I spent all of last week working in Amsterdam. The unexpected highlight was a meal at the most excellent Cafe Modern, where I ate five mouth-watering courses of deliciousness.
It’s a set menu, no options, all in for €40. You’d be crazy to quibble or to question their selection. Now my Dutch is okay for buying train tickets and discussing life’s most basic concepts, so I didn’t manage to translate 100% of the menu. Bear with me. And don’t scroll down if you’re even a little bit hungry.
Our waiter (who I think was the owner) was patient beyond belief, so here’s what I remember:
1 – Herring, oysters in creme fraiche and a healthy serving of caviar. Now, I’m not a massive fan of oysters or, indeed, caviar. But I tucked in gamely and was rewarded. The combination of flavours and textures was perfect. And despite my aversion to raw fish, I enjoyed every mouthful.
2 – Duck liver, kimchee and a miso reduction, accompanied by a sesame wafer: I like a bit of pate (can’t you just tell by looking at me?!) but the pairing with some kimchee was unexpected. It worked! Sharp pickle with very soft liver. Nom-tastic.
3 – Unknown fish (sorry!) with Hollandaise sauce and root vegetables: I was lost in the moment here, but this white fish, which I still can’t place, was the business. Accompanied by a nice dollop of the tastiest Hollandaise I’ve ever tasted and some tiny, tiny perfectly-formed carvings of root veg.
4 – Various shellfish with a very healthy langoustine and delicious broth: I was hitting my stride here and barely paused to look at my dining companion before making short work of this. I wasn’t disappointed and the savoury courses ended on a particularly high note. I could have eaten a bucket full of this combination.
5 – Strawberries, meringue and fruit coulis plus fresh herbs: No photos of the strawberries, I’m afraid. I was completely lost in the experience at this point and forgot to take a snap. Take my word for it – the fruit and meringues were as beautifully presented as the previous courses.
Seriously, next time you’re in Amsterdam, take the free ferry from the back of Amsterdam Centraal station and walk due north for about 10 minutes. You’ll enjoy the best, most surprising meal for an unbeatable price.
You want more? Well, the building used to be a bank, so the toilets are in the basement in the former vaults. You can check out the safe deposit boxes while you’re down there.
A massive thank you to the team at Cafe Modern for making us feel so welcome. And apologies for so crassly taking photos of my meal – but it was mind-blowing!
I’ll definitely be back.