Special dishes from a chef who gets a kick out of deconstruction

The Bunk Hotel was established in the former Sint-Ritakerk in Amsterdam-Noord just before the corona era. In anticipation of throngs of tourists, a concept was set up between hostel and hotel. You can book a private pod from 26 euros per night: your own den with a made bed, fair trade towel and safe. Well thought out and nice that you don’t have to sleep between someone else’s sweat socks. But then the city was locked and you would almost crave the smell of sweat from others. The entrepreneurs, who received praise for their Bunk adventure (there is also one in Utrecht), must have had sleepless nights.

This is not the first time the church has suffered disaster. During construction in 1921, the girders and scaffolding collapsed during a storm and the building was severely damaged. In 1943, during a celebration of the Eucharist, the church was bombed and dozens were killed and injured. Despite disaster, the church remained a landmark building in the Van der Pekbuurt.

In our quest for affordable eateries with good food, we end up on Bunk’s terrace. Bunk is open all day, inside there are extension tables and outside, because of the new catering measures, a large terrace with plenty of space has been built around wooden picnic tables. We can enjoy a beautiful summer evening at an appropriate distance. The waiter is in shorts and a tropical shirt, you can indeed hear the sparrows falling from the roof, but the gentlemen remain cheerful.

The menu has been shortened to four starters, four main courses and three desserts, also due to capacity limitations, a colorful mix of dishes from different parts of the world. They can be ordered with or without meat or fish. We try out as many dishes as possible: gazpacho (8.50) and sushi (12.50), then rendang (16.75) and chicken masala (16.25) and then variations on snickers (8.25) and piña colada ( 8.25).

We know for sure about the main course: the chef loves deconstruction, dissecting a dish in order to put it together just a little differently. At the risk of being called a sexist, deconstruction really is a man’s thing. Practical women say: why make things difficult when you can do it easily.

We first get a deconstruction of gazpacho, the cold soup comes as cucumber in the outer ring with tomato foam with breadcrumbs inside. It is a tasty, fresh creation. Then the chef has been busy with sushi, so-called non rolled sushi. This is basically salmon on a slice of rice reminiscent of lemper, the Indonesian glutinous rice, and comes with fried seaweed (nori), black sesame and thinly sliced ​​radish. Deconstruction successful, taste in balance.

Culinary Dr. Tulp is also very active in the main course: the chicken masala, an Indian dish, has been completely dismantled. That means chicken stuffed roti with rice and long beans, cauliflower cream and masala gravy. Fine on paper, but the chef is overdone, the beans and chicken are broom salt, the latter is also dry.

We quickly take a sip of beer, Bird of Prey (5.40), a fresh, fruity and hoppy IPA (India Pale Ale) beer that goes well with spicy dishes. And then taste what the rendang is like, a masterpiece after all. The beef is tender and just right spicy and comes with glutinous rice, puffed and boiled rice and sour cauliflower atjar, a welcome condiment. This is what you call a nice plate of food: satisfying through the meat and challenging through the acidity. The chilled Romanian pinot noir (Legendary, 5.50) goes well with it.

Finally, the desserts that were also conceived on the drawing board. The snickers is yes, a deconstruction of Snickers, that of ‘you are not yourself when you are hungry’, so peanuts, chocolate and caramel. We love it. Less successful is the piña colada, a deconstruction with white chocolate, ice cream, cooked pineapple and granola. Honeysweet.

All in all we have a great evening. The service is attentive, the kitchen doesn’t get away with it. Now more attention to the taste details.

Reviewer and journalist Rock Possel tests a restaurant in and around Amsterdam every week.