03 Sep Amsterdam
I was lucky enough to make my first visit to Amsterdam last week. It’s a perfect city break location, being only a forty minute flight from London. It’s certainly a city with much to offer – from colourful flower markets to impressive museums, idiosyncratic architecture to Anne Frank’s stifling house and let’s not forget the infamous Red Light District! Much as I would have loved to explore all these and more, I only had three hours to play with. We arrived at lunchtime, therefore food was the most pressing concern 🙂
As is my habit these days, I’d done a little research into where might be good to eat near the Concertgebouw. I’d noted down some recommendations from Youtube fashion blogger Inthefrow who had done an Amsterdam vlog a few months ago. Her followers advised her to check out Coffee & Coconuts, a 15 minute walk from the Concertgebouw, in ‘de Pijp’ or ‘the Pipe’ neighbourhood. Owned by three long time friends who love beach life, it is possibly the most relaxed, trendy and Instagram worthy place I’ve ever set foot in. Think exposed brick mixed with white walls across three storeys, rustic wooden furniture with linen cushions and the odd stained glass window. Perfectly imperfect. Unlike the waiting staff who might as well have been Calvin Klein models. Could you take our order sans clothes please and thank you ?
With a name like Coffee & Coconuts, one would expect said ingredients to shine in the menu. I am not a coffee drinker, but fortunately I had an aficionado with me who not only affirmed the quality of the coffee on offer, but noticed that they have one of the most expensive machines in the business. His cortado got the seal of approval. Full marks there then! I chose a Gorilla Loco, a coconut water confection blended with berries, oat milk, chocolate, bananas, almonds and an optional shot of espresso. For every order of this smoothie €1 is donated to Virunga gorillas, which makes deciding between the juices much easier! This was so fruity and thick, it does fill you up! The coconut shavings and flaked almonds add texture to the creamy mixture. I’m determined to recreate this recipe at home! If you prefer an alcoholic beverage, they have draft beers on offer here as well as cocktails and the usual bunch.
Continuing the coconut theme, I ordered pancakes for my main! I added extra bacon to make it more lunch acceptable 😀 Made with almond and buckwheat flour, they’re gluten free (hooray!). A generous handful of fresh blueberries, maple syrup and toasted coconut adorn the pancakes alongside whipped coconut cream. The bacon was thin and crispy, again in plentiful supply. I had five or six rashers! It’s a classic combination of sweet and savoury, a slightly healthier version of the all out American version but even more tasty in my opinion! The ramen was a good warming dish on a cloudy day, with wonderfully caramelised slices of pork belly enticing you to get stuck in. The burgers came on light and surprisingly airy buns, meaning you don’t feel as heavy as you might normally after a burger. The vegetarian version included sheep’s cheese in the beetroot patty itself. I like this idea as so often veggie burgers can get dry and crumbly. The cheese gives it some moisture to hold the burger together, as the menu says ‘Juicy as ever’! The beef burger was spiced with jalapeños but balanced with cream cheese, another successful combination.
I was so glad that everyone thoroughly enjoyed their lunch. When you’re the one choosing the restaurant you can feel a bit of pressure, especially when you have hungry people in tow! Coffee & Coconuts definitely lived up to our expectations. Plus the price is fantastic, roughly £13 per person with great drinks and food. In London I’d expect to pay around £20 each.
Before I finish this post, I thought I’d share what I bought at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. I didn’t have any time in the city itself to do any browsing, but the airport has many shops for you to stock up on some goodies! First of all is the classic Dutch Stroopwafel, waffles made from thin crisp layers of dough sandwiched together by a caramel syrup filling. You can get these in various flavours and sizes, but I opted for the original. The food deli has a large chilled section packed with cheese. Some of the Gouda slices were too big to fit in my bag, but I spied a taster selection of Reypenaer cheese for €6. This is a type of Gouda which is matured in an entirely natural way. The selection comes with four cheeses of different ages, three made with cows milk and one goat. I finished the goat version in two days (should have bought the bigger size!!). Finally, I found some quirkily wrapped chocolate from Urban Cacao. Not only is the packaging fun, but the flavours are novel too. The three that came home with me were a dark chocolate blend with salted almonds and rosemary, milk chocolate with Dutch stroopwafel and a milk chocolate with Dutch apple pie. Mr Munch and I have tried them and they are delicious! The almond and rosemary is so subtle but plays with the salty, sweet and savoury. The stroopwafel one has a wonderful caramel aroma while the other has freeze dried apples, raisins and cinnamon to recreate that apple pie warmth. The deli at Schiphol airport is one of the largest and best stocked I’ve seen! They are dotted around all the shopping areas in the airport so you won’t miss them.
That concludes my day and a half in Amsterdam! The Concertgebouw was amazing and the audience wonderfully enthusiastic. I love when you can hear the audience listening, the feeling of a crowd concentrating together is truly special. I can’t wait to come back to this beautiful city, hopefully for a long weekend break!
P.S. For drinks afterwards, Cafe Welling is a good shout. It’s right behind the hall and has plenty of old school charm here with vintage paintings and mirrors covering the dark wooden walls. They stayed open for us until 1am!
Nearest Venues: Concertgebouw
Total Receipt (4 people): €60.50 (roughly £54.24)
1x Cortado 2.8
2x Gorilla Loco 11.6
1x Shot Espresso 0.6
1x Dodo Draft 3.5
1x Coconut pancakes + extra bacon 10.5
1x Dashi Chicken Broth 12.5
1x Royale Burger + cheese 10
1x Beet Burger 9
Rating: 9/10 So trendy it hurts…but not enough to stop me eating