Discover Benelux, Issue 35, November 2016

Page 22

Discover Benelux | Highlights | Dam, Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein

Famous Chinese family business TEXT: JULIËN L’ORTYE  |  PHOTOS: EAT MODE

You would expect that taking over a company like the well-known Amsterdam-based Nam Kee restaurants would be more than enough to start with, right? Well, for brothers Cliff and Polo Chan, the opposite appeared to be the case as they decided to open Eat Mode in the same year. “Of course we didn’t just take over the restaurants at once. It went quite gradually,” Cliff explains. “And our father is still giving us very useful advice.” The reason they started with Eat Mode is quite simple: while Nam Kee is focused solely on the Cantonese cuisine, Cliff and Polo

strongly felt the desire to create a place where different influences could meet. That is exactly what Eat Mode is, a restaurant where Thai, Chinese, Japanese and even the relatively unknown Macanese cuisine come together. Not only does the menu vary a great deal from the one at Nam Kee, the audience is quite different too. Cliff tells us: “Our guests are younger and more international. A bit more open minded actually.” Being open minded is something that can come in handy, with a ramen burger on the menu for example. Although ramen is something that is typically Japanese, the burger moved over from the

United States and was noticed by Cliff while surfing the web. According to him, Eat Mode is the only place in the Dutch capital that serves this burger. Apparently, it was quite a struggle to figure out how to make it work. “Ramen is not something that can be easily kept together. It is like string, you know,” he laughs. With such an interesting dish on the menu and being located within a 15-minute walk from the central station, there are no excuses to avoid this interesting little place in the Dutch capital.

Effortless excellence in Amsterdam TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK  |  PHOTOS: KAAGMAN & KORTEKAAS

Hidden like a true gem, in a small alley in the heart of Amsterdam, Kaagman & Kortekaas has a wonderful atmosphere and serves great food reflecting an intimate and informal, yet exquisite, Parisian bistro. “Nouveau rough” is the term that comes to mind when entering this restaurant near the Dam: unfinished bare walls, wooden floors, a marble workbench in the open kitchen. Fresh fruit and vegetables shine on the wooden shelves, waiting to be used. As informally excellent as the interior is the menu. Besides the à la carte menu, Kaagman & Kortekaas serves a small menu with seasonal dishes full of surprises. With a FrenchEuropean focus, poultry, game, charcuterie and cheeses set the tone. Everything is handmade, from the chocolate desserts to the bread baked in-house. The restaurant is named after its owners Giel Kaagman and Bram Kortekaas, who met in the 22 | Issue 35 | November 2016

midst of their extensive culinary careers: Giel as a chef, Bram as a maître d and sommelier. Having had an education in classic French dining, Giel excels in preparing traditional dishes with a modern and exciting twist, while Bram makes sure only the best wines find their way to Amsterdam. “The best wines are those which reflect their region,” Bram enthuses. “Each region has its unique taste due to the climate, grapes and ground – you should taste that.”

Since opening in September 2015, Kaagman & Kortekaas has quickly grown to be one of the hottest tables in Amsterdam, with every night seeming more bustling than the last. “Are we full every night? Reserving for early in the week has the greatest chance of success,” Giel laughs. “And of course you can always pop in for some oysters or charcuterie at the bar!”