Following extensive renovations in 2010 and early 2011, 5-star Hotel de l’Europe reopened with swanky new suites and four restaurants including ‘gastronomique’ Bord d’Eau and the less formal Hoofdstad Brasserie.
The brasserie's Dutch-influenced, Parisian-inspired food is prepared in an open kitchen and served with a view of the River Amstel. There are lots of mirrors - tilted forward on one wall so that you can see what the people below them are eating - white linen and deep chairs. It's all very comfortable, but there’s something impersonal about the restaurant, perhaps due to the inherent transience of hotel clientele.
The upside is that the service is also hotel standard. Uniformed servers ferry to and fro with silver trays. I barely had the chance to put down my empty wine glass before someone appeared at my elbow to offer a refill. The bar sales must be phenomenal.
The best way of sampling the food without regretting the financial outlay is the 3-course Hoofdstad Menu for €35. This offers a choice of any starter, main and dessert except à la carte dishes (which are as much as €80 for a cut of Wagyu Gold). The spicy marinated chicken with mashed celeriac and pomegranate sauce was excellent, as was the Tarte Tatin with salty caramel sauce - a quirky combination that really worked.
Coffee was served with bonbons, fresh fruit and an incredible white chocolate and passion fruit dipping sauce (anyone who reads Eat Amsterdam regularly will know I’m a dark chocolate girl - it was a good day when I discovered Chocolatl's 100% cacao bars).
You have to navigate past a doorman and several receptionists to reach Hoofdstad Brasserie and so it isn't the kind of place you would walk into on the off chance there was a table free.
And that's perhaps one of Hoofdstad Brasserie’s biggest selling points: there is always a table free, where you can eat in swish surroundings for a reasonable price, despite the restaurant’s location on one of the busiest junctions in central Amsterdam.
daily midday-15.00 (lunch); 17.00-23.00 (dinner)
Telephone: 020 531 1704
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