smoke.
The Holsteiner dairy cow fillet was thinly sliced and served in a hay consommé with lemon thyme and mushrooms. A side dish of BBQ oxtail with marrow was served with creamy polenta and confiture of onion. The beef fillet was like carpaccio, which cooked with the hot broth poured over it, and laid over ‘noodle cut’ mushrooms. It needed a bit of salt which was available on the table but it basically had no beefy flavor. The savory oxtail was tender and smokey and served with a perfectly smooth polenta. The accompanying onions were sweet and it all mixed together nicely. I preferred it to the fillet.
We ordered a separate wine to go with the duck liver course and dessert. The liver was steamed above a seaweed broth and decorated with umeboshi, which is a Chinese plum sauce that in this case was mixed with a bit of apricot. The liver had been grilled to a soft consistency and caramelized on one side. The flavors were definitely influenced by Asian cooking and it worked to a nice blend with the liver. A good addition to the menu.
I got a shot of the large cheese cart although we did not try any of it.
A palate cleanser of a faux apple core was presented in a faux glass ball, but all elements were edible, including the chocolate apple seeds. The green apple sorbet was complimented by walnut creme and placed on a puff pastry. It was really good and surprisingly light.
The dessert was Birch which is actually illegal to tap in Amsterdam, so these were imported from the north. It was composed of birch leaf anglaise infused with toasted birch wood and birch juice consommé with birch vinegar. The juice was fairly creamy but not overly sweet. It was mild tasting dish but with fun textures. The leaves were crispy and there was a bit of buttery custard under them. The log held the birch juice.
Our waiter Kevin was nice enough to take us on a small tour of the restaurant, wine cellar and kitchen where we got to meet the Executive Sous chef T. Groot.