Our lovely waitress (she really was excellent) came over and introduced herself and explained the concept of the Ron Gastorbar menu. There are no starters or main courses, there’s simply a selection of hot and cold small dishes – a refreshing change from a traditional menu.
We were recommended to have one small plate to start with and another for our second course as it was lunch time – and she recommended saving a little room for dessert!
But as we pondered the menu she left us with some bread, pickles and the best caramelised butter. Yes, you read that correctly – caramelised butter; thick, creamy, almost cream cheese-esque caramelised butter.
And it was just as good as it sounds, and looks! The bread was crunchy on the outside and soft in the centre, and just as good as I had become used to in France.
The restaurant is in such a beautiful setting: it’s located at the bottom of Vondelpark and even though it’s very close to a main road, it’s wonderfully quiet.
The decor of the restaurant itself is incredible: it has that classic Chelsea, London or Hamptons, New York vibe and the outdoor terrace really is fantastic.
There are gorgeous flowers on every table, and attention has been paid to every single detail. Even the staff are dressed in a mix of jeans and crisp white shirts to match the luxury, sophisticated and yet somehow casual dining affair at Ron Gastrobar.
The menus look like newspapers – it’s such a great touch! Again, it adds to the casual tone that’s been extremely well struck in this luxury restaurant.
All the small dishes are the same price – which makes ordering very easy, as you don’t have to do much maths, just mulitply the number of dishes you’re having by 15.
We had a beautiful bottle of sauvignon blanc with our lunch (we were on holiday after all!) which was beautiful and crisp, yet slightly buttery. Perfection.
Do you see what I mean about the Chelsea/Hamptons vibe?
For our first course we shared the soft shell crab with red pepper, paksoi and shrimp dumplings. The crab was so fresh, and the meat was extremely tasty. I couldn’t fault the dish in any way and highly recommend it.
We also had the mackerel sashimi with seasame, ginger and yuzu – which I adored. Andy wasn’t as keen on the texture, so ended up having more of the crab, but that suited me just fine! I loved the crisp texture of the topping in comparison to the soft, moist (sorry but there’s no other word!) texture of the mackerel. The ginger made this dish even fresher and really finished it off.
For our second course I had the wagyu burger with potatas bravas, tarragon sorrel cream and beetroot crisps. I can’t even begin to tell you how good this dish is! The individual ingredients were of an extremely high quality and they were cooked to perfection. I hadn’t had wagyu beef before but now I understand what all the fuss is about – it’s glorious!
We had a side of french fries with tarragon mayonnaise to share which were exceptional: warm, fresh and crunch on the outside. Though Andy and I were a little skeptical of the tarragon mayonnaise at first, we were definitely converted after the first bite. It adds a real depth to french fries and transformed them from a side dish to a delicacy.
Andy ordered the BBQ spare ribs which were literally falling apart – in a good way! The meat was so tender that as soon as you cut, or bit, into it the shredded meat fell apart. The BBQ sauce itself was excellent and was mopped up with the chips as well.
As we had promised our waitress, we had saved a little room for dessert and there was only one option as far as I was concerned: the surprise egg! I was expecting something along the lines of the signature glory from Bob Bob Ricard, but this was even better.
Obviously designed from the outside to look like an egg, with an edible egg basket we couldn’t wait to crack into it and see what was on the inside of this white chocolate shell!
It was a representation of an actual egg – right down to the yolk and the white, it really was a culinary feat. Served with ice cream, this dessert didn’t disappoint, it was perfect in every way. The chocolate was wonderful, the filling not only looked good but tasted delicious and the basket was the icing on the cake.
No wonder we finished it all!
Already completely in awe of the restaurant and its staff we were just enjoying the last of our wine when they surprised us one last time!
They brought us mini ice creams which I adored – not only were they delicious, but the thought was beautiful. Crisp milky-dark chocolate on the top, raspberry ice cream in the centre and a little cone to top it off – what more could you want at the end of a meal?!
But be warned: they’re not the most attractive to eat (much as I tried!)
With very satisfied tummies and in complete awe of this restaurant it was time for us to make the very short journey to Vondelpark to relax in the sun for the afternoon.
We walked into the park, crossed this beautiful bridge and sat down to enjoy our last afternoon in this amazing city, but more on that another time.
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