Sometimes in life, things are worth waiting for.
We’ve heard for many years that VisaandeSchelde is one of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Amsterdam, however we’ve never had the chance to experience it for ourselves. Until now, that is.
Situated on the Scheldestraat opposite the RAI convention centre, the restaurant is well located within the city and easily accessible. The interior makes use of hand-crafted materials, herring-bone patterns and special lighting to complement the area and food being served. Old techniques, crafts and beautiful reused materials have been deployed in the interior design. The combination of materials, images and patterns have been used in such a way as to create several different spaces within the restaurant.
On arrival we were warmly welcomed by the friendly staff. Once seated, our glasses were immediately filled with a stunning Limoux sparkling Rose. A gorgeous aperitief with quite a robust bubble. However, it held it’s own with the snack and amuse. The snack was a signature dish of the restaurant in bite-size: a crispy ‘cup’ filled with a bouillabaisse foam and shrimp tail – superb!
The amuse that followed was a story of two parts. The Patron cuisinier-owner, Michiel Deenik, who serves and engages his guests, suggested we start with the soup. The soup was a cold Dashi (a Japanese soup made from kombu [dried seaweed] and bonito [dried tuna]) which was flavoured with coriander and spring onions with a few ocean jewels, such as an oyster and mussel to embellish. The dashi was sublime, packed full of flavour yet so clean on the palate. The other half of the amuse was a puree of sweetcorn with fresh water crayfish and a buttermilk and lemongrass foam. It was quite a shock going from something so savoury to something quite sweet, but the more one ate, the better it got. We couldn’t detect any lemongrass in the foam, which may have helped the balance of the dish.
The starter that followed was a beautiful sashimi of Big Eye tuna, glazed with teriyaki and served with a tom kai gai dressing. Beautiful deep red tuna, as fresh as one can get. The accompanying garnish brough the dish to life. It was palate of preparations of cucumber, smoked pineapple, caviar, sourdough crouton, avocado puree, lemongrass gel, ama ebi prawn and edible flowers. With so many ingredients, a skillful touch is needed to achieve balance and this is just what it was. The dish was paired with Branco Vinho Verde, which was lemony on the nose and floral on the palate. Paired with the dish, a lychee flavour came to the fore.
Our second course was pan roasted sea bream with a heavenly crispy skin, tartare of raw sea bream, mushroom and anchovy tapenade, red pepper ice cream and a squid ink and olive oil dressing. In one word this dish was WOW! Definitely one of our favourites. This was an explosion of flavours, textures and temperatures. We use sea bream often in our recipes but have never used it raw. We will do now. Red pepper can so easily over-power other ingredients, but here it was perfectly judged and added a beautiful sweetness to the dish. This was paired with a Parva Res from Sicily, with stone fruit aromas. We detected notes of papaya when accompanied with the dish.
Main course was an interpretation of surf and turf. We had Zander (snoekbaars in Dutch), braised in brown butter accompanied with a beef stew, chantarelles, roast beetroot, beetroot puree and long pepper. This was a very rich dish, with the meaty flavours dominating. The sweetness of the beetroot counteracted the richness of the braised beef. The dish was paired with 4 Meses Jumilla red from Spain. A perfect wine which was light enough for the fish but rich enough to stand up to the beefy flavours.
We had just enough room left to share dessert. The 2 varieties of kiwi with kiwi gel, custard and coconut marshmallow and sponge looked picture perfect but didn’t live up to the quality of the other dishes. The wine, an Auslese Muskat Ottonel was lovely. Our espresso came with unexpected friandise; the creme brûlée and canelle (French pastry) were absolute stunners.
Michiel shared his personal story with us that he originally started the restaurant with his friend, who sadly passed away a few years ago. The story and the journey they made is reflected in the dishes. There is no better ode to someone special than to bring joy to others through good food and good wine.
For more information, please visit VisaandeSchelde.