The welcoming tinkle of a bell announced our arrival. The staff warmly greeted us, offering a choice among their few remaining tables. We chose to sit by the window to get a better view of the street. Candles crowned the tops of tables adorned in burgundy tablecloths and white napkins. Spiced aromas of unknown goodness filled the room while people sitting at various tables shared colorful food and entertained each other with conversation.
The atmosphere has consistently remained the same throughout our past experiences at Koh-I-Noor, which gives me comfort in knowing what to expect. Within moments, the friendly server appeared.
“Good Afternoon,” he said with a smile. He took our drink order, then asked us if we had previously visited the restaurant in October (2016).
“Yes,” I replied, happy he remembered us. “Good memory!”
“Vegetable Korma? Garlic Naan?” He asked, repeating my order from six months earlier.
“I cannot believe you remember,” I replied, extremely impressed with his memory. “Yes, that’s exactly what I would like, thank you.” .
“Shahi Paneer for you, sir?” He asked, turning to Kurt.
“Perfect,” Kurt said. “Thank you.”
Neither of us could believe he had actually remembered. He returned shortly with our wine, a Riesling from the Alsace region of France, a crispy type of sesame bread and two silver bowls of sauce for it.
The red sauce tasted sweet with a slight amount of heat, while the white sauce had more heat and tasted like green onions and cream. The candle-lamp on our table flickered beneath its glass dome, seeming never to burn away its wax. The candlelight illuminated my glass of wine as I took a sip. It tasted crisp, clean and refreshing – a perfect complement to our upcoming meal.
Our server returned with small candles and a warming tray. He placed the lit candles and tray in the center of our table, then brought a plate of rice, salad and our two meals.
The food, as always, smelled heavenly. It makes me wish I could photograph a smell.
The creamy, rich aroma of the korma intermingled with the tangy shahi sauce. Without a moment more of waiting, we divided the rice between us and took small servings of the main dishes so they would remain hot.
The first taste makes all life’s troubles seem to melt away. They have found the secret to achieving the perfect amount of spice and creaminess to their dishes. Cooked to perfection, the potatoes, carrots and peas in yellow-orange korma sauce and red-orange sauce of the tangy tomato shahi with white squares of soft paneer cheese combined to create an extraordinary flavor indescribable to those who have never tasted it. We used the last pieces of soft Garlic Naan to scoop up any remaining sauce.
The experience seemed to end as quickly as it began, for within 20 minutes, we finished all food in front of us. Feeling full and satisfied, we paid our bill, said goodbye to our server and set out to enjoy the remainder of King’s Day and our final evening in Amsterdam until we return in June.