Amsterdam Tea Room
Neighbourhood: Exchange District
Address: 211 Bannatyne Ave
The Dutch have a term loosely translated as a cozy, relaxed feeling or an overall sense of well-being and conviviality. A person, place or even a time can be described as gezellig. Amsterdam Tea Room epitomizes this concept, with brick walls, dark wood floors and friendly chatter welcoming friends new and old.
Start a Dutch culinary voyage with a tea-based cocktail, cold or hot. These posh bevvies offer spirited mash-ups unique to Winnipeg’s burgeoning bar scene. The drinks pair perfectly with Chef Frank McCann’s menu of kleine borden (small plates) flush with flavour fusions that pique curiosity.
Tartare is playfully presented with a sunny emulsified egg yolk, then flecked with shaved cured yolk. Blended simply with a mixture of onions, succulent minced beef reigns. Spread it on the accompanying slices of cheesy leek Fergasa bread, scatter bunches of peppered arugula atop for added bite, and relish as each element unfolds into a harmonious blend.
A sea of cubed raw yellowfin tuna bursts with fresh sweetness atop a bed of zesty guac. Salmon roe pops with its characteristically fishiness and contrasts against a peculiar topping of spicy dehydrated kimchi, surprising the palate. Mix each forkful with a bit of the umami-rich sauce for a truly distinctive tang.
Chef Frank’s herring is sure to impress even those most skeptical of Netherlands’ favourite brined fish. Served on soft pumpernickel toast with a light crème fraîche, tender fillets and pickled onion exude sweet acidity balanced by hot jalapeños. Bitter crisp radishes and crunchy dried capers add texture. The open-faced sandwich gets piled high with vivid green sprouts, putting even the most Instagrammable avocado toast to shame.
Finish off the Euro-style flavour trip with stroopwafel, a common Dutch pastry resembling a thin waffle cookie wedging sticky sweet syrup inside. This one is crowned with thick swirls of crème fraîche, bananas and brittle curry cashews that add an almost cinnamon sugar-like profile to the dessert.
An evening spent at Amsterdam Tea Room evokes a can’t-put-your-finger-on-it sentiment that has one convinced a picturesque canal, windmills and cheery locals riding bicycles are waiting on the other side of the door. It’s hard to describe. It’s just gezellig.
Amsterdam Tea Room is open Tue-Thu 11 am-11 pm, and Fri- Sat 11 am-12 am.