Amsterdam City Blog restaurants, shops, people and life in Amsterdam

19Apr/100

Lovely latte at Coffee@last

Coffee@last, windowI still owed you a review of Coffee@last, the new café opposite the World Fashion Centre. I came across them through Twitter (Go Twitter!) and visited them the day of the sample sale extravaganza at the WFC on April 10. According to their website, they serve the best coffee in town. Now, I love my coffee and that is rather an impressive boast, so I was curious to see how it would turn out.

They do, in fact have very good coffee. My mum ordered a latte, and I asked for a latte machiatto. Oddly, I found that they do not have a latte on the menu, only a latte machiatto. That's ok, I thought. I'd rather have fewer options if they are well executed, than a plethora of options that are badly done. When they made the coffees though, they both turned out to be lattes. Now that can't be right...

Maybe you guys don't really care about coffee. If that is the case, then take with you that they serve good coffee and a reasonable bagel at Coffee@last and leave this post to read another. If you do care about coffee and would like to know the difference between a latte and a latte machiatto, then read on.

A latte
A latte is more or less what the Dutch call a 'koffie verkeerd'. It is made with one shot of espresso in a mug sized glass and with milk, which is poured into the espresso. The foam (about a finger's width) is not ladled over the coffee with a spoon (as you often see it in cafes), it is poured with the milk. A barista lightly clinks the milk jar on the rim of the glass to pour the foam while pouring the milk.

Steaming and foaming milk is not as easy as it looks. Getting the consistency right is really an artform. Pouring the milk and the foam is too, you can make apples, hearts, fern leaves and even swans and indian faces after you clink your jar, if the consistency is right. The very least you can do, however, is strive to get the same amount of foam on all your lattes, as it determines how strong the coffee will be. More milk, less foam, makes for a weaker coffee. More foam, less milk makes for a stronger latte.

A latte machiatto
A latte machiatto may seem the same as a latte: a little bit of coffee and a lot of milk, but it has several differences. Machiatto means 'spotted'. One can have an espresso machiatto (espresso spotted with milk) or a latte machiatto (milk spotted with espresso). For a latte machiatto one steams the milk first. It is poured into a large glass (a size bigger than mug sized) and then left to its own devices for a short amount of time.

During this time the milk and the foam will settle, leaving a clear line between the two, and the barista can make his shot of espresso (only one shot of espresso for a big glass of milk). Once the shot of espresso is ready, it is slowly poured into the milk. Because of the temperature difference between the milk, the foam and the espresso, the espresso settles elegantly between the two layers, creating the look that is typical of a good latte machiatto. Three layers: milk, espresso and foam.

So: bigger glass, more milk, three layers, spotted.

What I got, was a latte, plain and simple. Espresso went into the glass first (one shot in mug sized glass) and the milk was poured over. It makes no sense to put 'latte machiatto' on the menu when it is not that. The explanation of the woman behind the counter was, that this is how they are taught to make coffees by their supplier. And furthermore, that I am a barista and therefore may know the difference, but that ordinary people do not.

That may well be, but if you boast to have the best coffee in town, shouldn't the nomenclature be correct as well? Don't you just want to do it right? I would.

I know I'm a stickler when it comes to coffee. I know the woman at Coffee @last was partly right, that this is because I have been working as a barista for the past 8 months. I find that good coffee, really good, wellmade coffee is very hard to come by. To be fair: Coffee@last makes it into the top 3.

Vibiemme machine at Coffee@last

Vibiemme machine at Coffee@last

Beautiful machine
Anyway. All this technical talk aside. The taste of the coffee was good. This is important. It means they have good beans, it means that they do not burn the coffee, it means that they have a beautiful machine (Vibiemme), that is operated with love and good taste.

The bagel with carpaccio was a little dry, but after I got some extra olive oil drizzled over it, it was alright. I'm very sure I will come back here next time there is a sample sale. If not for the dry bagel, or the nonexistent latte machiatto, then surely for a nice latte.

reading table and bookcase at Coffee@lastCoffee@last has a reading table with a bookcase that you can trade books with. They have lunch, muffins and pies and offer free wifi to boot. In the afternoon the terrace outside basks in the sun.

Coffee@last
Koningin Wilhelminaplein 60-62
1062 KS Amsterdam

www.coffeeatlast.nl

6Apr/101

Excellent coffee at Dish in Amsterdam Oud West

Excellent latte at DishAs I was riding my bike over the Overtoom, underway from the direction of the Surinameplein towards the centre of Amsterdam, I came across Dish Global Kitchen, on the corner of the Gerard Brandtstraat and the Overtoom. Everything about this place, from the slogan on the window ("All consensus is as difficult as it is rare") to the comfortably kind guy behind the counter to the breezy interior breathes funky, friendly fun.

They offer sandwiches on organic bread, topped with homemade ingredients, as organic as possible. There are pies, soups, quiches and salads, as well as freshly pressed juices and coffee made with love.

I order a latte and a four layer sandwich and sit outside in the sun. The busy Overtoom is pulsating with traffic right beside me, but the Vondelpark is right at the end of this little street, the streetsign on the corner opposite my seat is covered in ivy. I am digging this spot.

Excellent latte
The latte turns out to be excellent. It is not hot, but is sincerely good. I like my latte made with an espresso, not burnt, not too weak and definitely without coffee grind. This is a great example of the kind of coffee I like, its taste is deep and gorgeous. The barista with the casual attire and the big head of afro curls knows his stuff.

He tells me the beans are imported straight from Italy, the brand is called Trucillo. That's a name I want to remember. Their machine looks like it's from another century. It's got big levers and it makes my inner barista itch to find out how to make espresso with it.

Four layer delight sandwich at Dish Global Kitchen

Four layer delight sandwich at Dish Global Kitchen

The Four Layer Delight sandwich is a letdown though. It sounded like a variation on a club sandwich: thin slices of chicken breast, bacon, onions and cheese combined with mustard mayo, lettuce, tomato and cucumber.

But the mustard mayonaise tastes nothing like mayonaise, only mustard. Sharp, overpowering, dominating mustard. The onions are the ready-fried kind that come out of a jar. The chicken is a little dry and all in all, the ingredients don't come together on the plate. This is not a sandwich and it is sadly far from a delight.

I eat the thing because I've paid for it and because I will go hungry if I don't, but if it were free, I would leave it and pick something else. Still, eventhough the sandwich is nothing to write home about, the seating in the sun, the nice people, the good atmosphere and the great coffee are well worth remembering Dish for.

Free wifi
Dish offers free wifi and has a reading table in the back. There's a kid's table with toys and children's books and a seat that will accommodate a child at a table. Prices (E2,20 for the latte and E5,80 for the sandwich) are reasonable.

dish global kitchen

"All consensus is as difficult as it is rare"

edit: The homemade brownie is very sweet, but chockfull of chocolate and walnuts and therefore just the way I like it. The pearjuice is the organic kind from Olmenhorst. Excellent choice.

Dish Global Kitchen
Overtoom 255
1054 HW Amsterdam
www.dishglobalkitchen.nl

29Mar/100

Sandwiches at Homemade in Amsterdam

Homemade in the centre of Amsterdam

Since Unlimited Delicious was closed, we forewent our original plan of chocolate, coffee and pie on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, we ended up at Homemade near the Koningsplein in the centre of Amsterdam, after we ran our errands and took a stroll through the centre. Homemade is one of our favourite new lunchplaces.

The coffee is ok here, the staff usually friendly and the atmosphere is homey, with natural materials like bamboo referring to the organic nature of the fare. And the fare, now thát is the major reason for going to Homemade. The sandwiches are delicious and, as the name of the place says, everything is homemade.

The choice in sandwiches varies from beef carpaccio with parmesan cheese, pine kernels, rocket and homemade truffle mayonaise (to die for), to wild salmon with avocado, cucumber, red onion and homemade wasabi ricotta cream. Which bread is used for which sandwich seems to depend on the chef's whimsy, but to be honest, I've never had a disappointing sandwich here yet.

Most sandwiches also come as wrap and besides sandwiches and wraps they also serve salads and soups. Homemade strives to use only organic ingredients and tries to use ecofriendly or biodegradable materials, for instance in their takeaway packaging.

Sandwiches at Homemade in Amsterdam

Buffalo mozzarella and Club Chicken sandwich at Homemade in Amsterdam

This time Levi and I opted for the Club Chicken and the Buffalo Mozzarella. In true Belle-and-Levi style, we split our sandwiches and shared. The mozzarella sandwich was the more subtle, with thick slices of tasty, nutty bread and a lovely homemade basil pesto. The Club Chicken was a little unbalanced, as there was a little too much old cheese on the bottom half. But once I mostly removed the almost spicy cheese, the wonderful, delicate chicken flavour was much better enjoyed.

I love this place, for the great food, the warm atmosphere, their organic ambitions, for the nice waiting staff and for their great location, in the middle of Amsterdam.

Homemade has a reading table, free wifi and a few small tables outside on the curb. They also offer a pick-up service: call your order in and the time when you would like to pick it up, and they make sure it is ready for you.

Homemade
Singel 447
1012 WP Amsterdam

www.homemadeshop.nl