It’s been a long time since I have seen an onion used quite so creatively – the most memorable time being the finale in a rather elaborate cabaret performance, following which it took me some time before I could even consider consuming an onion again.
The culinary potential of the onion is something Breda in Amsterdam have considered with huge success in the opening amuse; the ‘four-way onion.’ (I would remind you I am talking once more about Breda and not the cabaret) three bite sized onion delicacies featured alongside a steaming ramekin of onion broth, each piece offering a deeper insight into the veg du jour, one being a roasted silverskin shell with crispy shallot shavings, the next being an onion mousse topped with parmesan, and the final and least popular element was the tempura’d onion ring which was beige in comparison and had the consistency of a steamed biscuit.
Ordering your food is a swift process here as the only choice to make is how many courses you’re after and how much you want to spend. Three courses €29.50, four courses €37.50, five courses €45.50. Selecting four we galloped through our intro onions and started on the mackerel fillet – a delicate slither of silver fish served raw with pickled apples. A very competent dish, but perhaps some of the delicacy of the mackerel was lost in the heavy handed use of sesame oil and the vinegar it was swimming in.
Haddock was next, resting neatly on oyster cream and spinach mousse, garnished with dried kale chips. Poached to perfection, the fish flaked into the sauce to create a mouthful of oceanic wonder worthy of Neptune himself. I barely came up for air as I scoffed it down. I also came very close to licking the plate.
Service was efficient, pleasant and stylish. The team are decked out in their own attire with the one remit seemingly being; ‘wear black’. Perhaps a little bit more interaction from our waitress would have been welcomed, however it may have been my probing questions about her tattoos that made her reluctant to linger. Nevertheless, her recommendation on the Riesling pairing made up for her lack of chat.
After a sufficient pause, we were presented with the rib-eye, served with a tarka dahl cream and turnip tops. The best part of this dish was the dahl, packed with loads of exotic flavour. The turnip tops were doused in balsamic and the steak had a strange sticky sauce which I couldn’t place. Perhaps the one dish which could do with some re-engineering?
Our dessert was utterly ridiculous – in the best way imaginable. Rosemary smoked vanilla ice cream, salted caramel with chocolate and olive oil crumble. A genius marriage of sweet and savoury flavours and the perfect end to the menu.
Each dish had layers of flavour, and encouraged a real party vibe on the palate – which was successful in most dishes but in some it was sensory overload. It’s amazingly rich food, and with each bite giving you a whack of umami you are left craving some of those naked flavours that quality ingredients offer you.
That said, this neighbourhood gem boasting views of the canal and Amsterdam’s iconic architecture is highly recommended – if you can get a table!
Singel 210, Amsterdam, email@example.com, breda-amsterdam.com, Lunch 12:00 – 13:00, Dinner 18:00 – 22:00.