The Dylan hotel is a luxury five star boutique hotel residing in a beautiful Georgian building on Amsterdam's fifth and most famous canal, the Keizersgracht. The hotel is known as one of the city's most stylish places to stay, has won the award 'Netherlands Leading Hotel' in the World Travel Awards and is a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of World. A few weeks ago while in Amsterdam, I had the pleasure of visiting the Dylan Hotel for a private tour and to sample their High Wine experience.
For those who like hotels with a fascinating history, The Dylan hotel would be the perfect place to stay. This boutique hotel was once the first theatre in Amsterdam known as the 'De Duytsche Academie' founded by Doctor Samuel Coster and built by the world famous Architect Jacob Van Campen. During that time period, theatre was heavily frowned upon by the church, so to keep on a level ground the theatre donated most of its profits to city orphanages. The theatre had many royal visitors such as the Prince of Orange and the King of Poland and to celebrate the buildings 100th anniversary in 1737, the renowned Antonio Vivaldi conducted the theatre orchestra. On Monday the 11th of May 1772 the building accidentally caught fire and burned down. A year later it went back down it's charitable routes and was sold on to the Old & Poor People's office ran by the Roman Catholic church. In 1998 the foundation handed over the building and in 1999, The Dylan hotel as we know it today was officially opened.
The Dylan features 40 individually decorated rooms and suites, a large Georgian courtyard space which is a rarity in central Amsterdam, a Michelin star restaurant called Vinkeles and a brasserie called OCCO where the high wine experience takes place.
The high wine experience is like the Dutch equivalent to the British Afternoon Tea, but with wine and small paired dishes. The high wine experience at The Dylan is an affordable way for foodies to sample some of the culinary delights of the Michelin style restaurant without the gourmet price tag.
The high wine experience consists of four amuse-style bites paired with four of wines from the Dylan's cellar. The first two dishes are paired with white wine, the third is paired with a red and the final is a dessert wine. These experiences are usually suited to those eat fish or meat, but the staff and the chef at The Dylan were more than willing to accommodate my dietary requests as a vegetarian and my husband thoroughly enjoyed the classic version of the high wine.
The first dishes presented to us were served with a German white wine known as Manz Scheurebe Kalkstein from the wine region of Rheinhessen. The wine features scheurebe grapes that are highly aromatic and sweet in taste. My husband was given a dish that consisted of 'Smoked Albacore Tuna with poached quail egg, pink pepper and crispy seaweed' and I had a grilled aubergine with cheese and a deep fried olive. This dish was wonderful and beautifully presented. The rich taste of the cheese and olives were complemented nicely with the sweetness of the wine and it was a great start to the tasting menu. The dishes were light, but filling and definitely moreish.
It was quite a wait until our second dish arrived, but this gave us chance to chat about the first course and get excited about the next. Neither of us had seen a menu prior to arriving so everything was a surprise - especially for me as the chef was making most of the vegetarian dishes up on the spot. Again we were served a white wine, but this time from France. It was the Domaine Massiac from a small vinery known as the Chateau Massiac that dates back to the Roman times. This wine was paired with the "mullet fish served in a fish soup with mussels, squid, Dutch Alderliefste potatoes from "Texel", cheese crostini and aili." My vegetarian dish was a roasted butternut squash pasta with pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. I found my dish to be mouth-wateringly good and my husband thoroughly enjoyed his fish soup despite not being the biggest fish fan. Yet again both dishes really surprised us and left us waiting in anticipation for the third dish.
Our third dishes were paired with a deep, full bodied Italian red wine that unfortunately I didn't get the name of. I was too busy dreaming of the food the waiter had just mentioned that would be accompanying the wine. For third course I had roasted parsnips in mustard with mustard seeds and a type of creme fraiche. This was by far my favourite dish, I have an obsession with parsnips and these were cooked to perfection and so beautifully presented with lots of colour. My husband had roasted pheasant breast with sauerkraut, smoked sausage, bacon and laurel sauce - a classic dish that always goes well with red wine and did not disappoint.
Our final dish was a "Gateau Opera" (one can only assume the name derives from theatre aspect of the hotel) and it was a dark chocolate gateau with coffee mousse and Mascarpone sorbet. This was paired with an Austrian sweet dessert wine. Yet again the dish was perfection - just the right amount, not too rich for dark chocolate and lots of flavour. We left the brasserie feeling content and with our stomachs full.
The High Wine experience costs €39,50 per person and there's a Christmas themed High Wine available for €55,00 available from 26 December until 3 January featuring six courses instead of three. My husband and I had a wonderful experience at The Dylan and I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Amsterdam and looking for a romantic afternoon or a foodie getaway.