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Restaurant Sinne in Amsterdam - 1 Michelin star

Rating: 89.
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Situated on the busy Ceintuurbaan in the "De Pijp" area, Restaurant Sinne ("Sinne") is one of Amsterdam's fourteen Michelin starred restaurants (4 two-stars and 10 one-stars), and is owned by chef Alexander Ioannou and his wife Suzanne Sluijter. The couple opened the restaurant in October 2013 and thirteen months later, in November 2014 (2015 guide), Sinne was awarded a Michelin star. Chef Alexander Ioannou (b. 1981) started his career is his home country Sweden and after his move to the Netherlands he worked in the kitchens of Tante Koosje in Loenen aan de Vecht and Restaurant Elkaar in Amsterdam. Before opening Sinne, Ioannou was co-owner and chef at Restaurant Fyra in Amsterdam (now closed). 

(courtesy of Sinne)

Sinne is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday and on Sundays they also do lunch. The restaurant offers an a la carte menu from which you can select a 3 (€35) to 8 (€85) course meal. I had lunch with my husband at Sinne on Sunday 24 January 2016 and we both ordered 6 courses. *I was recognised.

First to arrive were two amuse bouches. A cornet filled with pickled black radish and peanuts, seasoned with Madras spices, was lovely, but even better was the second amuse bouche of marinated fennel, topped with a green curry crème, passion fruit and coconut flesh, a fluffy rice foam and finally some puffed rice. An aromatic dish with wonderfully characteristic flavours and lovely textures. 

My first course was langoustine cooked a la plancha and langoustine tartare, served with finely chopped sweet and spicy papaya salad (wrapped in a radish sheet), and a pickled radish cornet filled with crème fraîche. Also on the plate were a few pieces of crispy chicken skin for extra texture, and the tartare was topped with a delicious peanut crème and some chopped peanuts. A good-looking dish with balanced flavours, the natural sweetness of the peanuts complementing the langoustine nicely. The papaya salad was well-seasoned, delivering a lovely touch of heat and there was some lime in there too. 

Second course were crisp cabbage leaves, served with a nice and punchy Westcombe Bay matured cheddar crème, mushrooms, barbecued pointy cabbage, onion powder, croutons, and a mildly sharp dressing. A pleasing dish with great textures and rich and bold flavours, balanced out perfectly by the dressing. The onion powder was a lovely extra flavour and gave the dish a nice long finish.

Lunch continued with a delightful dish of celeriac flan, topped with a thin layer of chopped hazelnuts, followed by a soft 63 °C egg yolk, and some fluffly Hollandaise sauce, wrapped with sheets of barbecued celeriac, and finished with freshly grated black truffle and a foamy roasted garlic sauce. A superb dish with wonderful celeriac flavours and textures and the Hollandaise had just the right touch of acidity. The garlic flavours were bang-on, providing a nice contrast to the other more unctuous flavours.

Less convincing was roasted pumpkin puree raviolo, served with finely chopped macadamia nuts, Jerusalem artichoke puree, a pumpkin roll filled with pumpkin puree and a roasted garlic sauce. An overdose of soft and mellow flavours, and here the garlic sauce wasn't enough to compensate for this. 

Next up was an excellent piece of turbot (cooked on the bone) and juicy clams, complemented by a luxurious creamy lemon sauce, and served with piccalilli puree, fregola, wilted spinach and spinach puree seasoned with cumin. Both the piccalilli and the spinach were a good match for the turbot, the former offering character and balance.

Pre-dessert was passion fruit crème covered with chopped star anise-flavoured crumbs, and some caramelised Italian meringue. A delicious combination of sharp, sweet and comforting flavours, a some aniseedy notes in the background. 

This was followed by an elegant dessert of various textures of blood orange served with rice crisps and powder. There was blood orange puree, a bonbon with a semi-liquid blood orange filling, a buttery crème flavoured with blood orange, and fresh blood orange. Best of all was a wonderfully fruity and fresh blood orange sorbet. 

Restaurant Sinne served up some very good food today. Alexander Ioannou is an accomplished chef with quite an elaborate style of cooking and his complex preparations sometimes resulted in borderline fussy plates. Despite this, he made sure that the flavours and ingredients worked together, and the celeriac flan and the langoustine really stood out. Service was knowledgeable and charming and I liked the atmosphere of the restaurant, and on this Sunday afternoon it was particularly relaxed. Extra kudos for serving lunch on Sundays; there are still so few restaurants in Amsterdam who do.

Posted 16-03-2016


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