As an Amsterdam blogger I’m lucky enough to eat out at many of the city’s “hotspots’. New concept restaurants, sceney eateries, hip openings…you get the idea.
But I have a particular love for Amsterdam’s lower-key offerings. Small corner restaurants whose clientele wander in from the surrounding streets. Places that make you wish you lived by that corner so you could hang out with a drink on the terrace in Summer, or hunker down in the candle-lit interior when Winter arrives and the nights draw in. These places don’t make the usual “must eat” lists, they are not full of posing Instagrammers looking for a pink neon sign to pout under. They are, however, frequently excellent and if you’re looking for some seriously good food, these are the corners to head to.
Places where bloggers like me actually pay to eat out – the type of restaurant we prefer not to shout about because they are generally better kept between ourselves.
Which brings me to Sjefietshe. I have to confess that I was invited to eat at Sjefietshe in return for a review but having done so, I know I’ll be back because it was, quite simply, fabulous.
Sjefietshe is on a corner in the lovely Pijp and specialises as you might have guessed in ceviche (Sjefietshe is the Dutch spelling). It’s open Monday to Saturday from 16.00 (closed on Sundays) and they only take reservations until 18.30. After that, take your chance on a walk-in table or a seat at the bar or, if you’re as lucky as us, one of the small tables on the terrace.
I absolutely love the sharp, fresh, sweet flavours of ceviche and I was hugely looking forward to our meal. Joined by my fabulous sister-in-law it was a chance to catch up on a warm evening over some good food and a nice glass of wine.
Doing my best impression of a real Amsterdammer, I pulled up on my bike on a warm evening and joined her on the terrace for a glass of chilled white to start.
Food wise, the menu on the website differed slightly from the printed menus we were given – an excellent sign, proving that Sjefietshe capitalises on both seasonal ingredients and the chef’s current inspiration.
Given we both like pretty much everything we saw listed, we took our chances and opted for the “Sjefietshe menu” – an excellent value 4 courses including 2 ceviches, a main, a dessert and our choice of sides.
First up we were presented the classic ceviche with savoury Peruvian corn, red onion and coriander. Not only was it utterly delicious but also a stunning plate of food. This set the tone for the evening. Food of a genuinely superb quality, beautifully presented with classic sweet, sour, sharp flavours.
It’s always a shame when a fresh plate of ceviche this good comes to an end, but the blow was definitely softened when the second plate arrived. I’m not even entirely sure which ceviche this one was but it was utterly delicious and we cleaned the plate.
Next the main. The set menu includes a choice of sides. Not being a fan of radicchio it was an easy choice – one portion of the house special “waffle with creme fraiche and trout caviar” and a portion of “fermented fries with tarragon mayo”.
Our main course was Lekkerbek with tartare sauce and wild herbs.
The waffle was both ridiculously naughty and ridiculously nice. The fish, the fries…every part of the meal was perfectly judged.
For dessert, another house special, Sjefietshe lemon tart. Perfection.
As you gather, I’m slightly in love with this place. There’s a kind of effortless elegance to their food, a lightness of touch and everything is done with care. The beautiful crockery sets off the sensational flavours, there’s a super-talented chef in the kitchen and some cool but unpretentious staff front of house.
Sjefietshe started as a pop up restaurant and opened in their current location earlier this year.
They deserve to do incredibly well.
*As mentioned, we were guests of Sjefietshe, but both of us vowed to return post-haste. We only provide reviews for places we genuinely rate regardless of who is footing the bill and Sjefietshe is right up there as one of our must-visit Amsterdam hotspots.