Meaning connection, family ties, performance and support. So it says at http://www.en-amsterdam.nl. It sounds mindful and I like it. The more because in the Dutch language EN signifies ‘and’, also bringing one and two together. But the extraordinary part of the Japanese EN is the actual experience. Made possible in the newly opened restaurant bearing this beautiful name. EN Japanese kitchen and sake bar is the creation of Chef Ken and fellow partner Ryuji in the cosy Amsterdam neighborhood De Pijp.
My youngest daughter is fascinated by Chef Ken’s little multiple beard. The upper part is shaped in a perfectly groomed upside down triangle right under the lower lip. And the lower part is a relatively thin but precise line exactly at the edge of his jaw line. My daughter of six thinks this is cool. Which chef Ken likes. He laughs heartedly, young and talented as he is. Landed from the impressive Okura high rise at a five minutes walk from EN. Here Chef Ken occupied the kitchen: the single Michelin starred Japanese restaurant in Europe: Yamazato. Chef Ken makes our evening. No we haven’t been dining out since the summer holidays, worth mentioning because it’ll make you critically aware of the fact that the survey of our experiences might be slightly over the top compared to what you think of it. That is, if you dine out more regulary then we do, which I’m sure you do.
Last day of being forty six, spending the evening with my daughters both young and beautiful. It took me days to convince myself of the righteousness to take them out for dinner at EN. The authentic Japanese yet unpretentiously looking place not being the cheapest option. I thank Chef Ken, the heavens, my yoga teacher and my beloved daughters that we did it. Priceless! Connection, family ties, performance and support is what resonates intensely. Words that happen to circumscribe quite exactly what my desires are made of. Tonight these are met in the most simple, heartwarming and yet exquisitely delicate way. Being on a raw vegan diet now for some months, not missing any of the animal or cooked stuff, I actually couldn’t be bothered much by the menu. It had to be sushi for the girls and any kind of salad for me. The girls ended up admiring and devouring exquisite nigiri, topped with melted cheese, truffle and caviar and it sure tantalised my senses. Seaweed, avocado and oshinko – pickles in a myriad of colors and shapes – is what got me. Sober and beautiful table ware with an elegant almost ‘English garden romantic’ style of food presentation garnished with flowers and skillfully shaped pickled vegetables.
‘Tell your daughter that if she tries for the first time of her life wasabi, the one I serve here, she shouldn’t eagerly try to devour wasabi anywhere else expecting she likes the taste of it. The wasabi I serve is mild, homemade and exceptionally tasty ‘ says Chef Ken. And this pretty much says it all. What an evening! The experience does rely on a combination of high performance, connection and family ties. We’re leaving the place reinforced, supported somehow or maybe even ‘taken to a higher level’. Domo arigato gozaimashita!