A thick fog sat heavily on the water, surrounding the ferry and our fellow, silent passengers, all of whom seemed wrapped for stormy seas in woolen jumpers and oilskins. Nary a word was spoken, and I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d stumbled into the Dutch version of The Killing, with something dark and hurty just around the next corner.
Mercifully, the short and free commuter journey merely deposited us onto the bank opposite, and, once the haar had cleared, we could find our way to one of Amsterdam’s most striking modern architectural achievements, the EYE Film Institute.
Looking a bit like something Captain Kirk might have double parked while he nipped in for some milk, it’s a stunning home to all things film, with a dedicated film library and a rolling series of exhibitions. It’s worth the journey purely for the stunning design – inside Labyrinth-style corridors empty you out on to levels above (or below) the one you started on, the sleek wood-and-stone surrounds are lit up by the giant windows that look out to to the water.
Its restaurant is at its centre, with tables placed as if on one giant staircase so all can make the most of the view. The menu is both modern and traditional (perhaps a nod to the variety of films they show here); croquettes or herring with onion and gherkins or homemade cakes made by ‘Kuyt’ or ‘Lanksroon’ – the traditional apple cake was delicious, served with fresh mint tea and honey. For those with bigger appetites to sate, there were extravagant Breton white bean soups or smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, all ready to be matched by a large selection of wines or dark, Dutch beers.
As with many places in Amsterdam, the service was efficient but somewhat cool, though they seemed more used to faltering tourists here than elsewhere. The location, interiors and 180 degree views across the water make this a trip worth making – and the food’s not too bad, either.
Price: €3.25 (tosti) – €7.50 (smoked salmon sandwich).