Brasserie van Baerle in Amsterdam

We found Brasserie van Baerle in our DK Eyewitness guide to Amsterdam and trekked there on trams in the pouring rain for Sunday lunch. The effort was rewarded as we entered a foyer in a stairwell that could have been in someone’s home, where dripping coats and brollies were taken as we were ushered into the warmth of the dining room.
Our guide had mentioned that this place is a bit of an institution for Sunday brunch/lunch, and as we surveyed the room, it was obvious that we were the youngest (and most casually dressed) people there. Everyone else was older, chic (read pearls and twin-sets for the women; sports jackets and smart casual attire for the men) and exceptionally well-behaved, not that we’d expected them to be dancing on tables… but it was still a bit more demure than we’d anticipated.
As we dried off, our amiable waiter brought water, bread and menus. We thought we were ready to order, but the plate we’d thought was a starter taster apparently comes in 3 courses, so it’s three plates of different items from across the menu. We reconsidered and decided to do the starter plates plural instead of a starter and main. A wise choice, this turned into a wonderful gastronomic adventure.
An amuse bouche of sauerkraut soup in a shot glass, with a small slice of delicate blood sausage served on a sprinkling of roast lentils started us off nicely. Then the first plate of Neptune’s spoils arrived; a long spoon of salmon roe sat next to an oval of creme fraiche and a single, warm blini. The second plate, also fishy in its theme, consisted of a single claire fine oyster in its shell, a scallop set on a slice of roast zucchini and a slice of smoked salmon with a squeeze of lemon.
The third plate was meaty – a small heap of beef carpaccio on a tiny leaf of cos, a slice of veal on portobello mushroom, rillettes of beef stew and duck with a strangely marshmallowy texture and a few cornichons to add a zingy crunch, and lastly, slivers of rich foie gras piled onto a small slice of baguette. By the end of all three plates, our tastebuds had been on a veritable rollercoaster. We were fascinated by everything we’d tried yet no where near experiencing a stuffy, immovable feeling. We still had room for dessert.
This was served without delay; canneloni of white chocolate filled with a delicate mousse, crowned with amaretto-soaked cherries and an elegant swivel of brandy snap.
Would you believe that the entire meal came to less than 100 Euros? That included a glass each of Veuve Clicquot and coffee. With fantastic staff who made us feel at home (in spite of my bright red clogs which I was wearing as an experiment for Clogblogger) and a warm atmosphere, it’s easy to see why they recommend booking. I imagine that summertime at this brasserie must be even better, because they have one of those sought-after leafy terraces.
Check out my review of Brasserie van Baerle – I am Epicurienne – on Qype

16 Comments Add yours

  1. jimsmuse says:

    My latest crash diet scheme: three times per day, eat a 90 calorie energy bar while reading an epicurienne restaurant review…

    I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. 🙂


  2. epicurienne says:

    Hey there Jimsmuse, gosh, I know how you feel. I’m back to some green tea diet thingy after Too Much Food. Hope my bout of restaurant reviewing helps your energy bars taste better! DEFINITELY keep me posted!


  3. bonnieluria says:

    Epic- what I love about your blog is that I get to ingest ( mentally ) zillions of well described calories, and never gain an ounce, and travel mightily without having to take anti anxiety pills.

    Your descriptions are so vivid.

    I can sit here at my desk and reminisce about the times I used to travel to Europe for business and enjoy food I’d otherwise never have.
    Your blog restores some of that nostalgia for me.


  4. razzbuffnik says:

    Sounds lovely! Wish I was there.


  5. epicurienne says:

    Razz, you will be soon enough. Let’s just say that we’re researching European places for you to eat, although this one was for a treat so you might like to think of one before you and Engogirl go there.

    Bonnie – I think you and Jimsmuse are of the same mind. Now I think I should be, too. You should see me at the moment. My rear view is something to behold. But that’s our fault for loving food so much, I guess. It’s time for green tea.


  6. epicurienne says:

    Okay kids, I may be out of action again for a short while because I have a terrible neck-ache. It’s making me very short in the grain (heaven help anyone around me now). Will be writing again once I’ve had it checked out.


  7. Yo epic! Do you have a torticoli? Ouch! I hope you feel better. 😦

    Talking about roller coaster of flavors, last Tuesday, I enjoyed a nine-course meal at Abacus (one of the best restaurants in Dallas – chef Kent Rathbun), and frankly, I came near death… first with pleasure, than with sensory overload, then with stomach overload.
    I do not understand why you would put foie-gras as a 5th dish, Buffalo as a 6th, and venison as a 7th… Why not go light all the way?
    As individual courses: scrumptious.
    As a string of courses: death on a plate.


  8. epicurienne says:

    Yup, Torticoli central, moi. I’ve never had neck pain like it. Anti-inflammatory gel + extra strength ibuprofen still not helping. Might have to resort to more drastic methods to get this under control, read: guillotine.


  9. epicurienne says:

    Nat – Abacus sounds seriously dangerous. Buffalo as a 6th course? Unbelievable. Mind you, American portion sizes are huge so perhaps they’re used to feeding people who have um well larger appetites than you? If it helps, I can’t do 9 course anything and if a starter AND a main are involved, I often go for 2 starter sizes. I hate that just-about-to-pop feeling. It kinda ruins everything good that went before…


  10. razzbuffnik says:

    …. and here’s me thinking that a torticoli might be something too weird, like a cake of crap!


  11. epicurienne says:

    Sounds like cannoli or other edibles, I agree.
    Cake of crap? What? You make me laugh, Tomato Man.


  12. epicurienne says:

    Torte-e-coli, the cake with a legacy. One bite and you’ll never forget it.

    Nat – got some. Thanks. It’s brilliant, but whatever I’ve done ain’t responding for long to anything. Acupuncture’s next on the list. Right now I look like a martian doing a full-body swivel each time I need to turn my head. That alone makes me laugh, which shakes my neck, which makes it hurt. I stop laughing around 8pm when the pain turns me into a total beeyotch. Pity le pauvre Monsieur! He’s coping well, considering.


  13. w1kkp says:

    Torte-e-colis or not, I can’t get past ‘sauerkraut soup” and then sauerkraut soup with a slice of blood sausage…seriously, it would be worth taking me to one of these places and photographing my facial expressions.

    I hope your neck is better. I’ve never heard of this condition whether it’s a cake with a legacy or not.


  14. epicurienne says:

    Hi Pat, a torticoli is a neck strain. I’ve had a week of pain so far. It’s getting a bit better now though.
    As for photographing you with sauerkraut soup and blood sausage, I think it would be great fun. Can you wear your Spock ears, please?


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