Fons de Visscher was a respected fishmonger for already 27 years in Helmond; a city in Brabant, when he decided to start a new venture. Driven by his passion for fish and great wines, Fons created The Seafood Bar. The first Seafood Bar opened its doors in 2012.
The decor was simple and elegant. You are greeted by the seafood bar the moment you entered the premise. You will not be surprised to find that this trendy establishment is a mecca for lovers of seafood. The delicacies glisten on the display counters and look mouthwatering on the plate, prepared with the minimum of fuss. The extensive array of fresh ingredients guarantees a superb meal.
You will find an assortment of appetizing options available: soups, salads, sandwiches, fish and chips, oysters, mussels, king crab, lobster and much, much more. The restaurant also adheres to sustainable seafood practices. For instance, the seafood is carefully selected, line-caught wild fish and MSC certified. When possible, the fish is organic and without additives.
The French Fish Soup is usually served with shaved cheese.
For the health conscious me, I opted for the no cheese version.
It was generous with the seafood in the soup, and almost like a cioppino but without the garlic. It was more creamy than a cioppino, and has a more distinct seafood taste. I think I liked this version.
And the soups were perfect with the hot home baked bread and herb butter.
Gillardeau is actually the name of the family which founded the oyster farming business in 1890s (not a species or name of a bay or a farm). They were dedicated to produce the finest oysters in the world, just like those lovely domaines in Burgundy. Gillardeau family has indeed reached to the top and their oysters are generally referred as the “Rolls-Royce” of oysters, producing unparalleled quality oysters. Gillardeau No. 3 is around 66-85 grams.
Dutch Flat Oysters (Ostrea Edulis) are cultivated and harvested in Lake Grevelingen. This lake is the largest salt water lake in Europe. With special protection from the Dutch government this lake is one of the cleanest, most eutrophic cultivation areas in Europe. Size 4/0 is about 70-80 grams each.
The Netherlands is renowned for its Dutch Imperial Oyster. Since the 1950s these were flown to lovers of this special oyster all over the world. Unfortunately, during the harsh winter of 1963 almost all oysters froze to death and disappeared. In recent years the Imperial oyster is making a comeback.
Still the Dutch Imperial oyster is one of the rarest oysters in the world, partly because these oysters do not reproduce easily. Cultivating Imperial oysters therefore takes a great deal of special attention and care on the part of the cultivator. It takes 5 or 6 years before flat oysters are ready to be eaten.
The delicious Dutch Flat Oysters has firm flesh and a creamy, iodine flavour. Gillardeau No. 3 is an explosion of flavours in you mouth. Rich, creamy, savior, just divine! However it was really difficult to say which is better as the flavour profile for each was completely different. What I would conclude was that in a tasting, it would be ideal to have both as you would not be repeating flavours.
Piece De Resistance
The Combination was made up of a Fruit de Mar ‘Seafood Bar’ and Mixed Grill. You get the best of both world.
Fruits de Mer ‘Seafood Bar’ – combination of cold crustaceans and shellfish; mussels, cockles, razor clams, periwinkles, amandes, north sea crab, prawns, home made salad, seaweed salad, 2 oysters p.p., 1/2 lobster p.p., langoustines, prawns and snow crab. served on crushed ice.
I don’t really like periwinkles, but the shellfish were blanched and chilled. Only if the cockles were a la minute like what we do in Singapore, but hey, you need to serve them cooked here. The crustaceans were the saving grace, sweet and fresh, no additional salt was added.
Mixed Grill – combination of crustaceans and fish from the griddle; shrimp, squid, corvina fillet, prawn, lobster and mackerel fillet. served with mussels in tomato sauce.
Really enjoyed this, almost like cioppino. Corvina is a generic name for a large variety of fish found all around the world. What they have in common is that they are all either Drum Fish or Croakers and belong to the Scaienidae family of fish. Corvina has a mild, sweet taste with firm, large flaked flesh which is pinkish when raw but cooks up white. The flesh resembles Snapper. In South America Corvina is regarded as a prime table fish and is very popular for ceviche.
If you “pay” another €5 per person, you get a salad and thick cut fries. Rather disappointed as you already paid €78+ for the combination.
However it was a really satisfying meal. And what better to wash everything down with a Dutch beer.
Many seafood restaurants in Amsterdam are relatively upscale and require a reservation. However, The Seafood Bar provides a casual and comfortable atmosphere that invites anyone to stop by for a bite to eat, anytime. You do not need a reservation; you can just walk in. The cuisine is top-notch.
THE SEAFOOD BAR
Ferdinand Bolstraat 32
1072 LK Amsterdam
Tel : 020-2614864
Date Visited : Feb 2017
Recommended in Michelin Guide 2018