A gutsy prelude to Spurs’ evening of glory
By Tom Parker Bowles Occasion for The Mail on Sunday
Revealed: 17:02 EDT, 18 Could 2019 | Up to date: 17:02 EDT, 18 Could 2019
Utrechtsestraat 6, 1017 VN Amsterdam
Venimus, vidimus, vicimus. Okay, it would lack the pithy punch of Caesar’s veni, vidi, vici. However Tottenham Hotspur got here to Amsterdam, noticed Amsterdam and, in the event that they didn’t fairly conquer Ajax in a scintillating Champions League semi-final second leg, then they actually snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. In one of many nice nights of Tottenham’s historical past, Spurs overturned a three-goal deficit within the second half, Moura’s essential aim scored with the final kick of the sport. Towards a younger and relatively sensible Ajax. Who had dominated for the primary 45 minutes. Expensive God, they by no means make it simple.
When it comes to ornament, it might be in London, Liverpool or New Orleans, with naked brick partitions, bare filament bulbs, and dishes delivered to the desk by the cooks
Per week or so on, and I can nonetheless barely converse, my nerves julienned, my vocal cords floor to a low rasp. It was an evening of stirring glory. And guts. Which brings me, not completely spuriously, to a different type of guts, this time a small Amsterdam restaurant that was once referred to as Guts And Glory. Since shortened to Guts. And a spot the place we had our pre-match lunch. JD and Gary had been earlier than and raved in regards to the place. Severe cooking, they stated, world-class stuff. Nothing fiddly or foolish, simply wonderful trendy European meals.
When it comes to ornament, it might be in London, Liverpool or New Orleans, with naked brick partitions, bare filament bulbs, and dishes delivered to the desk by the cooks.
There’s additionally a mildly complicated menu, involving a set menu known as ‘Guts’, about which we’re informed nothing. A shock and all that. To which you add numerous ‘small plates’ of ‘Glory.’ Even Giles, a fellow restaurant critic, is mildly flummoxed. And really asks the beautiful younger waiter to clarify yet one more time.
As soon as the ‘concept’ is finally grasped, there are some actually good dishes. Barbecued carrots, heavy on the butter and cumin, with a fats, lactic splodge of yogurt. The feel remains to be agency, and every chunk offers a whisper of the Center East. Razor clams, with simply the correct amount of chew, are chopped up, and served with a wealthy, home-made XO sauce. It’s a refined, elegant dish. Once more, blissfully easy, with an innate understanding of flavour. Identical to the langoustines, cooked slightly below, and topped with a salty sea fennel salsa which accentuates, relatively than overwhelms, their pure sweetness.
There’s a German-accented salad that mixes a 60-degree egg with white asparagus and black pudding. Numerous pickled greens add welcome sharp notes amongst all that yolky extra. And a few well-sourced cecina de Léon, the dry, smoked beef from Spain. And sweetbreads, clad within the lightest and crispest of batters, coated with an acid inexperienced tomatillo-and-chilli-spiked salsa verde that lights up the palate, and brings these spongy organs alive. Crushed barbecue potatoes put on a very good lick of smoke and are doused in a pointy seaweed butter.
There’s additionally a mildly complicated menu, involving a set menu known as ‘Guts’, about which we’re informed nothing. A shock and all that
But different dishes don’t fairly work. Undoubtedly immaculate items of yellowtail, minimize sashimi thick, are considerably misplaced in an extra of lemon juice and black garlic powder. Though it’s speculated to be a ceviche, it’s slightly too heavy-handed. I wish to style that scent of the ocean. A flatbread with cavolo nero, mushrooms and hazelnut is uninteresting and stodgy, with a touch of ferment that appears to have crept in from one other menu. And lamb shank could be superb in an upmarket pub, however right here it errs in the direction of the dry. The jus, however, is phenomenal, the type of pure, pellucid essence that calls for slurping direct from the dish.
So Guts is a spot I like however didn’t love. Even JD and Gary look slightly bemused. ‘It was so much better last time,’ they each mutter. Nonetheless, it’s value making an attempt out. We drink nicely and deeply, something to salve these pre-match nerves. Little did we all know what lay forward. Extra guts and glory, this time of their most visceral type.
About £60 per head