Eating on the Moon in Amsterdam
Everyone loves Amsterdam, city of free thinking, canals, weed, and fabulous art. But the city isn’t always immediately thought of as a dining destination, but the city’s restaurants have started to up their game. These days, even the art museum, the Rijksmuseum, has a Michelin star for its in-house restaurant Rijks.
Another significant new foodie landmark is Moon, the revolving restaurant at the top of the former-Shell tower on the north bank of the IJ River. This is a wow-factor restaurant, for champagne glass-clinking and Insta-bound selfies in front of the view. The circular restaurant undergoes one revolution per hour, and all tables are arranged so everyone’s facing outwards for the spectacular panoramas. Even on a gray day, you can see for miles, turning toward Amsterdam Old Town, and then out along the IJ, then back inland to the greenery of Amsterdam Noord and beyond. While I dined, the sun set, and the sky just got progressively greyer. “That’s a Dutch sunset!” my local friend said. Luckily, this view is so good, it doesn’t even need a peep of golden rays.
The food has a lot to live up to, and on offer is a five- or seven-course menu, each with vaguely spacy connotations.
It all starts with a moon-like silvered margerita-filled edible pearl to prime the palate. This sets the scene for a meal that’s pretentious but fun. An oyster arrives with green curry and cucumber yoghurt, tangy and satisfying, if a little unnecessary. Herring, the Dutch national fish, makes an appearance and is deliciously sweet and sour, served with sweet onion, beet and salty caviar, combined with a mellow horseradish cream.
Sweetbreads are accompanied by orange and clove sauce, poured at the table, which are the overpowering takeaway flavors of this dish (a slight relief, as sweetbreads always make me nervous), and matched with Cantayano Spanish wine, which is barrel oaked for 18 months, as oaky as a country kitchen. My heart slightly sinks when I see foam atop the risotto that follows. Why foam? Why? But there’s a truffle topping, which is usually a good thing, and again the wine pairing sings out, a summery Unlitro from Tuscany, a fresh, light berry wine with strawberry notes. The tender lamb main comes with a salty sauce and a kind of rosemary tar offset by some asparagus that offers a lovely fresh crunch.
By the time I get to dessert, a moon landing of a dish, with its delicately silvered chocolate, I’m feeling overwhelmed by stratospheric overeating. This is space travel that really brings you down to earth: a gastronomic, panoramic experience that’s a lot of fun, but if you go for it, opt for five courses rather than our greedy seven, and schedule in a few bike rides along Amsterdam’s enchantingly pretty, townhouse-lined canals to work off some of that cosmic energy.