De Wallen is the largest and the best known red light district in Amsterdam and a major tourist attraction. It has some three hundred tiny one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights. This is the inspiration behind the newly opened gastro-pub Amsterdam Kitchen & Bar at the South Court mall in Saket.
Accordingly the eatery has done a great job in replicating the mood of the area. The end result is something funky yet soothing on the nerves. So the walls have these windows with curtains being replicated through large TV screens. The setting is boudoirish and the predominant colour is pinkish red. All in all this is the kind of place I could spend many hours in. Pawan Soni and I are here for a tasting session with their cocktails and food.
Pawan chooses the restaurant manager Bhuban Koirala’s own concoction called Bhuban’s red passion levitation (Rs 495) as a start. It is a simple cocktail of fresh pomegranate, Bombay Sapphire Gin and celery salt, and is perfectly balanced to deliver an exciting taste. London’s Covent Garden classic, baked potatoes with sour cream and chives (Rs 295) has the potatoes baked to perfection; however the sour cream is a bit too sour, robbing the dish of some of its magic. The stuffed zucchini with basil pesto (Rs 295) is a good dish but not memorable.
The cocktail that I decide to try is green apple martini (Rs 395) which is nice and tangy, but I realize that I would prefer my martini to be the regular shaken not stirred. Pawan has watermelon caprioska (a Brazilian liquor; Rs 395) that is refreshing. Chimichurri prawns (Rs 525) grilled with the Argentinian chimichurri sauce make a perfect, spicy bite, and the accompanying green papaya slaw compliments the dish well. The dishes till now have ranged from good to great, and we look forward to trying the main courses.
The first to arrive is actually the highlight of the meal – the vegetarian Amsterdam style Sicilian pizza (Rs 395), a thin-crust pizza topped with red chillies, mushrooms, cocktail onions, tomato sauce and mozzarella. The crust is perfectly baked and the combination of tastes and textures is simply superb. This is the best vegetarian pizza I have had in Delhi NCR. With our taste buds still tingling we go on and taste the next dish – shredded tenderloin sautéed with shiitake mushrooms (Rs 525). The first thing we discover is the excellent quality of the Amsterdam sourced beef that has been cooked to a melt-in-mouth taste. The meaty mushrooms and the accompanying brown sauce with cream and mustard compliment the dish perfectly. The wow factor continues with their six oz chilly beef burger (Rs 425). Finally I get a burger where the patty is soft and moist and the bun does not disintegrate in the hands, which is a rarity in Delhi NCR. The cocktails are also great – I have ‘cool as cucumber’ (Rs 495), a combo of fresh cucumber juice, ginger and gin, which is not cloyingly sweet, refreshing and a great palate soother. Pawan has the naughtily named exciting drink foreplay which is combo of gin, fresh pineapple and a vanilla pod, muddled, shaken and double strained.
The next two dishes somewhat disappoint. The oven baked sole fish with a sauce of kalamata olives, pine nuts and cherry tomato (Rs 495) would have been perfect had the fish not been overcooked. The spit roast chicken with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables (Rs 425) lacks a clear personality and tastes somewhat pointless. These are the only flaws in an otherwise wonderful meal that Chef Abhinav Sharma dishes out. We end the meal to the comforting notes of waffle with chocolate sauce (Rs 295).
Amsterdam Kitchen Bar is recommended for its funky décor, pleasant cocktails and excellent food…and a taste of Amsterdam’s legendary red-light district for free!
Rating out of 5
Food: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for two: Rs. 1500| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 12 Noon to 12 Midnight | Happy Hours: 3pm-8pm (IMFL:1+1, Imported: 2+1)
Address: Amsterdam Bar & Kitchen, Ground Floor, DLF South Court Mall, Saket, New Delhi | Telephone: +91 9810111534