I decided I was going to splash out a bit and treat myself to dinner. I have been living in the Jordaan, in the West of Amsterdam, for nearly seven years and am ashamed to say that I’ve hardly tried any of the restaurants or cafés in the area, because I rarely eat out these days. So I thought it would be nice for once to change the routine and try the local fare. I wanted to go somewhere close by and as I was browsing through the internet, searching for somewhere to go, I came across Café Proust. It looked like a cosy place to eat from the photos on their website and could walk there in ten minutes.
With the snow fresh on the ground and the temperature below freezing point, I didn’t want to chance cycling there, so I walked. I’m sure the café’s very busy during market days but this evening it was quiet. Well, it was a Tuesday night and the cold night would keep any mortal in hibernation!
It’s a small café. It holds I guess, about thirty diners when full, but even though there were only two customers sitting at opposite ends of the bar when I walked in, there was still a cosy atmosphere in there. I sat down at one of the tables near the back and within a few seconds, the guy behind the bar came over to ask me if I wanted something to drink and brought a menu. I ordered an iced-tea and browsed through the menu. This is a classic Dutch eetcafé (café-diner) with a good selection of dishes ranging from salads, soups and ravioli, to steak, sole, burgers, vegetarian lasagne and desserts, all good value for money. The main courses range in price between 12.50€ and 17.00€. They also had a soup of the day and a daily special, which today was ravioli with spinach and cheese.
The table to my left had one of those well-burned big candles where the candle wax had melted all down one side, giving you the impression it had just had a stroke! The lighting was a bit bright at the start, but after a short while, the lights were dimmed and created a warm atmosphere. Within a few minutes, an English couple came and sat at a table nearer the bar, followed by two more people, who were speaking French to each other and sat down in another corner of the café.
I decided to have the tomato soup and the pork medallions, wrapped in bacon, with seasonal vegetables and fries. I didn’t have to wait too long for the soup, which was thick, hot and didn’t taste like it came out of a packet. It was served with extremely fresh Turkish bread. The pork dish was well presented, with two big chunks of rounded pork, wrapped in bacon, on a bed of broccoli, carrots and onions. It was surrounded by a mustard/pepper sauce. The fries came separately, with its usual portion of mayonnaise alongside. I enjoyed it. The pork was a little bit pink for me but it was juicy. The vegetables had a good bite to them and the sauce was the thing that topped it off for me. I like mustard-based sauces and this was perfect, not too spicy on the tongue. All in all, it was a very good meal and I ate nearly every single morsel of it, apart from one chunk of pink pork.
The English couple, who were joined by their daughter, decided to order something to eat too. The lady had dietary requirements, gluten-free, from what I could hear from their conversation and the chef even came out and said it was no problem, they would be able to cook her meal the way she requested. The guy who served us was very friendly and efficient and I like that. I’ve been back there since and the food and service was just as good as the first time. So I would definitely recommend it and would go back there again. Noordermarkt 4, Amsterdam.www.proust.nl