72 HOURS IN AMSTERDAM
72 HOURS IN AMSTERDAM… Whenever I travel somewhere new (or somewhere I haven’t visited since my late teens) my first port of call is always to ask everyone I know and on social media where’s best to head to. CN Traveller will of course provide a great starting point but there’s nothing quite as current as friends or acquaintances that have just got back from there themselves. So here’s my 72 hour edit of fab places to feast, wander and rest your head.
AMSTERDAM CANALS… provide much of the sightseeing in Amsterdam, in fact you can’t wander the streets without incidentally wandering along or over the endless canal network that divides the city. The first thing to note is that you can pretty much walk everywhere, so comfortable shoes are a must.
WHERE TO HEAD…
COFFEE – Our first coffee stop was at SCREAMING BEANS – This place gets pretty busy so be prepared to wait or sip your coffee on the move or while loitering outside.
STAY… We stayed at THE HOXTON which location wise is pretty much bang in the centre of it all. My biggest tip is plan well in advance, everywhere gets booked up so get your reservation made ASAP. Rooms are tastefully decked out and the hotel itself consists of open brick work, glossy white tiles and a bit of sixties vibe.
LUNCH….or dinner at BREDA, we actually stumbled upon this restaurant with it’s decor luring us in to take a closer look. It’s safe to say that this might have in fact been our favourite spot. From the decor, almost Parisian in feel, lime-wash walls, green velvet banquette and clusters of soft ball lighting to the friendly staff that were more than accommodating (I had The Vegetarian in tow) and delicious wine list. This is somewhere worth returning to especially if you’re as indecisive as I am when it comes to making menu choices! There’s a set menu which you don’t get to see, you just decide on the number of courses.
We started with an amuse bouche of tom kakai inspired carrot soup, a platter of pickled carrots, hangop and nasturtium plus those delicate carrot crisps with carrot hummus and cumin. Next, herring both raw and pickled with smoked sour cream, herring roe and raspberry marinated beetroot. The main combined both rump steak and rib of lamb with beurre noisette and fermented garlic purée. A cheese platter of Comté, Stilton and Limburger followed by a dessert of miso, caramel, Granny Smith compot, buckwheat crumble and beurre noisette ice cream. Four hours of solid walking and a couple of refreshment stops later and we’ve just about managed to walk it off! Just how Sundays should be spent.
RESTAURANT DE KAS…This beautiful restaurant is (if you are walking) a good forty five minutes from central Amsterdam. Perched in amongst the rich greenery of the surrounding park is @restaurantdekas – it’s more immediate circumference consists of meticulously kept gardens and the nurseries it draws much of its produce from. This vast space is as impressive as its menu. The lunch service consists of a set menu of either three or four courses of which small amuse bouche are added. A tapioca and mustard seed cracker arrives first, accompanied by a celery dip (completely delicious) freshly baked bread along with garden radish, piccalilli and poppy seed crumble whets our appetite. Our first course is butterhead lettuce, sprat vichyssoise and lovage potato crumble. Green gazpacho of spinach, celery and cucumber with goats cheese mousse, chard and puffed bulgar follows. Catch of the day arrives baked in basil leaves on brick pastry with ratatouille and fresh sweet cherry tomatoes. Dessert comprised of marinated cherries, almond creme, puff pastry and verbena yogurt ice cream. Wine pairings available but my main advice would be to turn up hungry!
The hugest seafood platter at STORK for dinner, oysters, razor clams, mussels, clams and prawns. A short (& free) ferry ride took us off the mainland (central station) to the north banks of the river IJ where we sat for hours, watching the sun finally set late into the evening. The endless stream of boats pass us by as I attempt to get through this enormous platter. This is a great place for big groups,, the gargantuan restaurant is the old Stork factory so there’s a short walk through an industrial park to get you to the banks of the river. Be warned it’s all about the seafood, enormous vats of mussels to share arrive on the table next to us, whole fish and platters of oysters fill the tables. The Vegetarian (husband) really had to take one for the team here..the chips are pretty good though!
It’s an all avocado menu at THE AVOCADO SHOW in the De Pijp area of Amsterdam. Guaranteed to make you wait, this moderately sized restaurant just off the main drag has a constant queue. Catering for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and everyone else that has a passion for avocado! Popular dishes include the instagram famous avocado on toast and the avocado burger ‘Bun Burger’. I however opt for the Poké bowl, a Hawaiian style raw salmon, wake seaweed salad, fish caviar, sushi rice and avocado rose bowl. There’s also dessert which includes a handcrafted avocado sorbet, The Blind Date, their signature dessert with dates, avocado citrus and anise seeds and The Next Level Mousse, layered dark chocolate, banana and avocado mousse. It’s pink velvet seating and plenty of botanical touches make for the perfect breakfast or brunch spot.
Also in the Pijp district which definitely has a Brooklyn/ NY feel to it is this sweet breakfast or brunch spot. This too is somewhere worth turning up to early. They’ll take your number and text when your table is ready. Serving an assortment of brunch favourites and great coffee, it’s worth waiting for.