1031 KS Amsterdam
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I was in Turkey some years ago, in Ankara to be precise, meeting with a distributor out there who was beginning to become very successful selling the product from the company I was working for at the time. I happened to mention that they have a revolving restaurant in Ankara and I have a thing about them. I have been to around 13 of the about 360 (yes there really are 360 revolving restaurants) and was sort of ticking them off whenever I went somewhere which had one. I told the distributor that we should just go there for a drink as the food is most likely to be rubbish. Unbeknown to me, they booked for dinner and, as we sat down, they explained to the waiter that I had had some bad experiences and that he should suggest the best thing they do, as I thought revolving restaurants were pretty bad. After the dinner the waiter asked my Turkish colleagues what I thought. Not knowing what they had said, I thought I would be clever and say that it was as good as all other revolving restaurants I had been too. He understood enough English to realise what I had said and his face went red with anger!
I should also explain that I have been having a run of bad Michelin star experiences recently, which I normally do for my birthday. Moon, the new revolving restaurant on top of ADAM toren, was my choice for this year’s birthday meal. Normally for the Michelin Star stuff it’s just myself and my girlfriend as I don’t want my friends to bear that sort of cost. This time I was able to invite some of my closest friends as I was expecting it to be somewhat less.
So 6 of us arrived in the freezing cold to the tower and we headed up to the top deck where I was treated to the swing thing for my birthday. On the way up the operator happened to mention it was a bit broken at the moment!! I survived with a slightly raised heart rate.
On to dinner.
We sat down and were asked if we wanted an aperitif before we started. The guys went for the bottle of prosecco and I ordered my standard rusty nail. The waiter told us there was no barman and they had no idea how to make one! No barman on a Friday night?
After about 10 minutes we got some menus and after another 10 minutes they came to take our order. I should explain the menu a bit. You can have a choice of 5 or 7 courses. If you don’t like something on the 5 courses you can change for something on the 7 courses but you pay a 5 euro penalty for each change. You can add matched wine as well to the combination, which takes the whole meal over the 100 euro mark per person. We are in Michelin price territory here.
Most took the standard 5 courses but I decided to change the 2 middle courses for another 10 euros. These are the 7 courses, so you can see what everyone had:
Raw Wagyu – Leek, sambal, herring roe
Coquille – truffle, miso
Dashi – eel, radish, chorizo
Babi pangang – pork belly, gamba, atjar, passion fruit
Lobster – Kaffir lime, egg, hollandaise
Canard aux pruneaux – plum, chicory, beet
The Moon – chocolate, yuzu, mango, orange velvet cake
Apart from the Cheese plate these descriptions are exactly how they appeared on the menu.
Once we had ordered they brought out a tasty selection of things – black twig-like parmesan crisps coated with poppy seeds, cassava chips, smoked almonds and a marinated tomato with a red pepper puree on top.
All nice little tasty things, very salty, but tasty.
We had been sat down for well over 40 minutes by this point and my friends had run out of wine quite a while ago so we were a bit thirsty with all the salt.
Luckily the next thing to arrive was a pearl in an oyster shell. I say luckily as the pearl contained a margarita cocktail. I think the container was made from tempered white chocolate and was wafer thin. The cocktail inside was a nice explosion of flavour with all the characteristics of a margarita.
We were approaching one hour sat down and the wine and first course was served. Everyone took the wagyu beef tartar. There was no indication it was going to be a tartar from the menu description. OK it’s a beef tartar with a shrug of the shoulders. To be honest they could have made it with regular fillet steak as the wagyu, I don’t think, added anything. It was ok, not the best tartar I’ve had, but did not really live up to the billing given.
Wine served with it was a German Riesling.
At this point we started to notice how noisy the place is. I was sat at the window and had about 1.5 metres worth of table between me and the waiter. I could barely hear the explanations of the food and wine, so, if I have made some mistakes, it’s because actually I did not know what I was getting.
The Riesling was a nice example, not completely overpowering petroleum nose which can happen with this type of wine. It was subtle wine which worked fine with this course.
The next course I diverged with the majority who took the scallop. I took the Dashi dish. I have had a number of dashi broths and sauces which I think, when it is done well, is spectacular. The dish presented was, I guess, a square slice of daikon about 3 mm thick on the bottom of the plate, with slices of smoked eel on top and a chorizo crumb. The Dashi was a vinaigrette which was spooned over it. The waiter gave me 3 measly spoonful’s and I told him “it is my birthday can you leave the bowl?” Apparently that was the total amount they had for the evening. This was a spectacular dish. The vinaigrette was a taste explosion and complimented the smoked eel very well and the smoky paprika chorizo crumb.
Both courses were served with a white Cote du Rhone, a wine I was not very familiar with. It was bland and did not match my dish at all. It was completely overwhelmed by the intense flavours. I luckily had about ¼ glass of the Riesling left which had enough character to stand up to my dish. I asked was it normal to serve the same wine with both. I sort of got the feeling that possibly I should have had something different but they could not be bothered for one awkward diner like me.
The next course many people chose to swap to the lobster. I wish that they had mentioned on the menu that it was served with a bisque. I have a hate, love relationship with bisque. In general hate it but once in a while I get a good one. I think for the delicate lobster meat you just cannot serve something so strong. I winced with every bite of this and attempted to scrape off the bisque to concentrate on the lobster.
At least the wine choice was excellent, if there was no bisque that is. A Saint Veran white burgundy which was subtle and with a little vanilla from the oak.
Next there was duck. It was 4 slices of duck breast cooked pink, with plum tart tatin, a couple of chicory leaves and sauce. The duck, in combination with the tart, that fruit/duck combination that classically works quite well, worked quite well. The chicory I mostly left and the sauce was a decent accompaniment.
This was served with a Corbières which was decent and was a fairly good match for the food.
On to the cheese/sweets. Only one of our party chose the moon dessert. The rest of us had the cheese platter. The cheeses were ok, but not spectacular, and, as I could not hear what was said, I cannot tell you what they were. One was goat, the best one was a sheep cheese, there was a strong Dutch one and blue one from somewhere.
We were offered a LBV port to go with it.
The Moon dessert looked pretty good.
A little bit more on the décor. The tables and chairs are made from a laminated wood. Apart from the one 12 seater table, all other tables have a maximum occupancy of 6 people and radially span out from the centre. They all sit on a platform which the rotating mechanism sits on. These are bench seats so having a lot of surface area to bounce the sound off. The ceiling has some attempt at controlling the sound with some wooden blocks there which I assume are to diffuse the sound somewhat. There is some piped in music, which, for the life of me, I have no clue what it was because of the din. It’s a problem.
The furniture is way too basic to be paying this sort of money. It needs to be a classier. Service, as you may have guessed from some of my comments, was slow. No barman on a Friday night, come on what is that all about? The food was ok with one spectacular dish for me. In the end, with a drink for the road, the bill was 280 euros per couple which is smack bang in Michelin territory. It’s not good enough.
I think I would like to try the slightly less expensive non-revolving M’adam restaurant for comparison, but I certainly don’t need to go back here, unless someone else is paying. Unfortunately they have managed to maintain my opinion on revolving restaurants of average food and extortionate prices.