The Duchess: the fresh taste of Belle Epoque in Amsterdam

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Dining at The Duchess, in Amsterdam, is one of those experiences for every sense. I still cannot decide which aspect of this place is the most stunning one: food, ambience, service… Everything is absolutely perfect at this former KAS Bank in W Hotel, in the heart of the city.

The first time I visited this restaurant was around one year ago when the concierge of a great hotel told me that it was an experience “per se” in town. I returned two weeks ago to confirm that it just got even better.

I am very happy to share the experience in detail with you because it was fantastic!!!

First of all and most important, make sure you reserve a table – especially on weekends, as The Duchess is one of the most desired restaurants in Amsterdam at the moment. Do it here.

AMBIENCE

Past and present do more than co-exist at The Duchess. They enrich each other. This beautiful restaurant is placed in one of the most amazing historic buildings in the city, the former KAS BANK.

A former bank converted into a restaurant
A former bank converted into a restaurant

Many of the features in the room are original, like the very high ceiling, the historic clock, the stunning lamps and the impeccable marble. A single glance and the Belle Epoque is right there in front of you with all its grandeur and magic, all real! My husband, who comes from Vienna, felt totally at home. Haha!

Stunning Belle Epoque
Stunning Belle Epoque

And beauty is not done yet. The modern aspects, like the huge open kitchen (I love to observe chefs at work and all the action), modern chandeliers and a the eye catching bar are the proof that old and new can definitely shine together. Pay attention to the pieces of art on the wall, by Louise te Pole.

Paintings by Louise de
Art by Louise te Pole on the wall

As you can see, the experience at The Duchess is not only culinary. It for sure goes beyond.

EXPERIENCE

Right at arrival the hostess received us and directed us to our table. The saloon is huge and all the tables offer an excellent view (you guys know I am very picky). The ambience is so pretty that it took a while until we got used to the place and all its features.

Even though the restaurant is sophisticated, it still keeps a relaxed atmosphere and service is very sympathetic. Our host Valentin took amazing care of us and knew everything about the restaurant, the drinks and ingredients. As he was explaining the menu and some plates we realised we were in deep trouble as we wanted to try everything. Hahaha!

Cacio e pepe + Alba truffles
Cacio e pepe + Alba truffles

Nevertheless, our host took the time to help us to make the right decisions and to balance our meals and also to paire the wines, which definitely worked so so well. The idea is to order some plates and share, a concept I love!

A perfect beef Wellington
A perfect beef Wellington

Valentin realised we were speaking Portuguese and called Daniel, who also speaks Portuguese, to help us with the orders – I found it so sweet and caring. Moreover, Daniel prepared us a drink which alone would make us return. I am not a cocktail person but WOW, this was delicious! Talking to him and Valentin we found out that the barman at The Duchess has won many prizes for his creations. So, try the cocktails, guys!!!

Best cocktail I had in ages
Best cocktail I had in ages

We were three people and we ordered 6 plates besides the amuse bouche and two desserts. This was a great portion to share. Our table had a nice view to the Molteni open kitchen and I really enjoyed watching the action. After the meal, we moved to the Tea Room and had some coffee and tea – I was in love with the cups which resemble Alice in Wonderland.

Sweets at Tea Room
Sweets at Tea Room

We didn’t experience this but I saw a chef’s table inside the kitchen. I imagine it might be really cool to go in a group and sit there. Totally on my wish list.

Chef's table at The Duchess
Chef’s table at The Duchess

KITCHEN

Everything we tried was really tasty, fresh and well presented. I have to admit that I had a lot of fun taking photos of the plates because they were all so pretty. Hehe!

The menu is based on the refined flavours from Southern France and Italy, known as Nouveau-Niçoise Cuisine. And plates can be simple or very refined, including some innovative creations and classics. Fresh ingredients of the season are often introduced in the menu. During our visit we tried the best Alba truffles on earth.

The amuse bouche is an attraction. Very tasty tomato tartare served with warm yummy bread.

Amuse Bouche was tomato and pimento
Amuse Bouche was tomato tartare

We chose to start with prawns in warm olive oil that were cooked to perfection, crunchy zucchini with fresh truffle that was my favourite as the zucchini was really crunchy and the truffles were very fresh and a linguine cacio e pepe (Alba truffles added) that made me feel in Rome.

Prawns in warm olive oil to die for
Prawns in warm olive oil to die for
Crunchy zucchini with fresh truffle
Crunchy zucchini with fresh truffle
Linguine cacio e pepe
Linguine cacio e pepe with truffles

As a main we tried a very tasty broccoli and truffle (yes! we love truffles!) gnocchi that was my father’s favourite dish of the night, a yellow beetroot risotto with gorgonzola and hazelnuts that was al dente as it should be and the classic beef Wellington that was overwhelming, even for a person who don’t like raw meat like me.

Super tasty gnocchi
Super tasty broccoli and truffle gnocchi
yellow beetroot risotto with gorgonzola and hazelnuts
Yellow beetroot risotto with gorgonzola and hazelnuts
A gran finale with Beef Wellington
A gran finale with Beef Wellington

The cocktail, wine and champagne lists are very comprehensive and include very exclusive wines. The desserts are famous all around. You cannot leave this restaurant without trying the Chocolate Explosion. Not only because it is delicious and exquisite, but also because it is pretty and interesting to watch – the dessert really explodes, some smoke goes all around the table and when the smoke is gone, you finally see all the yummy chocolate. See a video I made here.

Super famous chocolate bomb
Mega famous chocolate explosion

I have to share a sweet story about this dessert: a friend of mine who also lives here in Amsterdam and who also blogs, had her wedding proposal at The Duchess and her fiancé organised to have the ring placed inside the chocolate bomb. Can you believe it? The dessert exploded and she realised she was being asked to marry the love of her life. How cool! The video is in Portuguese but still very sweet – See here and have your daily dose of  love.

Finally, We also ordered a new dessert, very refreshing: The Duchess Peach Melba.

Refreshing dessert
Refreshing and delicious dessert

The Duchess restaurant is open for afternoon tea, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I definitely recommend it for a romantic night as well as for a night with friends in a truly sophisticated and unique atmosphere with amazing food and great service. A place to be remembered and to always return. Find out more about this Dutch culinary and style gem here.

A fresh taste of Belle Epoque!

 

 

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