Amsterdam 2016: Last Evening

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The last evening in a favourite place on holiday should be filled with favourite things. We all like a good ending so for me, a last evening isn’t a time to try out new places but to go back to the best I know. There was no contest. I’d known exactly where I’d go on my last night even before I arrived! Favourites places are so subjective: my kind of favourite isn’t necessarily going to be yours but if you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know the kind of places I like. I like informal; I’m more cafe society than high-end luxury and formality. This is partly money – I can’t afford very posh restaurants, other than maybe as an occasional treat. But more than that, I like relaxed places with a gentle happy buzz. But of course I also want to eat great food.

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I’ve written about De Reiger Cafe-Restaurant before. It embodies all that is good about the term ‘gastro pub’ – top quality restaurant food in a relaxed pub-like atmosphere.

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I just love the place and definitely wanted to make it back there this trip so saved it for the end. I even managed to get my ‘usual’ window table looking out on to the Jordaan world outside.

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I chose a gorgeous duck confit terrine served with toasted brioche to begin.

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My main was fabulous but less adventurous as it was exactly what I had a year ago. Despite some tempting specials offered, the venison with red cabbage, a baked pear and duchesse potato was too good to resist.

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I chose the special dessert of chocolate and banana cake with creme anglaise to finish. The cake was wonderfully light and tasty and it was so prettily presented.

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It was a leisurely meal. I’d eaten quite early and was in no hurry. I’ve noticed people do eat early here and the restaurants open early; De Reiger at 5pm. When I eventually left I made my way through familiar back streets of the Jordaan to the only place I could go to next.

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My daughter Nicola and I discovered Cafe Chris two years ago by chance, cutting through back streets towards our hotel after dinner on our first night. We peered inside. Someone came out and told us it was very good. So we went in. Although I rarely drink gin at home, I love to drink the Dutch oude – old – variety as a digestif whenever I’m in Amsterdam. It’s always served in a small liqueur glass and filled right to the brim. You can’t pick the glass up at first and have to lean forward to sip. Not ladylike at all!

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Cafe Chris opened in 1624 making it the oldest cafe-bar in the Jordaan and one of the oldest in the whole of Amsterdam. It’s a wonderful little bar full of lively characters. It’s just the most brilliant place to end an evening – especially on my last night of this trip.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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