Amsterdam, Netherlands

Flore Wine List

About Flore

The location previously known as Bord’Eau has been completely reimagined by head chef Bas van Kranen. Flore is based in the Hotel de L’Europe, and the interior feels spacious and clubby – albeit quite old-school. Reserve one of the tables by the windows and you’ll get a great view onto the Amstel.

Van Kranen’s cooking is based entirely around vegetables and wild-caught local seafood, with no meat or dairy products whatsoever. So whether you choose the entirely plant-based tasting menu or the “Ocean” menu, the seven courses have a lightness and delicacy to them. The cooking exudes confidence, and van Kranen is not afraid to be punchy – the amuse with horseradish was deliciously fiery. The dishes are refined but not over-complicated.

As you would expect from a two Michelin star establishment, the service glides, but the staff have an informal, good-humoured style that avoids any feeling of stuffiness.

About the Flore Wine List

Puglian-born Antonello Nicastri (previously head sommelier at Nazka) brings his spirit of adventure and exceptional wine pairing abilities to Flore. Nicastri has evolved a wine list that reflects the same spirit as Van Kranen’s cooking – wines that speak to the idea of nature and sustainability. Nicastri is neither a slave to the classics nor to natural wine. His list focuses simply on growers with impeccable vineyard practices and an artisanal, low-intervention approach in the cellar. Think Emidio Pepé, Veyder Malberg or Labet.

I particularly loved Nicastri’s disarming approach to the usual label drinking suspects. Because this is the cellar of the Hotel de L’Europe, you could knock yourself out with all the DRC, Lafite or d’Yquem you want. But Nicastri has moved most of this to a footnote in Flore’s wine list, concentrating instead on a more individual selection that better complements the food. If you insist, there is a “wine bible” filled with back vintages of Bordeaux, Burgundy and so forth. But that would be missing the point.

The real joy here is to let Nicastri serve you by the glass. He has an uncanny ability to pair food and wine, and the pairing focuses on his discoveries rather than (as at so many establishments) bin-ends the restaurant wants to offload or mere resequencing of the budget-priced wines by the glass. A delicate and slightly reductive rosé from the Pfalz seemed muted on its own, but sprang to life when it was harnessed to a smoked trout and gooseberry dish. A smoky, mineral Etna Rosso sang in perfect harmony with harrisa-tinged sea bass.

If you do decide to go by the bottle, mark-ups are more than fair, generally hovering around 100-200% above the retail. It’s refreshing when a restaurant at this level decides not to gouge its customers, and this will surely result in customers trading up and experimenting more than they otherwise would. There is also an excellent selection of older vintages, highlighting the metaphorical and literal depth and breadth of the cellar.

Star Wine List Of The Year

Flore other awards

  • 2 Michelin Stars 2 Michelin Stars

Wine team

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