The Okura hotel in Amsterdam has two restaurants with michelin stars: downstairs the traditional Japanese (Kaiseki) restaurant Yamazato* and on the 23rd floor Ciel Bleu** with a magnificent view on downtown Amsterdam. We had not been there in a few years, and were looking for a special occasion to go to Ciel Bleu again. This occasion presented itself when two American friends were in town, and we decided to celebrate the occasion by having dinner at Ciel Bleu together. Since it was a weekday and we all had to work the next day, we chose the 5-course summer menu (95 euros, plus 55 euros for matching wines) rather than the 8-course degustation. Photos taken with my iPhone.
The ‘bites’ were a shrimp ‘bitterball’, an olive ‘oreo’ and an octopus ‘cornetto’. All nicely done.
The ‘amuses bouche’ continued with three preparations of bell peppers with very tender slow-cooked mackerel.
The first course of the menu d’été was the best of the evening: Seafood 2012, marinated seafood with cream of sea weed, lobster tail prepared in citrus oil and ponzu jelly. Amazing presentation and great taste. All the seafood was excellently prepared. Good match with an usually exotic albariño from Rias Baixas. 10/10
Sea bass & Artichoke: Sea bass prepared in olive oil with cream of artichoke, Taggiasche-olives and ‘Beurre Blanc’ with gin.
This dish was good, but the seabass needed a little someting more (salt? lemon?). Paired with a heavily wooded exotic chenin blanc from South Africa. 8/10
Lamb Saddle & Eggplant: Sauted lamb from ‘Zeeland’ with cream of roasted eggplant, miso marshmallow, corn polenta and roasted garlic jus
Three preparations of lamb: saddle, rack and shank. All of them very good and a nice pairing with a red burgundy Beaune 1er cru. 9/10
Sweet stimulations: Peanuts, banana and chocolate, ‘Prepared and presented in a unique way’
Good taste and nice presentation, especially the fake peanut made from peanut. 8/10
‘Shaken Not Stirred’: Cheese cake with creamy pistachio, Ice cream of yoghurt and verbena. ‘Daiquiri’ cocktail, strawberry and yuzu
Nice tastes and textures, paired with an original moscato d’asti-type wine from the Veneto that’s made from a grape that is a cross between moscato and something else. 8/10
With coffee or tea came a big cart with a great selection of chocolates, tarts and other sweets.
Taking one of each was allowed as long as you did eat all of them, but I decided to pick ‘only’ six…
Ciel Bleu is certainly one of the best if not the best restaurant in Amsterdam. The 8-course degustation probably has more of a ‘wow factor’ than the 5-course summer menu, so next time we’ll have that again. This was very good though! 8.5/10 for the food, 8/10 for wine and 8/10 for service. Not to mention 10/10 for the view! We are definitely coming back.