This year two Michelin star restaurant Aan de Poel is celebrating its ten-year anniversary. The restaurant led by Chef Stefan van Sprang and sommelier Robbert Veuger started in 2007 and it only took a year for the team to receive their first star. In 2012, a second star was awarded. Aan de Poel has been a favorite among locals and international food guests.
As a backstory, ten years ago K and I visited Aan de Poel after it had just opened. It was our anniversary and to celebrate it we picked a restaurant that was deemed most promising by food critics at the time. I remember there weren’t a lot of reviews yet but the reputation of Stefan and Robbert had far exceeded them and so all eyes were already on the restaurant. And that night K and I were blown away by the dishes. To this day, it remains one of our most memorable experiences.
So for our seventeen-year anniversary, we decided to go back where we were ten years before.
The interior hasn’t changed much from our previous visit and the view of De Poel is as stunning as before.
One of the things I remember from our previous visit was Stefan coming up to our table and introducing himself, which again he did. There’s something genuinely open about this small gesture. It creates this warm atmosphere and an immediate bond between kitchen and guest.
For our starter we are served pickled seabass with chorizo cream, a mustard vinaigrette and crispy shiso leave. The savory chorizo dots cut through the tangy note of the dish. It was lovely, light and an enticing first dish.
We continue with a stunning king crab dish with lettuce and crème fraîche. The creaminess of the fresh crab and crème fraîche paired beautifully with the salty caviar. It’s one of those dishes you wish you could have every day. On toast, in bed, with your New Yorker next to it. It’s a sweeter build up from the tangy first dish but very pleasant.
The third course is a lobster linguine with a carpaccio and cream with salty vegetables, Parmesan crisps and dots of lemon and parsley. This is a beautifully balanced dish of sweet, creamy and lightly tangy flavors. The crisps give the dish the texture it needs and adds a savory hint as well. This dish was K’s favorite.
Our fourth dish is a variety of asparagus with a fragrant kombu, dried beef and chicken crisps. A lovely segue into the main of roasted lamb with carrots, ramson, horseradish and berbere spices. This was my favorite dish. The lamb was cooked to perfection and the plate was garnished with elements that balanced out the lamb wonderfully. I always find that mains are the hardest for restaurants as a balance is always a challenge with meats. But this was an absolute winner in my books.
The menu ended with a banging dessert. Dessert came in a tasting of yogurt, merengue, rhubarb and finger lime. Plates filled with small surprises of fresh and fruity flavors. Rhubarb and yogurt are an outstanding combination and here it was a delight.
It’s amazing how quickly ten years has gone by. In ten years time, Aan de Poel has established itself as one of the frontrunners in the Dutch culinary landscape. To celebrate the anniversary, Chef Stefan has published a book that takes guests and food lovers behind the scenes. The book will be published in a limited edition (available now). Also part of the anniversary festivities, is the launch of the restaurant’s signature olive oil (available now) and basil, truffle and garlic oil (available fall 2017).
We are lucky to have witnessed the beginning of Aan de Poel and to see how far the team has brought it. We wish the restaurant a happy anniversary and more wonderful years to come!
Keep an eye on the blog for more anniversary news this year.