I had been wanting to go to Odessa for quite a while because I had heard good things from several people and was intrigued by the location up by the Oostelijke Handelskade.

Restaurantweek 2007 finally was the right opportunity to go and it was well worth it! Highlighted by a surprising and delicious Cucumber-Melon-Eel-Soup we thoroughly enjoyed the food, the ambiance and the surroundings.

De Odessa is an old Russian merchant ship floating peacefully on the waters of the IJhaven near the second bridge to Java IJland. It’s fun to cycle up there on the wide pavement of the dock, behind the redecorated storage houses turned luxury offices and apartments. After having boarded the old ship we had the option to dine on the upper deck – a sort of winter-garden with a modern interior – and the lower deck. We opted for the less formal lower deck that also serves as a disco location and is decorated in 60’s decor, with a lot of brown, beige and orange, round lamps and leather benches. Being in the body of the ship we were actually below sea level and had some fun watching from way below as other boats passed by.

Staff was very friendly and helpful, letting us choose the deck and table, allowing for time to look at the menu and wine list and taking the time to give us a little background on the ship and the restaurant.

This being restaurant, the Odessa served a set-menu with a choice of two for each the starter, main and desert. So between the two of us we got to try it all! The starters were a marinated pulpo with gambas and tomato and almond sauce and a cold cucumber soup with water melon and smoked eel. Both were great! The pulpo was tender and still had enough texture and consistency. The gambas were flavorful and the sauce was very supportive, adding a nice sweetness.

The cold cucumber soup was the highlight of the dinner. I was intrigued by the combination, thinking that it might be anywhere from bland to savory and from well composed to rather disparate. And for a cold soup to be enjoyable, it needs to be well balanced. And well balanced it was! The combination worked out perfectly: The cucumber provides a solid foundation, is pungent and was very present when first tasting the soup. The watermelon provides a perfect, smooth and slightly sweet counterpart that dominated the end of each spoonful. And the smoked eel came through nicely in between with its harder texture and salty and fishy taste!

The main courses were less intriguing but well executed. The fish choice was fried bass with asparagus, cantharells and risso rosso – a red risotto. The meat was grilled entrecote from Ireland. Both were done just right, tender but with consistency and allowing for the natural flavor of the fresh ingredients to come through.

The Odessa also provided for a wine option – different glasses that have been selected to accompany each course well. We chose a Gavi di Gavi from the extensive wine list and were very pleased with the choice. It might be a stretch with an entrecote, but worked well being both refreshing and aromatic.

For desert we had sticky toffee cake and rhubarb crumble. Check out the desert list on their web site; it’s great too find a restaurant that goes beyond ice cream and creme brulee and puts real effort into deserts.

Overall a great night! It’s fun to be on a boat. The interior is well designed and the location is inspiring. The staff is friendly and laid-back. The food both interesting and well executed. We are certainly coming back.

Google maps: Veemkade 259, 1019 CZ Amsterdam

Web site: http://www.de-odessa.nl/

business card odessa