Fifteen Amsterdam Restaurant Review
So tonight was a big night for us. My wonderful wife and I had our first “date night” in almost a year. This last year we’ve either been busy moving house, getting down to work or living abroad without access to a trustworthy baby sitter, but tonight we had some family over to visit and they kindly offered to babysit while we went out for a meal.
We eat out all the time, with Jack in tow, but tonight was a special night and since we were completely childless we decided to push the boat out and give Jamie Olivers Fifteen restaurant a try, here in Amsterdam. By some fluke, Fifteen Amsterdam is just around the corner from where we live and easily walkable in 15-20 minutes at a leisurely pace (not that we did, one of our local bus services travels practically door to door and it’s been bloody freezing of late!).
Anyway… on to the restaurant.
When we arrived we were greeted politely by a very friendly waiter who took our coats and asked if we would like to be seated or have a drink at the bar first. We opted for the latter and had a nice glass of rosé while we soaked in the ambiance of this neo-classical-urban venue. Chandeliers, exposed iron work and graffiti aren’t things you usually see in the same place, but it seemed to work well here. Sadly one of the glasses that came out was a bit dirty and my wife insisted that I get it changed. The staff handled the change quickly and graciously with lots of apologies. Just a shame they didn’t check over the glasses before they dished up.
Shortly after we were seated at our table and were handed a rather classless A3 paper menu. Some arty farty designer had decided that the best way to present the menu was with a grungy font and by spreading everything across a single huge page rather than splitting it up by course. Frustrating but we managed to get by.
We skipped the starters and instead opted to have a platter of olives and some breads. The breads were clearly made in-house and were soft and tasty and fresh as you like. Can’t fault a thing. The olives were also wonderfully fresh and tasted awesome. There was a bit of a strange size difference though, the olive platter was a combination of great big-honging olives and teeny-tiny baby olives that weren’t much bigger than a raisin.
Just as we were coming to the end of our appetisers the waiter came and delivered the main course. No chance to breathe and the waiter didn’t even remove the old plates, just shuffled everything around and went on his merry way. That said… the main course was amazing. I had the rib-eye steak with mushrooms and a herb and truffle butter and Steph had an Irish Rump Steak with Salsa. As is to be expected with a restaurant inspired by Jamie Olivers cooking, both were liberally covered with olive oil and dished up on a bed of Rocket. We also had a side of green veggies and “funky” roast potatoes. I couldn’t fault a thing about my meal but Steph was a bit disappointed that the salsa was cold and felt it reduced the overall temperature of her meal. It couldn’t have been that bad though because she still ate it all
Not long after we finished the mains, a waiter came and swooped in and took our plates away and asked if we would like to see the dessert menu. We obliged and sat back and relaxed while we waited for the yummies to be arrived. We waited, and waited and waited but nothing arrived. Eventually I grabbed the attention of the head waiter and after about ten minutes more the dessert menu finally arrived.
I went for the Vanilla Pannacotta with Caramel Syrup and crushed Hazelnuts and Steph had the Chocolate Brownie with Black Cherries and Vanilla Ice-cream. Both were made to perfection and tasted absolutely amazing. We also had a coffee to round off the night which was lovely, but we had another dirty glass incident which we just shrugged off and ignored.
Overall our experience at Fifteen Amsterdam was a good one. The food was nothing short of excellent and the staff were incredibly friendly. The only downside was that the waiters were very “passive” in their service levels, only coming to our table if we tried really hard to grab their attention. Now, we’re fully aware that Fifteen is effectively a training restaurant for young would-be waiters and chefs but they seemed to be left to their own devices. We didn’t see any sign of a senior staff member overseeing the training of the front-of-house staff, either that or we have made a mistake by judging the staff against UK restaurant standards which may be considerably different to those in The Netherlands.
(side note… to be honest, I’m not even sure which I prefer – I quite like that the waiters left us alone and didn’t pester us every five minutes to see “if everything is ok”, like they often do in the UK). At no point was the service *bad* they just weren’t as attentive as we’re used to.
If you go to Fifteen with a relaxed approach and don’t expect too much from the front-of-house, then you’ll have a great time. Just be prepared to put in a bit of effort if you want attention. The food really was excellent though and well worth waiting for. We’ll definitely be returning again in the future!