(17/20) Thoughtful dishes full of flavour, with a heavy focus on vegetables, presented in a calm and well proportioned dining room. This is a little oasis of fine dining right in the middle of one of the most raucous parts of central Amsterdam, and on this performance certainly in the top few of the one star restaurants in the city.
Around the time I was growing up in London dishes a little like this were all the rage at the poshest restaurants. I know because I spent a large part of that childhood studying a book my parents had on their bookcase, the first Roux brothers cookbook. This is not a Roux brothers dish – I made this one up – but it is well within that 80s nouvelle cuisine style.
A super fast and very satisfying way to inject some life back into yourself when you’ve eaten too much French food!
(16.75 / 20) A relatively uninspiring menu in an extraordinarily over-the-top setting. The food is perfectly good, but overall lacks personality, and is disappointing for a two star – especially one that was once hoped to be Amsterdam’s first restaurant with 3 macarons. The vegetarian offering was simply not good enough, and we were left with the distinct feeling that the exorbitant cost of dinner went more towards the glamourous lighting and the luxurious carpet than what was actually on the plate. In fairness on previous visits it has been better, but Ciel Bleu needs to move with the times to keep up with the other top restaurants in town – and that will mean transforming more than just its dining room.
(18/ 20) Exquisite flavours delivered with an extraordinary subtleness which really sets it apart from the more vibrant delivery of the other top restaurants in town. Strong Dutch influence over a quintessentially French cuisine, with lots from the sea, that has now also found a more successful balance with its light Japanese -inspired flavour combinations. Slicker, more professional, and generally friendly service. An undeniably impressive restaurant, but one which for me somehow still manages to lack a touch of charisma.
Forget steak and foie gras, the main reason I’m not vegetarian is chicken. To live without the deep savoury umami of a decent roast chicken is to live in grayscale. Today I’m turning up the saturation to fill tilt by cooking every part of the bird, both to showcase its versatility and to get the maximum usage out of this noble animal.
(16 / 20) Neighbourhood restaurant serving up very punchy Michelin quality dishes at a sensible price point. Attentive, friendly service and an enjoyable dining space, as long as no one is sitting at the table next to you.
(17.75 / 20) Consistently delicious, beautifully constructed, and approachable cooking with a truly standout pastry section. When you want to relax in a beautiful, friendly setting, eat very well indeed, plus be quite certain that’s exactly what will happen, every single time you go… accept no substitute.
(16.25 / 20) A non-Michelin fine dining spot that really works. This is an excellent restaurant with an elegant bistro setting, serving up delicious, deceptively simple food which can often go toe-to-toe with (some of) the 1 stars in town. And all that at a very sensible price point.
(15.75 / 20) Putting the other tedious neo-bistros to shame. This is what casual fine dining should be like; Unfussy food with great attention to detail, delivered in an authentically crampt, albeit joyful, dining room.