Amsterdam Foodie

Amsterdam restaurant review: Scheepskameel

The occasion of Mr and Mrs Foodie Senior visiting Amsterdam is always reason for a dinner reservation. I’d given my Dad the option of a couple of tried and tested restaurants (namely Floreyn and Restaurant C) but he preferred to go somewhere none of us had been before “so you can blog about it”. Ever one to keep his daughter’s interests (and his daughter’s readers’ interests) at heart! And so it was that two Saturdays ago, we were dropped off by taxi at what looked like the gates of a prison and then looked like a beer festival. Which it was – but it was also the only way to walk through to a large, historic-looking, brick building that’s home to restaurant Scheepskameel.

While grand on the outside, the inside looks a lot like Rijsel – which is unsurprising given that they’re sister restaurants. But the menu is considerably different. For a start, the wine list is entirely German. I don’t mean it’s written in German – I mean all the wines are German. In contrast, the food menu looks mostly Dutch with a nod to various international influences.

Dinner kicked off with some homemade pickles, garlicky sausage and excellent sourdough bread, while we waited for our bottle of eminently drinkable German Pinot Blanc. Things were off to a good start…

Scheepskameel restaurant Amsterdam
Mackerel and radish first course at Scheepskameel

Unfortunately, my starter dented my initial good impression slightly: while the ingredients – raw mackerel, radish and daikon – were undeniably fresh and good quality, the liquid they were swimming in just tasted like a bland stock. I didn’t get any of the yuzu flavours coming through that were promised on the menu.

Things perked up during the second course: wilted andijvie (don’t ask me what that is in English) was wrapped around fresh ricotta and topped with chunks of raw seasonal apples and slivers of meltingly fatty guanciale. It was essentially four ingredients assembled on a plate, but the combination at least was winning.

Amsterdam restaurant Scheepskameel
A winning combination: andijvie, guanciale and ricotta
My main was equally simple and equally delicious: gelatinously soft calf’s tongue and cheek in their own stewing juices with a peppy gremolata on top. The kind of honest fare that makes you think of a hot meaty meal and a glass of sturdy red wine after a day spent tilling the land. (Not, of course, that I’ve ever done a minute of farming in my life, so what would I know?)

For dessert, we shared a selection of cheeses that were primarily from France and the Netherlands (with one from Ireland, if I remember rightly) plus a plate of madeleines that were served with a little ramekin of sabayon in which to dip them. Again, very simple, but very good. I can’t eat madeleines without thinking of Proust, and these were madeleines he would’ve been proud of…

Madeleines at Scheepskameel
Proust-worthy madeleines with sabayon

In total, our five-course dinner came to €70 each including wine (although my parents don’t drink a great deal). The verdict? Scheepskameel has outstanding produce that’s prepared as simply as possible to let the quality of those ingredients shine through. The service and atmosphere are also excellent. And all of these things are laudable. But while I very much enjoyed my experience, the creativity part was a little lacking for me. Whether that affects my decision to go back to Scheepskameel remains to be seen. What I do know is that next time the Foodies Senior visit, they’ll undoubtedly want to try somewhere new – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

all the info

Scheepskameel (International)
€€€

Kattenburgerstraat 7, (Oost/Watergraafsmeer)020 337 9680 /

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