I love new concepts and places with a little edge to it and this is just one of these places. I L O V E it. Thanks to crowdfunding this place saw its first daylight about 5 months ago. I went to say ‘Hi’ on a grey afternoon in late October and was assisted by the most enthusiastic, chef Bryce who told me all about the place, the concept and the way it all works. The next evening I went again to put my new knowledge into practice.
So, you pick your fish at the ‘marketplace’ when you come in. Then you pick your wine and take your bucket with wine (or whatever else) to your table. You then hang your bucket on a fancy hook above your table and you are all set. A buzzer tells you when to pick up your food. Some staff is walking around to pick up dirty dishes but overall the whole idea is self-serving. The place looks awesome. Cozy, stylish and with daring choices in the interior. Bright yellow tiles and wood panelled walls (made from unprocessed large wooden palets) etc. We loved the food. If they can’t get certain fishes fresh they won’t have them on there menu (marketplace) which I actually quite like. We had an amazing tender juicy halibut filet with a subtile citrus sauce, amazing gamba’s and a great wild mushroom salad. I will definitely be back to try more fish! Rozengracht 133, Amsterdam | +3120 334 5136 | Tram: 1, 2, 13, 14, 17 (Westermarkt) 1,2, 3, 12 (de Clerqstraat) | Website | €€€
Bar Botanique – Cafe Tropique, what a name! I was immediately attracted (not only by the name but also) by the look of the place which is well.. green. Filled with plants and a different approach to interior design than most other restaurant openings nowadays. The staff told me that the restaurant is referred to as the ‘living room’ of East Amsterdam which I can completely understand. The location.. the mix of different people.. it felt very fun and lively. The menu is simple, nothing fancy (or tropical), but easy going Mediterranean comfort food. Eerste van Swindenstraat 581, Amsterdam | Website | €€
Yes! I managed to get a reservation by trying the waitlist and it worked. Currently this place is bloody popular and I now understand why the waitlist was the only option to get a table asap. Love this place. It’s small and cozy with blue leather boots, dark wooden tables, floors and panelled walls and mosaic details. There is a counter / bar where they do life cooking and the music is turned up. This makes you want to order an Espresso Martini after dinner instead of Fresh Mint Tea. The food they serve is modern day Jerusalem and is out of this world. We basically asked the nice guy serving us if he could recommend some dishes and followed all his advice without regret. Unfortunately we had so much of the delicious polenta that we really had no space left for dessert. Regrettably, because they looked great. I just love this kitchen with their interesting combination of flavours and spices. My personal favorites were: Kubaneh, fattoush salad, beetroot carpaccio (see below), Polenta Jerusalem Style (with truffle OMG). Wish I could go back every week. 34 Rupert Street, London | +4420 7439 8777 | Tube: Piccadilly Circus / Leicester Square | £££ | Website
Dishoom is a funky Indian restaurant group that I have become to love. What a concept! This post is about Dishoom King’s Cross where I + 5 friends had an amazing evening last weekend. We sat on one of their round tables and had mouthwatering food handed to us. The food is just crazy good and fresh and for me nice to try something different for a change. Ever been to Bombay? The Dishoom Group will make you feel like you are in the middle of buzzing Bombay (have to be honest here that I have never been to Bombay… but I am going now really soon because of Dishoom ;-)). The styling is just gorgeous. Funky tiles, cozy dining booths, cool industrial details and lighting, retro furniture and so on. Dishoom is big, spacious but cozy and also perfect for after work drinks or group dinners. 5 Stable Street, London N1C 4AB | +4420 7420 9321 | Tube: King’s Cross St. Pancras | Website
After a beautiful drive from Calvi to Galeria we ended up in this cute unpretentious little place on the coast. Imagine; a nice piece of beach on the west coast of Corsica, a small harbor, cows all over the place strolling along your table (on the beach) and some colorful kayaks waiting to be taken on a trip. The food is served on plastic trays in cartons by three hilarious Corsican ladies that do not take any bullshit. Our tiny table was moved inside (while there was actually no place inside) with two other tables because it started pooring. We had a good laugh with other guests and amazing(!) food. We would definitely have come back for more were it not that we are going to the other side of the island tomorrow! Route de Bord de Mer, 20245 Galéria | +334 95 61 00 32 | Website | €€
When the weather is good and you are looking for a lively relaxed place with picnic style garden, good food and drinks, Mossel and Gin is the place to go. It’s a little gem hidden on the Westergas area. They serve mussel dishes (mossel pannetjes) in all kinds of different versions including Thai and Chilli (with chorizo) which were both great, and we loved the fries! – there are other food options available if you’re not a fan of mussels. Also the gin & tonic menu is crazy with lots of funky options. We’re a big fan! Goschalklaan 12, Amsterdam | Tel: 0031(0)20 486 5869) | Website | €€
One of my favourites go-to’s in Amsterdam at the moment. I’m pretty sure it’s because there is a restaurant part upstairs and a really great bar area downstairs. I always love it when you find a place you can start and end at the bar, and you don’t feel you have to leave anytime soon because everyone has gone home or elsewhere. They also tend to have some some really good tunes downstairs that are perfect for Friday or Saturday nights, lots of ‘hitjes’! I must say I liked the french-asian food, especially the starters, but I wasn’t blown away by the main courses. I’m going back soon to check out their new menu (main courses and cocktails!). Rokin 103 | Tram: Spui/Rokin | Tel: +31(0)20 333 0014 | Website | €€€
Oh my what is this restaurant good… Heavenly…The best. I am in love. I had trouble getting a reservation here so I would recommend making a reservation a few weeks before especially if you want to go in the weekend.
I also recommend you try the Premium tasting menu.. Expensive but the best, and it allows you to try things you may not select yourself. I basically could not speak a few times because I was just trying to figure out how to express myself about the divine food that entered my mouth haha…
Okay so; the restaurant is located in Mayfair (there is another Roka in Marlybone – see Guusje’s post), has a contemporary Japanese Robatayaki cuisine (award-winning) and has room for about 80 people in the main dining area, a few high tables with stools for 2 guests and seats around their Robatayaki grill. They also have a few tables outside on the pavement. The grill is in the center of the restaurant and the whole place has a warm contemporary feel to it. I wish I could eat here everyday! 30 North Audley Street, Mayfair, London | +4420 7305 5644 | ££££ | Tube; Marble Arch or Bond Street | Website | Map
By accident I ended up in this completely amazing little bar in Islington (walking distance from Highbury and Islington station) I had a reservation in Le Coq next door and went to wait for our table to be ready in this charming place. So cute. It is the place you want to take your friends from out of town to, to show them how cute, cool, funky and creative London is as a city! Their kitchen is too small to start a ‘real’ restaurant so they are only open on Fridays and Saturdays for tapas etc. The rest of the week just breakfast and lunch. 290 Saint Paul’s Road, Islington, London | Tube; Highbury & Islington | £££ | Website
Now that I’m spending some time in Amsterdam as part of my maternity leave I finally have time to check out what’s new and fun in one of my favourite cities. CT’s is situated in an old twenties style cinema building so think extreme high ceilings, various floors and open plan everything.. A unique space. They did a really good job in making it feel relaxed with a natural look while still keeping it buzzing. Love the black & white photographs on the walls. Probably one of the reasons why it feels good is because it’s almost always busy – be prepared to wait in line for a table on the weekends. On the menu are fresh juices, smoothies, herbal teas, granola, coconut pancakes ( made from almond flour), different salads, a selection of bites and they do dinner too, all very delicious. Ceintuurbaan 282 | Tel: +31203541104 | Website | ££