The Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam is a five star hotel situated along the Amstel River. It opened in 1887 and quickly became known as a destination hotel catering to those desiring discrete luxury.
My husband and I were hosted for their renowned Royal Afternoon Tea a few weeks ago. Sitting in the opulent lounge overlooking the Amstel River, we were greeted with a glass of champagne and encouraged to relax and take time to savor our food, learn about and truly taste the teas, enjoy the ambiance, and watch the river flow past.
Our entrée was a gazpacho with mozzarella and olive and a crudité with curry hummus. The gazpacho was nicely blended and the perfect temperature. I was a bit surprised to hear that the hummus was going to be a curried hummus; I wondered if it would be overpowering. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the yellow curry was mellow and mild.
The tea accompanying our Entrée was a Darjeeling G.F.O.P. I learned that those initials stand for Golden Flower Orange Pekoe, which is a system for grading the size of tea leaves. This black tea is known as the Champagne of Teas. It was a lovely mild straw colored tea that went well with the gazpacho and crudité.
We then were presented with a Pain Surprise. The bread bowl had a series of small sandwiches. We each were served veal pastrami with piccalilli, graved laks (a sliced pickled salmon) with crème fraîche, smoked chicken with truffle mayonnaise, and cheese with Dijon mayonnaise. I realized that the bread slices were incredibly thin, and thus I could taste the ingredients in the middle. I also was not left feeling overly full.
The paired tea was a Moroccan Mint. This hot tea was served in a wine glass, as the aroma is blended better. It is a Ceylon tea with slight citrus tones that is blended with fresh mint leaves. The mint balances the citrus to make the tea incredibly refreshing. We were able to clearly taste each sandwich because of how refreshing the tea was. I absolutely loved this tea and got some dried tea to take home with me!
The Warm Course was a Wagyu burger on Amsterdam sour brioche bread and a beetroot croquette with lime curd. Croquettes are ubiquitous in the Netherlands. These little breadcrumbed fried rolls can have a variety of ingredients inside, but usually there are mashed potatoes and some form of ground meat. I was uncertain what the beetroot would taste like, but it was very good! The lime curd was a nice blend of tangy and sweet.
The tea for this course was an Indian Assam tea. It was a nice black tea that had a slight herbal taste.
At this point in the Tea, my husband and I both felt like we had eaten our fill and had completely enjoyed our time. But then the Étagère arrived. Oh my goodness.
There was a white chocolate mousse with a morello sour cherry compote, a Dutch stroopwafle made with licorice, a citrus and salted peanut panna cotta, a raspberry and vanilla tart, a bombe made of caramel and mango, and a bergamot and milk chocolate macaron. And then there were the blueberry and coconut scones accompanied by lemon curd, clotted cream and homemade berry jam.
As we slowly enjoyed these sweet treats, we each had our own favorites. My husband had never tried a stroopwafle before. This historic Dutch treat dates from the early 1800s when a baker in the town of Gouda mixed some breadcrumbs with syrup. The two thin layers of “waffle” have a syrup center. While we normally are not fans of licorice, this stroopwafle was very tasty.
I will admit that I may have moaned as I tasted the white chocolate mousse with compote. The sour cherry perfectly complemented the sweetness of the white chocolate. I think this was my favorite sweet, but that was closely followed by the macaron.
For the final tea we were served an iced Carcadet tea. This tea comes from the Arabic “karandji” but is also known as “bissap” in West Africa. No matter what it is named, the hibiscus flower is blended with local diced fruit or dried peels and local flowers. The ruby red color comes from the hibiscus flower. It had a flowery, fruity taste that paired perfectly with the sweet desserts.
If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam, I cannot say enough good things about the Amstel Hotel. The staff is known for their hospitality and attention to detail. The hotel is opulent, from the imposing lobby with grand staircase and gorgeous chandeliers to the impressive rooms with hand-printed wallpaper.
The Amstel Lounge where we had the Royal Afternoon Tea was beautiful. I plan to return to this wonderful place and I hope that you can have the opportunity to visit and enjoy the amazing Afternoon Tea.