The logo for Ron Gastrobar Amsterdam is an egg just about to crack open. In case you’re wondering what that’s all about, restaurateur and chef Ron Blaauw explains the promise of an egg. “In every kitchen everywhere, you’ll find an egg.” Fresh eggs are nutritious, versatile, and come in a handy single serving package. “With one egg,” Ron says, “you can make hundreds of different kinds of dishes. An egg [represents] the start of something.” That pretty much describes what went on during the transition from Ron Blaauw to Ron Gastrobar in an eggshell (pardon the pun).
Ron is a chef who simply loves to cook. Operating an eponymous 1 and then 2-star restaurant for nearly twelve years, he recently gained even more notoriety when he announced he would close Ron Blaaw for good and reopen in the same location (Sophialaan 55) as a new gastrobar called Ron Gastrobar Amsterdam. So what’s different? Well, the staff is pretty much the same. Ron still does the cooking. The décor is totally renovated replete with silver flatware and post-modern coffee cups. But what’s really different is the menu and the approach.
The reason behind this change was simple. While on sabbatical in Australia, Ron realized he wasn’t cooking the kind of food he wanted to cook and knew that he was capable of more than slavishly performing for guidebooks. Ron emphasizes the differences between him and some other chefs, “These people think they are artists, but come on, we cook food.” That is, a huge selection of twenty two main courses such as the Grilled Baby Leeks with anchoiade and crispy veal brains, the Fried Skate with artichoke, lovage, and lemon; Ron’s Cauliflower with meatballs and Messeklever cheese. You can’t leave without trying dessert. Our absolute favorite was the Lamada Strawberries with Crème Fraiche with foam of madeleines.
Since reopening at the beginning of April, Ron Gastrobar has been fully booked everyday, which means something between one hundred and one hundred fifty customers. So what’s the concept? Again, simple: Ron knows people want to eat delicious food with great service at a reasonable price. He’s even taken out the math when divvying up the bill at the end of the night. Each carefully designed dish is priced at just €15. They recommend ordering three to four dishes per person.
The ingredients are sourced from the same suppliers as before, which means there’s no downgrade in the quality of meats, cheeses, vegetables, etc. According to Ron, “It’s all about ingredients, people, and enjoyment.” And you could tell that’s true from listening to all the happy customers chatting away as they delved into yummy dishes on gorgeous flatware.
So what’s next for Ron Gastrobar? More gastrobars! Ron is toying with the idea of a gastrobar in London, Italy, maybe even Asia. For Ron, classy means embracing all the classes and he believes every city should have a fun place where you enjoy yourself and eat a lot of delicious food without a lot of nonsense.