Brunch. It’s not politics, but it does get people talking with a degree of passion. A few years ago that wasn’t the case, with new-arrivals to the Netherlands’ capital discovering that weekend breakfasts were largely unloved if you weren’t cooking them yourself at home. Choice was confined to croissants or an uitsmijter (a staple of ham and fried egg on a slice of bread) and the concept and culture associated with a good brunch – getting together with loved ones to chat about… politics for example – was essentially non-existent. But then it started to change.
Greenwoods started the ball rolling aeons ago with a high tea, but scones and jam are far away from the chow downs the western hemisphere craves on a Saturday or Sunday morning. So it took a while for Amsterdam to kick into gear but now joining Greenwoods on the list of desirable feasteries is G’s, Staring at Jacob, Little Collins, Drover’s Dog… and the spotlight of this post, Bakers & Roasters. Someone eventually lit the foodie fuse, and the bloody mary-shaped firework exploded soon after.
That list contains the esteemed stalwarts of city breakfasts but the list is longer with Paper Planes, Metropolitain, Dignita, Coffee & Coconuts and Omelegg all riding high or highest in the charts depending on their patrons proximity and personal tastes.
Such is the feverish demand for their respective offerings that several have already laid their napkins in other parts of town with second or third establishments (Drover’s Dog is ahead in the tally). Their loyal mimosa-quaffing fanbases are abundant and insatiable.
We’re not looking for a ‘winner’ from our list because they’re all deserving of their successes, but Bakers & Roasters is worth singling out for a few reasons. The most succinct of which is that no one ever seems to have a less-than-glowing string of adjectives to describe it.
During our last visit to the original Bakers & Roasters in de Pijp, our group was discussing its phenomenal reputation whilst waiting to be seated (the customary no-reservation policy applies here). One of our delegation proffered that, indeed, nowhere else has such an evangelical customer base when, right on cue, an American tourist on her way out turned to us and said, ‘absolutely the best breakfast I’ve ever eaten’.
The look in her eyes corroborated her story. If we’d eaten already we may have had enough wits about us to ask what exactly she’d been so satisfied by, but it didn’t matter. This was certainly not our first trip; we already knew she was right.
So what makes the adjectives flow so freely?
First and foremost is the food itself. There’s an imaginative menu of large plates, created to please everyone regardless of dietary requirement or demand. Many dishes stay all year but there’s a few that get swapped for new dishes or old favourites, to the delight (or chagrin) of patrons who’ve been thinking about their ultimate breakfast all week. The cake selection is also well above average and eyeballs you from the counter while you wait. Maybe I’ll have a slice for dessert, you ponder. You won’t. You won’t have room.
On the drinks front there’s ample choice. Caffeine cravings will be satisfied with well-made cups of the usual suspects, but there’s also a helpfully large list of teas, juices, milkshakes and cocktails to start the new day right or soothe you from the night before.
Time is money, so the service is undoubtedly brisk, but it’s always friendly and you’re never made to feel like you’ve outstayed your welcome. The product of their turnover ambitions is actually to your advantage, giving you attentive staff who seem to care that you’ve chosen to eat there, and they never leave you waiting for anything for long. In short, there are places half this busy that offer a quarter of the service.
The final indelible point that garners such a loyal customer base is this; consistency. Bakers & Roasters binds the whole experience together reliably and repeatedly for anyone who walks through its doors. The only trade-off is that you’ll probably need to wait an hour to get a table but in the meantime they’ll gladly serve you a coffee, or you can walk around the neighbourhood to take your mind off your rumbling tummy until it’s time to dine.
This vibrant Kiwi/Brazilian restaurant just entered its fourth year without signs of letting its crown slip. We’ll keep going back because it’s worth the wait, and it was worth waiting for.
|Booking||Walk-ins only, so get there before your hunger does|
|Groups||More the merrier, but be prepared to wait|