C is for Celsius: Restaurant C, Amsterdam

Please note that since writing this blog post, Restaurant C has closed down

Restaurant C stands on the location that was once occupied by BAUT – the first iteration of BAUT, that is. And that’s perhaps no coincidence – both restaurants are run by Michiel van der Eerde, so I guess he liked the spot and didn’t want to give it up. I like the spot too – not least because it’s a stone’s throw from my new house. And when you decide to take the wine pairing – well, a short stumble home is to be recommended…

But Restaurant C isn’t only about Meneer van der Eerde. In the kitchen, you’ll also find Chef Arnout van der Kolk – and he’s made his mark. While BAUT is accomplished, it’s also a crowd pleaser, with dishes that generally err on the side of caution. At C, which stands for Celsius – the kitchen plays with temperatures from 20 to 200 degrees – the flavours are bigger, bolder and all the better for it. Van der Kolk’s influence is palpable, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Restaurant C Amsterdam - Cocktail Connection
The “Cocktail Connection” at Restaurant C

Even the bread that was on the table started as the meal meant to go on. A small brown loaf came with curried mayonnaise, roasted tomato salsa and toasted walnuts – the flavours were big and bright, right from the get-go. The “Cocktail Connection” is a sort of aperitif-amuse combo that starts with the drink and then pairs a small dish with it. The whisky sour was smoky yet smooth, and citrusy yet tinged with bitters – just the way I like ‘em. The dish was rolled, slow-cooked, pulled lamb with puffed rice, aioli and a green sauce that tasted as vivid as it looked.

Our first proper dish showcased largely cold ingredients: raw mackerel and cucumber, yuzu gel, saffron kroepoek, and a sauce that had a spicy hit to it as well as a sweet citrusy finish. The whole plate packed a hefty punch, and was an excellent start to the menu.

Restaurant C Amsterdam - mackerel
Low on temperature, big on taste!

The cold theme continued with steak tartare, served in a fairly classic way with finely chopped pickles and onions. But on top of a thin, crispy crouton sat a teriyaki-fried morsel of sweetbread, and round the edge of the plate were pearls of lobster bisque. Each of the elements was perfectly executed in itself, but it felt like there were slightly too many competing flavours on the plate at the same time.

Restaurant C Amsterdam - steak tartare
Steak tartare, C-style

Next came possibly my favourite dish – perhaps because it reminded me of the geoduck dish I ate in Seattle a few weeks back. Clams and razor clams that had been just cooked and still retained all their bite were served with several varieties of seaweed and an umami-rich foam. I was awestruck by the textures, and vowed to try and find out where the kitchen sources its seaweed (Arnout, if you’re reading this – would you let me into the secret?).

Restaurant C Amsterdam - seaweed dish
Clams and seaweed – a festival of textures

The meaty main was lamb fillet cooked sous vide until it was meltingly tender, served with equally tender stemmed broccolini, sweet onions, a creamy garlicky sauce with a hint of anchovy, and a dash of lamb jus. Again, the dish represented a chef who’s not afraid of feisty flavours – and we were hooked.

A note about the wine: I thought about wine at this point as I was remembering the red wine we drank with the meat. It was a full-bodied, generous South African wine but with some serious refinement too. Still, it’s not hard to like a South African Bordeaux-style wine with a plate of lamb. What’s rather harder, however, is to fall equally in love with a Dutch wine from Zeeland – you’ll have to try it for yourself with that first mackerel dish before you’ll believe me.

Restaurant C Amsterdam - kitchen
C’s chefs plating up the mains…

Dessert was a festival of summer fruit flavours, featuring strawberries, basil and… I was so drunk by this point that I don’t even remember! (A word of caution: Sommelier Martijn van Steijn has a heavy pour.) It was a fittingly light and radiant end to our meal, and even came with its own summer fruit cocktail. Restaurant C comped my dinner on this occasion, but a bit of arithmetic tells me it would’ve come to €107 each including the five courses, paired wines and the cocktail/amuse at the start. Of course, very few of us can afford to spend that amount of money very often – but as value goes, it was absolutely worth it. And I already know where I’m taking my parents next time they visit…

all the info

Restaurant C (International)


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