Amsterdam / June 4, 2011 / dinner
Winederlust Rating (details below): 7.5 out of 10 / Winederlust Worthy: Yes
Prior to our quick trip to Amsterdam, online restaurant research pointed us to De Witte Uyl (“The White Owl”) as one of the best restaurants in the city – neighborhoody, but focusing on high-quality, organic ingredients in a creative (as we would learn, for Amsterdam) menu.
Jay and I took a pleasant 20-minute or so walk from our hotel near Vondel Park to De Pijp, which we heard was an up-and-coming neighborhood and home to the city’s largest open-air market, the Albert Cuypmarkt.
This was to be the first of several restaurants in Amsterdam that were ¾ empty when we ate there – not sure if it was because we were eating at a late (for Amsterdam?) hour of 9pm, or what the case was. But there were only a couple other tables occupied at that time.
De Witte Uyl itself is small and casual with off-white walls, an open kitchen in the back, and jazz tunes playing in the background. They charge EU 39.50 for two courses of your choice plus dessert – which seemed like a good deal until we saw the price converted by our bank to American dollars after returning home! (With a couple glasses of wine each, it came to nearly $170 U.S. for the meal.)
Our complimentary starter was a duck bouillon with white asparagus foam and chunks of white asparagus. This dish had an interesting consistency — very light, nearly air-like because of the foam — but with the slightly gamey though tasty flavor of duck.
Next I started with one of the daily specials, pastry with yogurt, dutch shrimp, white asparagus, cucumber, and poached egg on top. The summery flavors, which sounded on paper like they could be a mess, actually came together in an interesting way, balanced out by the slightly salty (and tiny) shrimp.
Jay’s starter was the beetroot beignet with mint buffalo mozzarella, topped with spicy, smoky tomato. This dish tasted of chickpeas (though there were no chickpeas in sight), with a slight sweetness balanced by the tanginess of the mozzarella. However, they were a bit on the heavy side, and there were too many of them — we could have been satisfied with just two instead of three.
My entree was two big ravioli with chicory, sea lavender, and gorgonzola, served with a potato and chive creme. While tasty, it was a bit heavy and dense for my liking.
For his entree, Jay chose the scallops on a Japanese omelette with a carrot, ginger, and sage puree, served with micro greens. The greens were tasty and fragrant, but we found the flavors in the omelette a bit jarring and not entirely pleasant.
To finish, we chose two desserts with wine pairings. First, the soft meringue – which was a bit odd and tasted like fruit cake – with apricot mint mascarpone, paired with Austrian beerenauslese, maybe not sweet enough for the pairing. The second dessert was a gingerbread with parfait and salty caramel sauce – also reminiscent of a Christmas dessert, but good, and well paired with an Austrian ice wine.
Overall, De Witte Uyl offered some good and different food combinations, and the service was friendly and helpful. But it wasn’t as fantastic as we had hoped – especially for the price.
– by Liz Humphreys, Winederlust Eater in Chief
Winederlust Rating Details (out of 10):
Food: 7.0 (preparation, presentation & taste)
Wine: 7.0 (selection, recommendations, pairings & taste)
Service: 8.5 (helpfulness, attentiveness, knowledge & pacing)
Place: 7.5 (location, view, decor & vibe)
Price Range: $$$ (Expensive)
De Witte Uyl / Frans Halsstraat 26 1072 BR Amsterdam [map]
Direct Line: +31 (0)20 6 700 458
Call or check website for current hours. Reservations suggested through email firstname.lastname@example.org.