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Upstairs, downstairs - A tale of two &Samhoud places. Review

By March 23, 2015 , , ,

Towards the end of last year I had the pleasure of dining downstairs at &samhoud streetfood resturant. It seemed only fair that I visit their upstairs 2 Michelin starred venue.

It's by no means my first visit upstairs. I've had the pleasure for my birthday a year or so ago and also the year before that in it's former incarnation as 't Brouwerskolkje in Overveen.

You could say I'm a fan of Moshik Roth's cooking. I enjoy the play of flavours and textures and every visit never disappoints. Saturday's visit was the second day of the new spring menu and it would be rude not to try the tasting menu.

It began with not one, but four amuse bouches. The first was a steamed pizza with black venus rice, buratta and shrimp. The pizza base was a steamed savoury sponge and the shrimp added an elegant sweetness with the creamy note of the burrata. 

Next was the Zaanse Mustard cornet with goose liver, nutget raisin and capers.This was delicate and sweet, and the dehydated capers on the outside gave it a lovely salty edge.  

I had a cocktail of peas with amalfi lemon and parmesan with sorrel, which was sweet, sharp and salty all at once. 

The highlight though was the millefueille of smoked eel, granny smith and beetroot with a hint of piquant horseradish. Earthy smoky and rich all at once.

The following dish was a sous vided egg yolk served in its shell, with tomato and roasted pepper foam and a hint of spice. The consistency of the yolk was like double cream in comparison with the light foam and I loved that it had croutons giving it an added crunch. The end note of the spices gave it a little kick. The pepper flavour dominated the dish but it was a pleasant sweetness. I wasn't sure if the tomato was lost or there as a background note to back up the pepper foam.

My next dish paid homage to shell fish with scallops, razor clams and cockles, all providing a succulent sweetness. I liked the salty foam, green asparagus with the dehydrated plants giving added texture. The raspberry I was doubtful about, but it's sharp sweetness gave the dish that extra depth.

The langoustine dish that followed was served in 2 plates but 3 ways. On the first plate was a carpaccio of langoustine on one side and on the other side of the caviar was langoustine in a creamed form. I liked the way the caviar acted as a salty balance to the sweetness of the langoustine in the first plate. The second dish was a simple cooked langoustine served on a bed of earthy lentils in a bisque, the lentils providing a good background note to the sweet langoustine.

The asparagus was a very rich buttery dish but it worked well as you had the sweetness of the white asparagus complimenting the creamy sauce and cut through with lemon and basil. The olive oil provided a peppery backnote and the al dente capeletti giving added texture.

The presentation of the next dish was simple but the flavours certainly were not. A well cooked piece of red mullet with crispy skin paired with creamy mash and a tiny dot of rhubarb. I would normally associate the pairing of rhubarb with oily fish such as mackerel as it has a powerful flavour that can take on the sour notes. With this dish it worked well as the creamy mash with a hint of salty olive blended the flavours together. The fish was cooked to perfection, crisp skin and flaky meat, just as it should be. I was also served a red mullet "mini burger" which gave nothing away on first sight. The potato bun which looked like a macaron, just melted away in your mouth allowing all the flavours to meld, first you got the onion, next the green curry edge and last the  sweet mullet.

What followed next was the highlight of the meal. Lobster risotto served in a sea urchin bisque backed with earthy indian spices and a coconut foam with orange which gave it a citrussy hit. The coconut thankfully didn't dominate as it often can in dishes, and the lobster was sweet and meaty.

From a highlight next to a lowlight, wagyu beef. I do like wagyu, but feel it is overated. While the dish was executed perfectly in its simplicity, it paled in comparison to the other dishes. The steak was rich, as it should be perfectly marbled, but I felt this dish was lost in comparison.

The first dessert was a wonderful combination of blood orange mandarin and carrot. The orange was served as a crisp topping that you had to break as you would in a creme brulee to get to the rest of the dish. The second dessert was a souffle, that had unfortunately deflated by the time it got to us, so instead of being light and fluffy it was heavy dense and lacked sweetness.

The sommelier had her work cut out for her with the flavours in the menu but the wine parings were fantastic complimenting and bringing out more in each dish. The standout wines were the Washington state reisling with the langoustine. The pinot gris from Alsace which accentuated the pepper in the egg dish and the 2013 pecorino with its crispness and a hint of oak which cut through the buttery sauce of the white asparagus dish. That is not to say the other wines weren't as good and they were, but the aforementioned were the highlight for me.

The service was attentive, the staff friendly and patient and made the experience an enjoyable one, as it should be.

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