Sometimes its not a coincidence why great wine bars stand out in a big city – there are usually a handful of very wine curious people who decide to open more than one place. We are drawn to a particular style of wine bar, M and I. We like small, cozy, bodega-style places with a well-selected list by the glass and some bar food. We don’t mind if its fancy bar food, but the service should be casual. In a big city like Amsterdam, we have been lucky to find our favorites, and I would like to share them with you. Its not a coincidence that t´both bars share the same owner. Continue reading “Two Great Wine Bars in Amsterdam”
Finally its time to start unraveling our great food trip to Amsterdam, and I would like to start with the finest: Restaurant Choux. The word choux is French and it means cabbage. It gives a little hint on the theme, Choux is what one might call vegetable forward. There is meat on the menu, but it does not play the leading role. Choux also houses an awesome selection of nature wines. Continue reading “Amsterdams Finest – Restaurant Choux”
This week I have not been posting much. Why? Because it has been awesome weather and I have been busy walking around in Amsterdam. 15 degrees Celsius and blue skies is a blessing in March. At least for a Finn (and a Swede), so I have not even opened my computer or email. After a long, dark winter, all that vitamin D is so welcome. I also had no idea that Amsterdam is such a Mecca for foodies. We enjoyed great, inexpensive wines and interesting restaurants; walked on the scenic canals nursing coffee and fresh croissants; and slept in to catch up on the sleep deprivation known well to parents of small children. Continue reading “Wineweek 125: A walk through Amsterdam”
The countdown to spring is on. February has started with mild weather. I know it is a bit grey, but I prefer that to minus degrees. Every morning, the sun rises a bit earlier, and I can already leave the office with some daylight left. The darkest time of the year is behind us, and it can only get better from here. Continue reading “Wineweek 118: The Countdown to Spring”
As some of you may have gathered I do have to spend some time in the Netherlands due to work now and then. When I started coming to Amsterdam the coffee scene was not really much to talk about and then when it started the quality was not really there. For me the place that made all that change was Scandinavian Embassy. It took me some time to make my way there as it is not really close to the areas I go for work (and it is not smack in the center but not too far off Albert Cuyp Market by the calm Sarphati park). The area is lovely so can understand why they set up shop here. When I entered I was promptly met by a cute little dog, one of the owners (Rikard) has a tiny little dog that will happily stare at you in an attempt to get some food from you.
The second thing I noticed was a familiar face behind the counter. Nicolas who used to work at one of my local favorites cafes in Stockholm (Drop Coffee) was now one of the people running this place. I then immediately knew I was in good hands when it comes to coffee. Nicolas is one of the top baristas in the world so I fully trusted him to make me a decent cup. When I was there the first time they had a wide selection of coffees from some of my favorite Scandinavian roasters like Danish Coffee Collective, Norwegian Tim Wendelboe and Swedish Drop Coffee. I sampled several of the Kenyans and they were awesome! On subsequent visits they kept to the Scandinavian roaster and always served impeccable coffee. The coffee is also most often paired with the food they serve.
Food wise there is also a clear Scandinavian touch to the menu and a lot of the things sounded great. I have tried some of the pastries as well as the food (among other things the wild boar sausage as well as poached eggs). In general high quality food, made with carefully sourced and selected ingredients. The food is better than what you will have in most restaurants and I just love sitting at the bar looking at them prepare it. The ambitions are high and yet the prices stay reasonable.
The design is also clearly inspired by Scandinavia. For me, it looks really great and of course familiar, so not sure how the locals like it. The seats are perhaps not the most comfortable but I still like to hang out here. The tables in the back are more nice to sit for a long time at. There is free wifi as well so fine for doing some work. The staff are really friendly and happy to chat about coffee, food and stuff.
So how does it rate:
Coffee quality: 4.5
Ambiance and service: 4
Vs local competition: 5
The coffee Monday this week goes back to Amsterdam. When people talk about Amsterdam and coffee in the same sentence it has historically been more the coffee shops where there is more smoking than coffee drinking go on. The specialty coffee scene in Amsterdam is however really taking off and in the past couple of years a variety of new places have popped up. One of my recent discoveries is White Label Coffee in the western part of Amsterdam. I first encountered their coffee at Kokko in Helsinki and then decided to make sure to have time to visit.
They have a rather spacious café where they roast coffee, sell beans and some equipment as well as of course serve the coffee. They have a wide range of coffee for sale and upon my visit they had an impressive seven different coffees available to order as hand-brewed filters. The guys working here really know how to make their coffee, very nicely prepared. The roasting is also very good and I was impressed by filter as well as cold brew. For me they are among the top coffee places in town and for me they are currently only beaten by Scandinavian Embassy but I do believe the fact that these guys roast their own coffee is something that may in the long run make them number one.
There is some simple café food on offer and nice apple pie and other pastries but I would still not say that it is the place to come for a full meal. What they have is however nice and decently priced. I like the atmosphere of the place and the people working there are very friendly so it is a nice place to hang at. It is fairly spacious and has free wifi so it is also possible to hang around for a longer period of time.
So how does it rate:
Coffee quality: 4
Ambiance and service: 4.5
Vs local competition: 4.5