Amsterdam - one city that feels closer to London in culture and mindset than any other in Europe especially now that there is a direct train from St Pancras International to Amsterdam Central. The two cities don’t look or feel alike particularly but there is an indescribable strand that connects the two. Locals and visitors in Amsterdam are blessed with a city which boasts several top-class museums and galleries per capita – the highest average in the world even! It is a remarkably compact yet ultra-resourceful city in terms of sheer return for the tourist-dollar.
Despite its criminally myopic reputation of being a seedy city, Amsterdam’s liberal environment is much more than just a holiday destination for those seeking a bevy of controversial pleasures involving sex and drugs. The city is a modern behemoth that has its fingers in every metropolitan pie so as to speak despite its relatively small size. Parks, night clubs, cinemas, theatres, museums, bookshops, restaurants, hotels – are ubiquitous around the city and easily accessible to anyone and everyone. And much like any world city, Amsterdam’s food offerings are varied and exciting.
MR PORTER, a modern steakhouse on top of the W Hotel in Central Amsterdam is the perfect restaurant to start your culinary journey in the Dutch capital. It is, by all means, a very fine dining experience and an accurate introduction to the energy that abounds within the city. Moreover, despite its classy and posh underpinnings, MR PORTER exudes a warmth and easy-going charm that feels homely. We set out to explore this new landmark and unique concept.
The concept of MR PORTER goes beyond just being a mere steakhouse. It complements the fine dining experience in the main hall with a chic lounge and a club experience which will keep you buzzing till the wee hours of the night. Its unique qualities have made it a gathering space for celebrities, trendy locals and international jet-setters. As soon as you enter the premises perched high above the W Hotel, you see swathes of dry aged steak hanging in glass-fronted refrigeration units. Immediately the senses are aroused to something special in the offing. The seats and tables in the main dining area seem to segue most gracefully into each other and the giant circular lights give a chic-industrial look thanks to the building’s past as a telephone exchange. The sheer size of the restaurant and lounge is another impressive bit further complemented by an outside space which is ideal in the summer to gaze at the happenings in the Nine Streets shopping area as well as the iconic Dam Square.
What really is the star at MR PORTER, most importantly and definitely, is the food. The Focaccia is a must to start with and the highly knowledgeable staff will guide you through various dips and sauces that you may want to avail during the course of the upcoming culinary experience including a hot chilli sauce, tahini and sour cream. The quality of the steaks is most important to the process and hence all eleven different varieties of meat are dry aged in-house. Japanese Wagyu is available but most of the meat is Aberdeen Angus and there are some very impressive Dutch steaks on offer as well. Vegetarian options include a delectable whole roast leek. The wine list is compendious beyond belief and is perfectly balanced between New World and Old. Desserts include a very artistically laid out Coconut Sorbet and a remarkably sumptuous Chocolate Fondant. Whilst you feast, there is an invigorating yet relaxed buzz that perfumes the ambience and keeps it energised into the night.
The website of MR PORTER anthropomorphises it best! The restaurant is it states “A companion by day, a hunter by night. A gentleman, a merciless lover. A jet-setter and a local. It is this duality, this constant battle of extremes that is MR PORTER. Cosmopolitan yet familiar. Extravagant yet modest.
MR PORTER fearlessly explores the borders between dinner and sinner”. I couldn’t have put it better myself. It is a must-go for any visitor to or resident of Amsterdam.
MR PORTER Spuistraat 175, 1012 VN Amsterdam, Netherlands www.mrportersteakhouse.com