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Amarone in Rotterdam - 1 Michelin star

Rating: 85.
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Amarone restaurant is located in a bustling Rotterdam high street called De Meent. Head chef and owner of the restaurant is Gert Blom. Before opening his restaurant in 2006, Gert Blom trained in the kitchens of well-known Dutch (Michelin starred) restaurants, such as La Rive at the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam (during the two-star reign of chef Robert Kranenborg), Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk, De Zwethheul in Schipluiden (near Rotterdam) and La Vilette in Rotterdam (now defunct). In 2007 Amarone was awarded a Michelin star.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday till Saturday (no lunch on Saturday) and you can choose between an a la carte menu, a 4-course menu for €59.50, a 6-course menu for €79.50 and there's a 3-course lunch menu for €35. I had lunch on Monday 15 April 2013 and I ordered dishes from the a la carte menu.

First a nice selection of tasty nibbles arrived: Sweet and salty macadamia nuts, crisp wasabi and sesame brick pastry, crostini with tuna mayonnaise and Lomo sausage, a ham and cheese 'bitterbal' and pumpernickel with foie gras and a beetroot macaron.

Celeriac cappuccino with diced bacon and beetroot was served as an amuse bouche. The cappuccino was nice and creamy and the bacon added a lovely touch of saltiness.

As a starter I had Pan-fried langoustines, tuna, avocado crème, Parmesan crisp, herb salad, fresh grapefruit, Vadouvan foam and yuzu. Two pieces of fresh tuna hiding underneath a rather bland Parmesan crisp. Nice avocado crème and adequate langoustines. The Vadouvan foam was far too strong however and completely overpowered the langoustine and the tuna. The yuzu on the other hand failed to make an impact. Overall this was an odd dish that lacked finesse and balance; the ingredients didn't complement each other and the Vadouvan foam dominated in an unpleasant way.

Second course: Pan-fried scallops, confit king crab, courgette, basil pommes souffle and a lobster nage. Delicious caramelised scallops and tasty king crab, served on top of some lovely finely chopped courgette. Nice crunch and flavour from the basil pommes souffle. Unfortunately the lobster nage was far too salty. So salty even that it actually ruined the dish, which was a real shame because otherwise this was a good and nicely presented dish.

Time for the main course: Lemon sole, sourdough, morel mushroom sauce, pea mousseline, fresh peas, green beans and dried morel mushrooms. Four well-cooked fillets of lemon sole covered with thin slices of crispy but very greasy and salty sourdough and there was too much bread for the amount of fish. Nice creamy morel mushroom sauce and lovely smooth and clean-tasting pea mousseline. The somewhat puny dried morel mushrooms were a big disappointment however, especially since I had expected fresh ones now that they are in season.

Dessert was Lemon crème, fresh Lambada strawberries, Werther's Original ice cream, Taggiasche olives, raspberry sugar shards. Lovely light and tart lemon crème that had a custard-like consistency. Well-made ice cream but the caramel flavour that's so characteristic for Werther's Original was lacking. The saltiness from the Taggiasche olives combined nicely with the fresh strawberries and lemon crème. The raspberry sugar shards were a nice touch but their flavour was quite powerful and they left an overpowering finish of boiled sweets.

This was not a good meal. I do not mean to say that everything was wrong - far from it. There were many good things to enjoy on the plate but in every course there were faulty and/or unpleasant elements too that really let the food down. This is a shame really, because potentially this restaurant has everything going for it. If the food I was served, is representative for what the kitchen turns out at Amarone, they should really get their act together. Maybe I was unlucky?

Posted 22-04-2013


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