Tag Archives: lunch

EYE, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

IMG_5209A 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).

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Zazus Kitchen, Gloucester Road, Bristol

20130821-220004.jpgZazus has been a Bristol regular for a few years now; for a time, they moved restlessly from area to area, not quite content in their pokier spaces in Stokes Croft or Clifton village. Finally they’ve settled in the northern quarter of Gloucester Road and it seems a perfect match: as couples move towards Horfield in search of a strip of grass and space for a toddler, ZaZus offers a family friendly space around the corner with just the right amount of street cred to keep their friends coming, too.

Toby stays at the helm, moving around the floor like a foodie, moody rock star, but with time to greet familiar faces. The rest of his staff are good looking and efficient, though less warm in the bustle of a busy Saturday service. And they are busy – it doesn’t take long for the wooden tables to be filled, and even in gloomier climes the outdoor area will fill. There’s a distressed, Scandinavian feel to the surroundings with wooden floors and cool tones, there’s modern art on the walls and an electro soundtrack playing in the background. As you’d expect from the crowd, there are crayons, high chairs and stickers books to keep small ones entertained – and noise. Lots and lots of noise.

The food, however, is dependably well-sourced, using quality ingredients from largely local sources. Egg fans are well served: the Egg Poacher’s chorizo and black pudding hash with poached eggs and hollandaise were declared “awesome”, while you can have them served every which way elsewhere on the menu. I was less impressed with the veggie breakfast – the bubble and squeak was slightly bitter, the spinach a little too well-cooked – but in fairness my own ovaphobia had it’s part to play here. Their coffee, however, is excellent.

Zazus’s has a loyal following and it’s serves it’s neighbourhood well. Perhaps in a few years’ time we’ll be back with our own bundle of joy in tow; for now, I’ll leave the colouring-in books for someone else to enjoy.

Price: from £3.50 (bacon bap) to £7.50 (chorizo and black pudding hash).

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