On Wednesday last week Michiel and I went to celebrate my birthday in one of my favourite places in Amsterdam. When Michiel suggested we go to Elkaar I jumped at the chance, as the last time I went was in restaurant week last year to celebrate me “becoming Dutch”, (in other words me getting a social security number). I think Elkaar has a sort of sentimental value to me as when Michiel and I went there last I had just moved in with Michiel and this was our first really special night out, the food was excellent and the service was impeccable so I was keen to go again to see if I still felt the same.
When we arrived we decided to sit outside as it was lovely and warm, but not so hot that you couldn’t breathe. Before we had even seen a menu the waitress took our order for drinks and then brought us out some bread and butter, and shortly afterwards an aperitif of pureed green vegetables, with a frozen tomato sorbet on top, and a crudite with mackerel on top. It was so tasty and it got rid of my hunger pangs long enough to look at the food menu.
Elkaar is a bit more expensive than Michiel and I would usually pay (unless it’s a really good deal), but they do have an option for three courses for 36 euro per person, but you have to choose from a set menu (or Bib Gourmand menu) which wasn’t a problem for us. Normally a main course comes in at between 20 and 30 euros, so for 6 extra euros you get two extra courses. This obviously doesn’t include drinks, which vary in prices.
This is what the Bib Gourmand menu looked like:
Smoked Irish sirloin with creamy Parmesan cheese, and boiled quail eggs
Two preparations of Albacore tuna with pickled vegetables, avocado cream and basil oil
Farm chicken in the oven with pommes dauphines, green beans and a sauce of morels
Pan fried cod with crispy corn cakes, marinated beetroots, mushrooms and a light sauce of red port
Fresh lemon cake with lemon curd, mango sorbet and a compote of mango
Selection of beautiful mature farmhouse cheeses, served with raisin bread, grapes and a homemade apple
* extra € 2.50
Vanilla yoghurt marinated with red fruit and raspberry sorbet
For our starter Michiel and I both ordered the smoked Irish sirloin with parmesan and quail eggs as I wasn’t sure if I would like the picked vegetables. Whenever anyone sais pickle to me it always reminds me of gherkins, which are ok but they aren’t my favourite. When it came the Irish Sirloin didn’t look how I expected it to – it looked more like a carpaccio than a steak – I was expecting thicker slices of meat. Even so, it was so tasty, I loved the crispy parmesan and the combination of quail eggs with the meat.
For our main course Michiel and I ordered different dishes. I don’t eat chicken so I went for the cod, and I think because Michiel doesn’t eat chicken as often as he used to, whenever there is chicken on a menu he usually picks that. I was really looking forward to the cod because if you’re anything like me, you associate cod with fish and chips, instead of restaurant fare. I can’t recall ever seeing cod on a menu in a restaurant in the UK, so I was really excited about eating it without batter and chips.
The main course took quite a long time to come (which I didn’t mind at all since the weather was beautiful) and it was only because the chicken took a while to cook. It was definitely worth the wait though. My cod was beautifully cooked, I loved the sauce and the corn cakes were so tasty. The beetroots had absorbed the port sauce and I was shovelling the food into my mouth like it was going out of fashion because every mouthful was divine, and Michiel was really enjoying his chicken too.
Since it was my birthday, earlier on in the day I had eaten a slice of cheesecake and felt like if I had another sweet dessert it would make me feel sick, so I opted for the cheese board (which costs an extra 2.50), and Michiel went for the yoghurt with red fruit and raspberry sorbet. Cheese is one of my favourite things, and I was really impressed with this cheese board. Every cheese was from a different country (including a stilton from the UK, some Swiss cheese and a Dutch cheese), and there were six different cheeses in total. My favourite was the cheese which had two layers separated with a layer of
mould (stilton style) and the top layer was made with milk from the morning, and the bottom layer was made with milk from the evening. I have forgotten it’s name, but I am returning to Elkaar in a few weeks so I’m going to memorise it then.
Michiel’s dessert looked delicious too, but when I tried the sorbet I was glad that I chose a cheese board. It was delicious, but too much for me because of the cheesecake earlier in the day.
Overall the meal and all of the drinks came to just over 100 euro for the both of us, so it was a bit of a splurge but it was definitely worth it. The service there is really good, even though I confused the waitress by asking her to speak to me in Dutch, and to give me a Dutch menu, and then spoke in English the whole time with Michiel, which completely threw her off. The food was so tasty, so I can definitely recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere a bit special, with a very homely feel (especially inside the restaurant) then Elkaar is for you.