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Top of the Pop-ups: Part 1 – Foyer

Please note that since writing this blog post, Foyer has closed down

A couple of years ago, pop-ups were everywhere – there was My Table at People’s Place, Cosmic Chilli cook-offs at the café that’s now turned into Bar Brouw (can anyone even remember what it was called before?), and multiple guest chef nights at Hiding in Plain Sight. And in some ways, I think pop-ups are here to stay – for many reasons that haven’t changed. But what has changed is the hype – it’s switched from individual chefs doing one-off events, to temporary restaurants inhabiting a space for a few months (or even a couple of years). It makes sense: restaurants take investment, and temporary venues can offer a welcome reduction in Amsterdam property prices. Plus, serious chefs want the chance to showcase their talents for at least a season – not just a night.

Foyer restaurant Amsterdam
The bar at Foyer – serving Boys beer

Last spring, I reviewed Repéré – which I loved and lost by the end of March. Now, its team has moved onto Foyer in the impressive Felix Meritis building – and it seems to me they’ve found a home, albeit a temporary one. I was there for the leaving dinner of a very dear colleague of mine – our tour guide, Chrisje, at Eating Amsterdam Tours. We toasted her Trip Advisor reviews over an aperitif of so-organic-it’s-cloudy pear cider – as you do.

The formula for the menu is much the same as it was at Repéré – if it ain’t broke, ‘n all that – so we chose from three starters and three mains (meat, fish and vege, respectively). The only difference was the addition of an optional in-between course, which I swapped in for my starter. It was a rich, truffle-fuelled poached egg with ribbons of crunchy celeriac – an earthy, wintry, comforting little pile of flavour.

Foyer Amsterdam - main course
Pork belly, kale, salsify… winter on a plate

Next, I (predictably) went for the pork belly, which came with roasted salsify, crispy kale, a thick jus and a few welcome leaves of postelein. It was delicious – and just the right size for such a rich, meaty main course. Everything came accompanied by wines that I can only describe as “raw” – they tasted young and a little underdeveloped on their own (like they hadn’t quite turned into wine yet?!) but fruity and natural with the food… Strange but good.

The desserts, however, were my favourite part of the meal – and that is odd coming from a kaaskop (cheese head – I’m taking this Dutch phrase literally) like me. Mine involved blood orange, beetroot, slivers of wafery chocolate, and all kinds of interesting crunchy things – plus this pink lake that you see in the picture. It’s hard to describe (as you can tell by the fact that I am failing abysmally) but suffice to say it was one of the best desserts I’ve had in a while.

Foyer Amsterdam - dessert
Dessert at Foyer: weirdly hard to describe (but in a good way!)

Dinner came to around €50 each, which seemed more than reasonable for a three-course meal with paired wines, in a stunningly converted canal house overlooking the Keizersgracht. So reasonable, in fact, that my colleague and I decided to treat Chrisje to her share of the bill – which made the evening more expensive for me but no less delicious. I’d have paid a lot more (in fact, I probably have paid a lot more in other restaurants) for food that good.

Foyer will be at Felix Meritis until 1 April 2015 – so you have slightly longer to catch it than you did when I reviewed Repéré. But we’re all curious to find out where they pop up next…

all the info

Foyer (European)
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