Do you remember Scary French Lady? I used to write about her (and a host of other characters – aka my friends) back in the days when I knew nothing about SEO and my blog was only read by about five people, most of whom had my surname… Anyway, she’s leaving Amsterdam (again) and this called for a final foodie dinner of her choice. Having never been to the iconic A’DAM Tower over the other side of the IJ, she picked MA’DAM for its 20th-storey views over the city and chic reputation. I, as always, was game…
Once up on the 20th floor, the waiting staff seemed to be confused by which table we were supposed to be sitting at – and even more confused about how restaurants work. No offers of drinks or menus were forthcoming for at least an aperitif’s worth of minutes. But there was bread – so that was a start, at least.
When we did finally manage to order, the French pinot noir we got seemed excessively priced (€35) for the quality of the wine in the bottle – but then again you’re paying for the view as much as anything else. And there’s no denying that said view is phenomenal – especially when Amsterdam treats you to one of its stunning late-summer sunsets.
My mackerel starter was probably the best thing I ate – served with creamy, dill-spiked avocado purée and crispy, rainbow-coloured shards of turnip.
My main, perhaps predictably by this point, was a lesson in style over substance. Duck breast was served with “noodles” that looked like maggots and tasted like rice crispies. The side of bok choi and cabbage lacked bite – in both flavour and texture – although the sauce tasted good and the duck was at least properly cooked.
I opted for the cheese as dessert – and there was nothing wrong with the cheeses themselves. But serving them with one tiny crispbread makes about as much sense as Brexit. (To the waiter’s credit, he did readily bring me back-up bread, and a knife, which was also lacking for some reason.)
Three courses at MA’DAM will set you back €40 (well, €39.50 to be precise, but let’s call a spade a spade) and there are certainly many restaurants in Amsterdam where you can eat better for that price. There are not, however, many restaurants in Amsterdam with that view… so I suggest you pay your penny and take your choice.