Ask a foodie what their favorite restaurant is in Amsterdam and chances are you’ll hear Taiko in the list. Two weeks ago I visited the restaurant at the Conservatorium Hotel and was in for a wild ride. Taiko is headed by Executive Chef Schilo van Coevorden, who, through his travels in Asia, has fallen in love with Asian fine-dining. His Asian inspired dishes are what I would call elevated and contemporary Asian cuisine. His use of wasabi, yuzu and ponzu is phenomenal. The restaurant is also launching their new Sakura menu (which I will be writing about next). Anyway, without further ado, here’s Taiko!
We are served the Omakase (which translates to “I leave it up to you” – the chef’s menu). Starting with a panna cotta of uni with wasabi and caviar. This dish was – if I put it lightly – kind of phenomenal! The sweet taste and soft texture of the uni panna cotta, paired with the salty bits and wasabi subtly dancing through – beautiful. The dish is followed up by the hamachi sashimi with a wasabi sorbet (heaven). This is served with freshly grated wasabi by the way. I may be wrong but Taiko may be the only restaurant in Amsterdam serving wasabi in its purest form.
We move on to the cured wagyu jamon (it does not get better than this!) with a potato salad and daikon with ginger dressing. Two small plates of nikkei ceviches are served – one of tuna and one of seabass. A light and fresh intermezzo.
What I find is rather understated in menus, is the build up of dishes. With the omakase menu, Schilo has created a beautifully balanced order. We continue with a lobster carpaccio with wasabi foam (which packed a ton of flavor) and it came paired with har gau in a steam basket.
We’re then served one of my favorites dishes all time – black cod with miso. We make this at home too all the time – just not this good!
For our main, we’re served an Irish fillet steak with wasabi stalks. And dessert comes in the form of a miniature chocolate forrest.
I have to give my compliments to the sommelier of the evening (whose name I did not write down – shame!). But his passionate and detailed descriptions of the sake and wine pairings made us want to book a sake tour through Japan immediately.
I don’t know what else to say, except that Taiko is my current favorite in Amsterdam. Some dishes wowed me more than others, but all in all, I haven’t been this surprised by a restaurant in a long time.