Daalder restaurant excels at accessible fine dining. Located in the charming Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam, the space feels welcoming with understated elegance. A marble top bar is the focal point of the small dining room, a throwback to the prior iteration of the space. A diner could easily walk in for lunch and enjoy the tasting menu at the bar.
Chef Dennis Huwaë executes his vision of a relaxed, yet elevated experience with a flexible modern tasting menu. The layered flavors and presentation reflect his strong background cooking in many two Michelin starred kitchens.
Daadler offers the five or seven-course menu at lunch, or the option of a shorter menu. I went with five courses, and they let me substitute the Langoustine supplement with a small surcharge.
A glass of dry Cremant d’Alsace, with soft bubbles went well with the seafood focused meal.
I appreciated the presentation of the amuse bouches, which were in line with the quietly refined ethos of the restaurant. A salmon meringue bite was a play on nigiri. The Daadler fish and chips looked nothing like the traditional English dish but rather a tangy bite of salted cod salad on an airy potato cracker.
My favorite was a spoon that held a delicately crisp blackberry cracker, filled with tuna, radish, and creme fraiche. A flavor burst that tasted almost Thai to me.
The first course was a chilled Spanish aji blanco soup topped with cobia, cold tofu sorbet, and contrasted with crunchy green apple and cucumber. I enjoyed the refreshing dish which was both bright with hints of dark umami, though the fish had some stringy parts.
Next was a creamy and runny egg, green asparagus, and morel dish that was satisfying to mix together. The morels were over seasoned, but the fresh asparagus worked to offset the sodium. The croutons were too hard for my taste.
Following this was turbot with razor clams in a tangy mustard sauce, with tarragon and a pop of lemon gel. This dish was perfectly balanced.
Next was the star – langoustine two ways. Langoustine with caviar and nori was enjoyed like a taco with a lettuce shell. The main dish of langoustine had more vibrant green broccoli color with swirls from an onion tandoori sauce. Bright yuzu sauce brought it all together. This was a joy to eat.
The five-course menu came with one dessert. I was pretty satisfied, though I regret not asking for their take on the classic stroopwafel as an add-on!
The white corn dish was beautiful to look at. Shaped like an actual ear of corn, the coconut ice cream was very subtle in flavor and just a little icy. I wanted stronger popcorn flavor as well, but I did like the bergamot gel accents.
Overall I enjoyed the leisurely-paced lunch at Daadler, with five courses spread out over two hours. Small missteps like hard butter and stringy fish were easily forgotten with the wonderful flavors, textures, and presentation. Service was very good as well.