Little did we know that once we stepped inside restaurant Envy on the beautiful Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, we were going to experience a culinary evening like never before. Not that we didn’t expect it to be, as we’ve crossed the restaurant about a billion times before while thinking ‘wow we have got to visit this place‘ but it certainly exceeded our expectations.
Once we stepped inside the restaurant the extremely cool but dark interior design was the first thing that caught our eyes. Not dark as in a filthy pub, but dark as in the chicest way you can imagine. In contrast to the dark walls, you find very big modern lamps hanging from the ceiling, behind which you can find the open kitchen. This was also our sight for the rest of the evening as we were lucky enough to be seated at the chef’s table.
However, this isn’t one of those uncomfortable chef’s tables that gives you the feeling the complete kitchen is listening to your intimate conversations with your date. Instead, you’re seated at a comfortable distance so you can have exactly those conversations while admiring all the beauty that’s being made under the leadership of chef Floris van Straalen. And what a beauty it is that’s being made here. It’s incredibly inspiring to see how all these masterpieces are being made in an incredible team of hardworking chefs. All in all, enough talk about the interior and the chefs because we have to admit in the end it’s all about the food (and wine). Well, our short answer to that one is: amazing and completely exceeding our expectations. The latter only because we didn’t have any expectations as we wanted to be completely surprised and didn’t check the menu in advance.
The long version: as we mentioned before it was a real treat to admire all the hard work that was going on in the open kitchen. What made this even better was when we saw something magical being created only to find out it was heading our way. At Envy you can’t choose between regular starters, mains and desserts. Instead, you can choose between a variety of different types of dishes, which are all unique so you can taste, share and experience them all in their own right. This means you can order á la carte but we decided to let chef Floris surprise us.
The perfect way to understand the unique food experience Envy offers, just take a look at the dishes we were lucky enough to enjoy. Potato crisps with leek and red cabbage, and beautiful beets bonbons covered in white and dark chocolate. Yes please:
As a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ve gathered our complete menu here in photos. The highpoints were most certainly the ’62 degrees egg’ (with Jerusalem artichoke, green garlic and caviar), the steak tartare (with tomato, white peach and pesto) and the Coquille (with black walnut, artichoke and salted lemon). Take a look:
A special shout-out to the dessert as we tend to skip that part of the meal but decided to go for dessert (and pre-dessert) this time, which was the best decision we could possibly make. It started with a sour part (passionfruit with passionfruit) followed by white chocolate with salted caramel and corn. Incredible (also to just look at)!
We also decided to go for the wine arrangement, which we – again – highly recommend. As we aren’t exactly wine experts and are just able to distinguish red from white wine, we were more than happy to hear Envy’s wine waiter explain more about every wine with more passion, knowledge and humour than we possibly could. As a result, every meal tasted and even smelled even better. Don’t worry if you’re not a wine drinker as Envy has replaced its sodas with homemade varieties and syrups made by a local syrup maker.
As it’s always easy to compare, which is why we’ve kept this part till the end, we agree that Envy fits perfectly among the list of Amsterdam restaurants Choux, Mos, Breda and de School. Envy isn’t the place to go for a quick meal because that just ruins the whole experience. For this place you should take the time so you can tell your dinner date at the end of the evening ‘wow that was an incredible experience, right?!’ At least, that’s exactly what we did.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands