Scheepskameel

 

Scheepskameel in Amsterdam, Netherlands made for a great night out.  Its ambience, food and wine were very good, although diversity was lacking.

Rise Rating: 53%

The Obsidian Rise diagram above provides a visual for the rating explained in writing, below.  From left to right—

Story (2/3): Scheepskameel’s reputation as a must-eat in Amsterdam precedes it, and makes sense upon arrival.  At the edge of a small peninsula not too far from the city’s Centraal Station lies this hidden yet quite large restaurant in an old industrial building.  The otherwise cold-seeming space with high ceilings and a lot of glass instead felt warm, as the warehouse was filled with clamoring parties, fully enjoying their evening meal.  Through a bit of extra research, the restaurant’s history is clear: three Dutch friends opened Scheepskameel in 2016 with the purpose of exalting singular ingredients, and differentiating themselves based off of a German-only wine list.

Sustainability (1/3): The eatery has a European focus, featuring the German wines aforementioned and many local ingredients, but does not communicate going beyond these simple Sustainability measures.

Experience (2/3): The Experience at Scheepskameel was very good, with some slight exceptions.  On the positive side, the restaurant’s almost antique ritual of calling clients to confirm their reservation the day before is nice and offers the opportunity to connect with another human.  It was also appreciated that the person making these calls was very polite, and reiterated the need to watch out for some construction around the restaurant.  On the downside, it was indeed pretty cumbersome to get there, as the roads surrounding the eatery are permanently closed to through traffic on top of the main access for bicycles having been temporarily removed.  Once there and seated, the ambience was jovial and service again polite, although as still typical in many Dutch restaurants, it took asking for something several times and to several people to get what was needed.  All in all, however, the logistical concerns should not be held against Scheepskameel itself, the restaurant’s buzz was great, and the staff was pleasant and professional.

Cuisine (2/3): The dishes at Scheepskameel were on-theme, for they were as straightforward as its website and menu suggested (each focussing on one or just a few select ingredients).  Then, the plates varied within the spectrum of clean on one end to indulgent on the other.  From the ‘Raw’ section we ordered ‘Halibut with cime di rapa and orange’ as well as ‘Sea bass, kohlrabi and red currant,’ which were similar to one another and a bit light on flavor but both enjoyable— subtle and pure.  Following these by ‘Deep fried hake with sauce noisette’ as a main showcased the skill of the restaurant’s chefs, as the also simple dish was instead almost luxurious in taste, varying in texture, and producing of one of those, “Wow, this is so good” moments.  Not to be forgotten were the complimentary bread and butter which are always a sure-fire way to test the quality of a restaurant and which in this case were excellent, as well as the cheese platter options, which were unique and also a pleasure to end the meal with.

The special German wine selection, which was said to have been chosen both due to the region’s specific qualities in taste and also because the owners believe that they are generally under appreciated, was indeed a great touch.  One of our servers nailed our party’s diverse requests on only the second try, finding for us wines that perfectly matched our described preferences along with what we were eating.

Diversity (1/3): Scheepskameel was unfortunately another culprit of the all-male staff trend, and it was particularly tiresome here, as with the large size of the establishment, we counted about one dozen caucasian men in proper chef’s garb walking around as waiters and as cooks in the open kitchen.  And, to add a bit of insult, the only female employee was limited to a hostess’ role, and the only person of another race appeared to be the sole person washing the dishes.  The restaurant here receives a one sector rating (out of the three available) instead for its culinary Diversity, which was a great mix of fresh and heavy, animal protein-based and vegetarian.

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