The picturesque Noordermarkt, is home to Amsterdam’s oldest gastronomic restaurant. While Bordewijk hardly looks like it, it’s chef Wil Demandt serves food that could easily be mistaken as classic Escoffier. This is a chef who clearly enjoys eating, and seems to take great pleasure in looking after his guests with generosity and passion. But there is more to Demandt than simply his resemblance to the great chefs of the past. This is a chef with an impeccable knowledge of culinary traditions and classical cooking techniques.
He doesn’t like to waste any parts of the animals he buys, so butchers the carcasses himself. This allows him to serve tongue, brains, and other less common parts of veal or goat. While the rusticity of the food at Bordewijk is reminiscent of Fergus Henderson’s eponymous St. John in London, Demandt’s liberal use of butter gives it a distinctly bourgeois tinge. The best of his dishes such as rib of beef served with béarnaise in summer and bordelaise sauce in winter are delightful: carefully sourced and cooked beef, paired with chips, marrow and the rich sauce come together in an utterly classical combination. Equally good is Bresse chicken in two courses. The roasted breast is served first, followed by a salad with the confit legs. This is simple, to the point and delicious.
While the food at Bordewijk is comparatively simple and classical, the one thing that has divided opinions since the restaurant’s opening is the décor. The idiosyncratic design of the dining room has remained virtually unchanged ever since Demandt first started, and inspires either love or hatred. Like it or not, it adds to this unique restaurant’s charm.
In a world that is busy chasing the next big thing, Bordewijk is a bit of an anomaly. The odd dining room, classical food, and its chef’s ebullient personality make it one of Amsterdam’s most interesting places to dine out.