Bistro Zebra, Amsterdam: earns its stripes

Please note that since writing this blog post, Bistro Zebra has closed down

I asked a friend of mine who’d been to Bistro Zebra what he thought of it. “I don’t know how to describe it,” he said, “but I think you’ll love it.” I was intrigued.

Last Saturday, after a dip in the IJ to cool off from this insane summer we’re having, I found myself at a loose end for dinner and in the right neck of the woods to stop by Bistro Zebra. It was one of those spontaneously perfect days when everything just worked out. Including the food. And the drinks, for that matter. I started off with a margarita and then progressed to an “orange wine” that was almost vegetally organic but still smooth and subtly oaky.

Bistro Zebra Amsterdam - dish of the day is satay
Bistro Zebra’s dish of the day: satay

The menu featured a dish of the day for €15 (in this case, a simple satay and frites that my friend ordered and I tried – it was superb) as well as a bunch of other dishes that were somewhere between starter and main course sized, priced at between €9 and €14. Apparently it’s also possible to order a chef’s menu starting at €30, but we didn’t realise that till afterwards. (Looking back, this was clearly a case of too much sun and too many drinks, as it’s quite evident from the menu.)

Bistro Zebra Amsterdam - sashimi
Sashimi with pickled root veg and wasabi

First up, I tried a plate of marinated grey mullet sashimi with pickled (lightly fermented?) root vegetables and wasabi mayo. It was fresh and inviting from the fish, sweet and sour from the vegetables, with both heat and umami from the wasabi and the soy marinade. An excellently summery combination.

Still on my seasonal fish kick, I ordered the pollack next: it came with a heady mix of kimchi and sake cream that formed a rudimentary sauce for the udon noodles. Spicy, creamy and savoury – I couldn’t get enough of it.

Bistro Zebra Amsterdam - fusion food
A fusion of flavours in this dish of noodles, fish and kimchi
Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a huge fan of big flavours – and an even bigger fan of the chefs who aren’t afraid to use them. Bistro Zebra has one of those chefs. ‘Nuff said.

all the info

Bistro Zebra (International)


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