A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Drinking Food: food you eat post-after-work drinks, food you eat while sipping a cocktail, and food you eat late at night to stave off a hangover (generally unsuccessfully). Well guess what?
Beer Food: Troost
I’d been to Brouwerij Troost in de Pijp a few times for an amber ale and a portion of bitterballen. But a couple of months ago, Troost set up shop in the Westerpark with their second brewery-bar combo. That means there is a brewery literally 200 metres from my house. Dangerous. Very dangerous.
I had a beer-loving friend in town from the UK, so we ensconced ourselves in the bar for most of Friday night. We had to wait 15 minutes or so for a table (that’s how popular this place has become in a matter of a few weeks) but it was no hardship propping up the bar with an IPA or two. Having sat down, we ordered a flammkuchen, which seems to be the new hipster thing to serve in Amsterdam these days. Not that I’m complaining – I’m flippin’ addicted to the things. Think very thin, crispy, mini-pizza with semi-German toppings (like cheese, bacon and onions, rather than mozzarella and tomato). Perfect beer food.
But man cannot live off thin German bread products alone, so we also ordered burgers – because that’s pretty much all there is. I opted for “The Purist”, which has the minimum amount of extra stuff, but still includes cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickles. I found the meat to be a little under-seasoned (as seems to be the fashion these days) but not as noticeably as in the burger at Burgerfabriek – so I guess that’s a plus. And the brioche bun was sensibly manageable, neither too crunchy nor too squishy.
Apart from that: the chips are great; the beer is great; they give you free water… what more can you ask from a Friday night?
Wine Food: T’s Bites & Wine
Now transport yourself to a very different Friday night: one in which I had a wine-loving friend in town from Brussels (you can see why I’m friends with all these people). This time, I’d booked us a table at T’s Bites & Wine – a new-ish wine bar in the up-and-coming Kinkerbuurt. We kicked off with a glass of bubbles, followed by a classy Viognier, followed by a bottle of something red and Portuguese. Things were off to a good start.
Needing sustenance to propel us onto Panache for cocktails later, we began ordering food – unsure how much of it we were likely to need given the “bites” concept. The plateau du fromage et charcuterie seemed as good a place as any to start, and for just over €20 we figured it would adequately line our stomachs. Within a few minutes, all the cheeses and meats were gone but I was still ravenous.
Second time around, we didn’t hold back: we asked for salmon blinis, fried shrimps, seabass ceviche, mini-burgers, bread – and two of everything, just to be on the safe side. I wasn’t keen on the dressing the ceviche came with – it tasted of the bitter pith of the lemon, rather than the fresh zest and juice – but the rest was all fine. There just wasn’t enough of it. The “bites” were exactly that – one bite, a single canapé, two or three if we were lucky. It was like being at a wedding reception but never getting to the main dinner part. Bearing in mind that these bites are €6 and upwards a pop, the bill racked up quickly without doing much to satiate our hunger.
In a last ditch attempt to ward off the inevitable hangover, we ordered a couple of portions of patatas bravas for just €4 each. When they came, they were potato wedges shaken with synthetic-tasting dried herbs and lacking salt. We cut our losses and moved onto Panache for a margarita.
As for my hangover… well, I’m 35 years old. Of course it was brutal!