Vinkeles is a one star restaurant in the boutique Dylan hotel. The hotel faces a canal but you can’t see it from the restaurant. The small indoor dining room has an enclosed patio with closely set 2-top tables in it. The glass roof is shaded by trees and buildings and some kind of garden area is behind it. Music is in the background but it might have bled in from the bar area you walk though to get to the restaurant. There also happened to be a wedding there in the large center court of the hotel. It’s noise level permeated the patio space but I’m guessing they seated most of the guests there as the inside dining room was even more affected. However it was a warm night and we asked twice to have some more air conditioning which had the slightest affect. Being hot, cramped with a thumping background noise did not seem to be the experience they were going for but hopefully it didn’t color my impressions of the food that seemed to decline in flavor as the evening went on.
They offered 2 tasting menu options of 8 or 5 courses with the option of additional caviar and/or cheese courses for both. They also offered a supplemental Wagyu course but you lost the corresponding menu course if you paid for this up charge. There was a small a la carte menu and wine pairings were offered for the tastings. We asked for a quicker pace to the menu and they did a good job of it.
Waiting for you on the table when you were seated were cheese biscuits that were divine. They had a hint of cayenne pepper and a buttery crisp bottom that made them delicious with a great texture.
The next snack was the “pearl” which was served in an oyster shell that had been painted gold. It was filled with gin,triple sec, lime and some other ingredients. It was said to be fragile and so to just roll it into your mouth without handling. It was liquid filled and nice.
Welks with oyster leaf were mixed with cream and reinserted into the shell. There was a tiny fork to dig them out. They had a good strong flavor. A meringue of carrots was filled with a lamb roulette. It was very light, tender and delicate. I couldn’t pick up the taste of lamb but I did like the texture of it.
Individual butter servings are at each place with a lovely yellow salted Guernsey butter. It also had a dish for the olive oil. The bread was from a gray flower and finished on the grill to give a mild smoke taste. I saw the scorch mark but could not detect the smoked effect. It was a crisp round loaf served warm with a dense but light interior.
The last amuse was a wild sea bass with cucumber and tzatziki sauce served in a crisp meringue shell. The cucumber was cut into a tiny dice which mixed great with the raw fish and gave it a fun texture. There was a frozen layer of something also inside that contributed a creamy essence. It was an interesting bite and very tasty.
The 8 course menu started with raw Hamachi with jalapeño, coconut and pistachio. The pistachios were caramelized and the coconut was in a cold topping. There was a slight heat from the jalapeños and it went great with the fish. It was a great combo of tastes and textures for a very good dish.
Langoustine was served with tiger milk, rose water, avocado, citrus, Myouga ginger, carrot and goat cheese. The langoustine had been marinated in the tiger milk and the goat cheese was used in the sauce. Nice flavors individually but better when combined, but it still didn’t sing like the last couple courses. The tastes of citrus somehow didn’t work here. Call it fine.
Wild Sea Bass was plated with young vegetables, Majestic oyster and a sauce of poultry and cockles jus. The sea bass was very soft with good but not great flavor. There was no explosion on this plate with the fish texture strange to be so mushy, but not dry at all.
John Dory was with pointed cabbage, fresh almonds, girolles (chanterelles ), black pudding and a smoked mackerel sauce. This large flake fish was solid and nicely seasoned with mushrooms and the blood sausage was in small crisp cubes with a hint of spice. The almonds were fresh and so softer than usual. It was a very pleasant combination, not earth shattering, but very good.
Celeriac was served with roasted onion, Umeboshi and sorrel. Here the celery root was glazed with a sauce of butter and buttermilk that was quite good. The celeriac could have been cooked a bit more but the onion was smooth and sweet. A nice combination.
Texas Suckling lamb “9425” was a saddle cut, thin flank with chicory, apple and a sauce of braised neck. The meat was sourced from a Dutch island and the various cuts offered different textures. It was nicely cooked but unremarkable.
The bridge course was avocado with green apple, pistachio and celery. There was a cake like bit underneath that was quite good and dense. It was nicely sweetened by the apple but the avocado was wretched. It was hard and tasteless. Otherwise this was a fine combo.
Mandarin sorbet was served with cheese cake foam, Murray salt, oatmeal and coriander. The oatmeal was in a crumble that added a nice crunch. The hint of salt and coriander made it a refreshing and light dessert. Maybe it should have been the bridge course?
A parting treat with the bill was an apple crumble. Served warm, it was sweet and the crumbs were buttery and crisp. It was terrific and helped end a mixed meal on a high note. This should have been the served dessert as it was far superior to the others.