Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lunches in Amsterdam

Every Friday, I go out with a few colleagues for lunch. It is something we’ve agreed on to spend lunch break together, outside of the office, once a week on a Friday.

The Dutch way of lunching at work is simply very rudimentary. Bring your own food. I’m afraid to say that lunching the Dutch way is quite boring. The food—it is always the same set of suspects, day in, day out: soft brown wheat bread (boterham) + anything on top ranging from pate to thin cold cut meats to tuna to cheese to peanut butter + milk. So I guess this Friday lunching out is good for a change ;-)

The cafe restaurant in the designer hotel, Hotel Lloyd. They have an impressive and interesting bar and a one of a kind lighting fixture, right there in the middle.

Two of our regular lunch cafes are the café restaurant at the designer hotel called Llyod Hotel and the KHL koffiehuis along the eastern dock harbour of Het IJ. They are across each other.

I like the Llyod Hotel cafe because of its outside terrace. It’s pretty, spacious and inviting. The café and the bar area has an interesting mammoth rack display of home ware items ranging from towels to bed sheets. It’s like having IKEA’s bedroom and bathroom showcase departments inside the cafe. I don’t have a favorite on its menu yet. But every time I am here I always order hot fresh mint tea leaves.

KHL bar and restaurant interior on the left. Our drinks: cola with lemon, hot mint tea (mine), and milk. It is very common here for the locals to drink milk during lunch.

KHL stands for Koninklijke Hollandsche Llyod and the café dates back to 1917. It used to cater mainly to boat workers and shipping crew docked on the harbour.

Now, my favorite in this café is their salad: Salade geitenkaas (Goat cheese salad). The warm melted goat cheese sits on a crunchy baked crust saddled with green leafy salad and topped with balsamic zest. I always order this every time I am in KHL. Colleagues were already asking when I will ever get tired of ordering the same lunch. Who cares? =)

This is my all time lunch favorite in KHL Koffiehuis - Salade Geitenkaas (Goat Cheese Salad)

There are other noteworthy cafes in Amsterdam. The posh Caffe PC in PC Hooftstraat where Blondine and I normally go to and incidentally we were there last Sunday. Their salads have too much sauce though (the Dutch needs to learn that salads are best when seasoned basic: olive oil, salt and pepper) but their bread is heavenly. And the tuna I had last weekend was just cooked right.

Another café that came as a big surprise is Caffe Esprit in Het Spui. The place is nice and trendy, and it has an outside terrace on a little square. And I swear on their carrot cake, very wicked on the palate although calorific.

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