Damn, Amsterdam! Bigger Bites: BAUT

Now, when I asked my friends who live in Ams­ter­dam and speak Dutch what “baut” actu­ally meant, they couldn’t exactly tell me. They assumed it came from the name of the street it was on Wibaut­straat, but the word “baut” itself was slang.

I vaguely remem­ber it being some­thing about shit? But I could be wrong, I don’t speak Dutch and I have a spotty mem­ory of this con­ver­sa­tion. Because this place def­i­nitely was not shit. What is kind of shitty about Baut, how­ever, is that it has a pre­de­ter­mined lifes­pan, the quin­tes­sen­tial pop-up restaurant.

Though it only opened last Sep­tem­ber or Octo­ber, Accord­ing to the server, the Ams­ter­dam Coun­cil has decided to close the space, along with famous night­club Trouw next door, at the end of 2014 to gen­trify make way for up and com­ing some­thing or other. Don’t new restau­rants count as up and coming?

Ah well. The upside of a restau­rant rec­og­niz­ing its own mor­tal­ity is that it knows that it can keep things fresh and con­cise for its guests. Baut serves break­fast, lunch and din­ner, and thanks to my good friend Claire Van Der Hall of Claire PR (who also has a great blog for all trendy nightlife and restau­rant and fes­ti­val hap­pen­ings in Ams­ter­dam), we were invited to come in one evening.

There’s def­i­nitely a neigh­bor­hood feel to the space, with the upstairs open­ing up even­tu­ally for pri­vate par­ties and shows. On the wall is the name of the restau­rant in post-it notes, with the remain­ing num­ber of days writ­ten on each. As the days pass, another post-it is removed from the wall.

The open kitchen is bustling, offer­ing a din­ner menu divided by region: France, Italy, Asia and of course, the Nether­lands. I rarely allow myself to eat bread before meals like this, and I was almost hes­i­tant when I read it was served with truf­fle cream (I have a thing about truf­fle for truffle’s sake — which is another post entirely).

For­tu­nately this crusty warm bread was not pre­sented with what I fig­ured would be truf­fle mayo, but rather a sub­tle mus­tard with a whiff of truf­fle essence.

From the Ned­er­land sec­tion of the menu, I opted for the poached Dutch oys­ters, served dressed with a bit of rich beurre blanc and spinach, nes­tled in a bit of warm potato puree and tucked into the shell.

I don’t know what my obses­sion is with eat­ing oys­ters lately. The last one I actu­ally had in Ams­ter­dam, on my pre­vi­ous trip, I choked on (I got overzeal­ous with the mignonette). Baut’s oys­ter, how­ever, con­firmed that I am right to be obsessed. The oys­ters, still slightly warm, are plump and briny with the bit of caviar cut­ting into the silky beurre blanc and creamy potato puree.

Sec­ond course I found myself in Italy, with a lovely pasta dish.

Rib­bons of tagliarini cre­ated a bed for meaty, earthy thick slices of mush­rooms, only slightly fra­grant with truffle,and shaved parme­san. This was a hearty, soul­ful pasta that had a lot of com­fort packed into each bite.

My final stop on the Baut tour was in Asia (of course), with soft shell crab deep fried tempura-style.

The soft-shell crab was a nice size, and split in two before being fried in the bat­ter. While I wish that bat­ter had fried to more of a crisp, the crab itself was well-seasoned and held up well to the melange of mango, red pep­pers, bok choy and almonds in the slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce.

As a neigh­bor­hood restau­rant, Baut should do really well, and they’re show­cas­ing their poten­tial for longevity. Check it out while you can. It’s fur­ther proof that sadly all good things even­tu­ally do come to an end.

Wibaut­straat 125

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