zaterdag 15 maart 2014

February Update - Amsterdam Restaurants


Sinne is a new French restaurant with a Swedish name. The interior design is robust, divers and pleasant, except for the hideous art pieces hanging from the wall. The acoustics were perfect. The restaurant is housed in what appears to be a small venue, easy to miss when you're scanning Ceintuurbaan for the the restaurant by bike. It's located in the heart of the Pijp, off Sarphati park.

The service is nonchalant, professional with a wink. The crowd was very varied, but a lot of men in suits (there was a big fair at the RAI that week though). However, the waits were too much. The wine was good (and we ordered plenty) but we waited over an hour and 15 minutes for our first course and again for our main course (even though we complained about the first wait and were promised to have dishes served on the table within 40 minutes). No compensation at all was offered. Just a smile and a shrug. Not cool!

But, I must admit, the food that comes on the table, is worth the wait (once). The steak was absolutely divine and the fish was pure perfection, a true delight. Maybe it's the complex nature of the seasoning, or the fact that clever and intriguing sides accompany the meat and fish, but if Sinne can get the timing right, it could easily become one of my favorite venues. I guess we'll have to give it one more try.


The good thing about Amsterdam is that there are restaurants suited for any situation. You can also dine well when you have little time. On our way to the amazing Belgian band Balthazar in Paradiso we stopped by Spaghetteria on Van Woustraat for a bite. It's a pasta bar.

It was a good choice, the concept is simple: there is a huge table in the middle and some tables next to the window, you grab a chair, you walk towards the open kitchen, you order one of the 6 traditional Italian dishes. You sip decent wine while you wait. Service is almost as fast as a slow working/badly managed McDonnalds. That is cool. Because it tastes great and it's a lot healthier than fast food. It's a great concept, discovered by many many hipsters in town.

De Stadskantine

Sometimes you don't feel like cooking during or after a busy stressful day at work. Memories appear from my life in Belgium at the company's cafeteria or at the student cafeteria at university. That's when I decide to head to the Stadskantine in van Woustraat. 

The food is simple, straightforward, cheap, fast and tasty. Nothing fancy or creative. The atmosphere is chilled, relaxed, you can download an app and play your own music in the restaurant.

Cafe Kiébert

A new local hangout, it almost feels like a grand cafe. There aren't a lot of cool establishments in Oud Zuid, and definitely not in my neighbourhood: the Apollobuurt. Kiêbert is a very welcome bar/restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The interior is lush, elegant, retro, varied and sophisticated, somehow a mix of something you'd expect in London and something authentic from Amsterdam. It's very spacious, with a lot of differently styled corners. Spending time at Cafe Kiébert is a pleasant experience. The place oozes a warmth and friendliness that was apparently one of the characteristics of the old bakery (Kiebêrt) that was housed here way back.

Kiebêrt is perfect for the Dutch style 'Borrel'. There is a huge selection of Dutch tapas to accompany your wines, beers and other drinks. Staff is very pleasant and sweet. It's calm, light and mellow in there.

Dinner however is almost good. The food is the contemporary Dutch shared dining concept (again yes). There was a varied selection, and we tried a variety of meat, fish, vegetarian. The food itself was ok. Meaning just ok. The sides (e.g. salad) where very mediocre, very clumsy. Not matching the standard the main courses were trying to set. All in all they're not there yet dinner wise, but I will give it some time and try again soon. So stay tuned. A lot of potential here, and since it's so close to where I live, it has to become my local hangout.


Bloesem is a small restaurant hidden in the Jordaan near Haarlemmerdijkstraat. Not many people seem to stumble upon this restaurant, and when we were there it was very quiet and empty. The interior is wrong. People tried to make it interesting, but it's not. The bar area looks messy and out of place. Somehow the interior isn't a hint that interesting delicious are about to happen on your plate.

YES! Exciting things did happen. Our taste buds were treated to a delicious feast! very clever dishes, little masterpieces. Very well balanced dishes, extremely well prepared, perfect textures, especially with the main course, a lot of chefs would go wrong there, but the mix and textures of purees, sauces was just right and full of flavor. It made sense.

I'm sure this could become a hotspot in town with a cool clever interior and the right buzz. The food is perfect!


On our way to Bombay Bicycle Club in Melkweg we were biking Utrechtsestraat looking for a place to eat. We were looking for something not too elaborate, but with healthy and decent dishes. I remembered Vooges from when I just moved to Amsterdam. So we headed to that location. Upon arrival I indeed vaguely remembered Vooges was no longer with us. The place is now called Harmsen.
Nothing wrong with that.

I was poured a good wine while I was browsing through a very classic and standard menu. I like it when classics are well prepared. The steak Kannibaal was very delicious and I enjoyed it a lot. It was served as it should be served. With a lot of sides and with the costumer mixing the ingredients to make the perfect mix. The other side of the table ordered a salad with forgotten vegetables. Very delicious as well. The main course was the order of the day. It met expectations. All in all a very enjoyable and quick meal. Bombay Bicycle Club gave a fantastic performance later that night.

Gold Fish Club

Fanfarlo, the next indie sensation from the UK, was performing at Bitterzoet. A lovely venue by the way. Cool thing about Bitterzoet is the Gold Fish Club being next door. Ideal for a meal before the gig. The interior is eclectic, hip, a lot of tourists, busy atmosphere. Ideal for a quick bite. The dishes are asian tapas. They are delicious. The smells and tastes actually take me back to Asia where I had the real deal. Good, tasty, cheap food in a cool setting, with quick but sterile service. I'll be there every time I'm seeing a band at Bitterzoet.

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