Food

Skyybar @ Westcord Fashion Hotel

skyybar bar

 

Last weekend, me (Stephanie) and my sister celebrated our birthday at the Skyybar of the Westcord Fashion Hotel in Amsterdam.

The Westcord Fashion Hotel is located in the westside of the city and is easy to reach by tram, bus and car (parking fee). The Skyybar is on the 10th floor of the hotel. It is closed (not open-air), fashionable with mostly dark colors and shiny stuff and of course you get a nice view of the beautiful city of Amsterdam.

Skyybar westcord fashion hotel lounge

Skyybar lamp

First impression

When you enter the first things you’ll notice is the bar and the mannequins everywhere, making it feel like you’re entering a Paris catwalk show. The Skyybar is not that big, so it actually feels cosy. On the right side there is a lounge with beautiful lights on the ceiling, which distinguishes the Skyybar from any other bars as you actually get a feeling that you’re clubbing. From 10 pm there is even a DJ on site. The Skyybar looks beautiful and classy and gives honor to it’s hotel’s name. You can order drinks, cocktails and bites like sushi. Although not so exclusive like other (open-air) sky bars, it is a nice place to hang out and have some drinks.

Skyybar Fashion hotel bar

Skyybar fashion hotel lounge

Party

The theme of our party was… tadaa… “This City of Gold”! and believe it or not my sister came up with it. The gold did fit the whole interior of the bar which was mostly black and velvet.

For a party from 10-35 people, you can reserve the lounge upstairs and that’s what we did. The lounge covers half of the bar, so you can still see the bar from above and enjoy the music. The lounge looks nice and fashionable like the rest of the bar. They say it is for max 35 people, but i’m pretty sure 50 people would fit too. We definitely invited more than 35 people. You don’t have to pay to reserve the lounge, but there is a minimal spending limit of 500 euro’s, which is not hard to spend when you invite so many people.

The beers and wine aren’t very expensive, around 3 euro’s. Liquor on the other hand was much more expensive, but normal for Amsterdam (7 euro’s). We pre-ordered some bites, like vegetable egg rolls, mini croquettes, sushi and potato wedges. The egg rolls, croquettes and potato wedges were delicious. The sushi was too, but there were some complaints that they fell apart easily. We also pre-ordered a birthday cake. This was quite expensive, costing 5 euro’s per person. We ordered a small cake as no one really wants to eat cake anyway. You can order whatever flavour cake you like. We decided to go for the whipped cream-flavour, which was delicious!

Skyybar wine

 

Skyybar fashion hotel sushi

With the reservation, we also got our personal waiters/waitresses. But don’t expect them to be there all the time when it’s busy, which is too bad.

The Skyybar is open from 5 pm to 2 am and you can decided from what time you want to reserve the lounge area. We decided to start the party at 8 pm. From 10 pm there is a DJ and the dancing can start. And because it is your own private lounge, no stranger will be there to annoy you. Funny to say, it did made me feel somewhat special to say “Sorry, private party”… 😉 lol

Skyybar fashion hotel

Overall impression

The Skyybar is a nice place to have some drinks with friends, and it is great for a party and for an affordable price. The bar and lounge look classy, food and drinks are good and there is a DJ, so you can also dance if you want. The decor is impressive and most guests couldn’t resist taking lots of beautiful pictures. The location is a bit of the city center but not far away and easy to reach. Downfall was the service which could have been better if maybe they had more personnel. But still, that couldn’t ruin the fun with my dearest friends and family. It was an amazing night. One not quickly to be forgotten, for sure.

 Skyybar sunsetSkyybar gold party

Kop van Jut

kop van jut amsterdam leidseplein hightea 3

We had a high tea at the “Kop van Jut”-restaurant. It literally means “the head of Jut”. De Kop van Jut is located at the popular and touristic Leidseplein. To be honest, I usually don’t go to the restaurants in touristic places,  because the quality is usually bad. But the Dutch restaurants in the Leidseplein are actually quite good. De Kop van Jut is one of these typical Dutch restaurants. It is small, the interior is brown and sober. What makes it not typical Dutch is the service, because they have nice and helpful personnel.

The high tea normally costs 17, 50 euro’s, so it is quite a good price. The time is from 2:30 pm to 5 pm. For this price you get a lot of tea in cute tea pots and tea cups and a wide variety of tea, goat cheese croquette from grandma Bob, roasted tomato and paprika soup, quiche, scones with fruitjam and clotted cream, banana bread, cream puffs, chocolate nut cake and buttercream cookies.

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My opinion:

You get enough bites for the price. All the food was vegetarian, so there was no hassel with people who didn’t eat meat or a specific kind of meat. I liked the tomato paprika soup, but because it was served together with the rest of the food it was already cold when i drank it. The goat cheese croquette is original as i don’t see that often in high tea’s. The quiche was very tasteful. The scones and banana bread were fine.

Overall:

The location of the restaurant is great and is has a typical Dutch vibe without the typical Dutch service. Even though, our reservation was only until 5 pm, they didn’t throw us out. The Dutch menu looked nice though we haven’t tried it. The high tea is affordable and good for the price. Downfall is that it some of the food were not home made. This restaurant is good for a nice diner with Dutch food or a quick high tea with friends.

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U6

U6 Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam salmon

The ‘Utrechtsestraat’ is a street in Amsterdam with nice boutiques and restaurants. It’s near the well known Rembrandt Square, the second city area where the nightlife happens. U6 is a cozy restaurant with a French and International Cuisine. Because it’s near the Rembrandt Square, the restaurant is  quite findable  for tourists. The staff is from different international backgrounds like Spain and Turkey. There is a regular menu, but also the famous chef’s 3 Course Menu. This menu costs € 22,50.

If you choose a 3 Course Menu, there are various choices of vegetarian, meat and fish dishes. For the starter we choose the puff pastry with chopped salmon, onions and lettuce. The puff pastry dough was very light and crispy which matched with the salmon pretty well.

Here are 3 options for the main course:

U6 Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam Shrimp Noodles
Sweet sour noodles with shrimp and broccoli

 

U6 Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam Sea Bass
Nile perch with Parma ham and mashed potatoes

 

U6 Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam Pork medallions
Pork medallions with mushroom sauce

 

And here are some desserts!

U6 Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam Creme Brulee
Crème brûlée

 

U6 Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam Cheesecake
Strawberry Cheesecake

 

U6 Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam Strawberry
Red fruits lattice pie

 

What we thought about U6: The location is ideal because it’s in the center. Whether you finished your shopping spree in Amsterdam or going to a club after dinner and drinks, the restaurant is close to pretty much everything you need. The noodles main course were not our favorite because the sauce was a bit too sweet. The other dishes were really nice, especially the nile perch with creamy mashed potatoes. The staff were warm, friendly and patient. Last but not least 22,50 EUR for 3 courses is not expensive at all!

U6 Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam 2

Recipe: Salad with Parma Ham, Goat Cheese and Dates

Salad Parma Ham Goat Chees Dates Spinach

This delicious salad is ready between 5 and 10 minutes! Just mix the ingredients described below, a child can do the laundry (Dutch saying means: It’s too damn easy!). This great recipe comes from Zinaida, a good friend of mine. She even got her little daughter of 4 enjoying vegatables by serving this salad. The slightly salty flavour of Parma ham and sweet dates gives the perfect flavor.  Suggestion: If you don’t eat  or like pork, switch the Parma ham with beef carpaccio to keep the mixture of salt and sweet.

Ingredients:

  • For the salad
  • Parma Ham ( 5 slices)
  • Leaf lettuce with baby spinach (80 gram)
  • Goat Cheese with honey (125 gram)
  • Sliced black olives
  • 5 Medjool dates
  • Spring onions
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • For the vinaigrette
  • Caesar Salad dressing

Method:

Garnish a big bowl with the lettuce and spinach, sliced cherry tomatoes, Parma ham and black olives. Deseed the dates and chop them into half. Slice the goat cheese in small pieces. Roast the pine nuts and  arrange everything in the bowl. Pour over the dressing and serve. Enjoy!

FOOD: DIM SUM DISHES (PART 2)

Dim Sum Food 5

It´s time for Dim Sum Dishes Part 2! If you haven´t read the first part yet (with more explanation about Dim Sum and the 7 first dishes), click here.

Today 4 new dishes to read about:

Dim Sum food 4 Dim Sum Food 3

Custard bun 奶黃包 (nǎihuáng bāo)
These buns are filled with a mix of butter, eggs and custard, instantly reminding me of good days in Singapore or Taiwan when I’m eating them. Also a good dim sum dish for friends  to start, who haven’t eaten dim sum before.

Dim Sum Food 2

Deep fried shrimp dumplings   水饺 (Sui Kau)
This is also a typical Cantonese Dim Sum dish, the dumplings can be deep-fried als you can see here but also cooked and served with soup. I love dumplings most when they are served with noodle soup or pan fried. The dumplings are filled with shrimps, meat, bamboo and other vegetables.

Dim Sum Food 6

Beef shu mai dumplings  牛焼売 (xíu mại)
These shu mai dumplings were already served during the Qing Dynasty and there are various ways to make shu mai dumplings. This variant is the beef shu mai and they are steamed in bamboo baskets before served. A good alternative when you don’t want to eat the original shu mai with pork.

Dim Sum Food 1

Steamed chicken and shiitake buns 鸡仔包
Shiitake is a type of mushroom and combined with chicken in a soft white bun, It will taste delicious! These buns are actually easy to make, as long as you have the right flour to use. If you use the regular flour from the supermarket, the bun itself won’t have the same soft texture and will turn out to be more yellowish instead of white.

Food: Dim Sum Dishes (part 1)

dimsum collage 2

Dim Sum (點心) are small Chinese dishes that you could eat in the afternoon. It doesn’t really matter which time in the afternoon you start and drink Chinese tea while eating. A lot of the dishes are from the Cantonese Kitchen and that’s why we call Dim Sum,  Yum Cha as well, which is the Cantonese pronunciation. Literally it means: Drinking Tea. I like to compare  Dim Sum with the British High Tea (also tea with good food) and Tapas (a lot of yummy food). A lot of the dishes are steamed in bamboo baskets.

When I was little I rather drink Cola during Dim Sum, but my mum always insisted that I should drink the healthy tea instead. She would say that drinking this tea would ensure me a smooth skin, so I gladly drink the tea instead of the cola. Actually my mum always did this when I didn’t want to eat or drink something and it helped on short term, because I thought having a smooth skin was important (also as an 8-year old). And the long term effect is that I’m grateful that she pushed me eating and trying new food and drinks. Now I love to eat food from different cultures and trying everything new instead of sticking to the same food the rest of my life.

But let’s get back to why we drink tea with Dim Sum:  This tradition is so old, travelers used to go to Teahouses during their travel on the Silk Road. When people discovered that tea was good for digestion, teahouses offered a lot of different snacks to eat while drinking tea! Tea that are mostly served are: Chrysanthemum tea, Green tea, Oolong Tea and Bo-lei tea.

Because there are so many dishes for Dim Sum, I thought it would be fun to write about some of them now and then. The first seven dished I’ve consumed yesterday will be the first on the list:

dimsum collage

First from left: Radish Cake 蘿蔔糕 (Lo Baak Gou)
Radish Cake is on top of my list when I’m ordering from Dim Sum courts. I love the mix of shredded radish and rice flour. The cake is cut into squares and in Singapore we call this dish Carrot Cake. The difference between the Cantonese variant and the Singaporean one is that in Singapore most of the time the pan fried cake has been cut in small pieces instead of the bigger square. I would like to put a recipe for this radish cake on the blog when I’m trying to make one of these!

Middle:  Zhaliang 炸兩
I eat a lot of youtiao, which is fried dough in Sout East Asia. This dim sum dish is also the same fried dough but with a layer of rice noodle roll around it. Served with soy sauce, we almost never skip this dish during Dim Sum.

Right: Fried pastry with porkmeat inside
Children especially love this dish, simple but tasty, don’t have much more to add on this one.

dimsum5

Xiao Long Bao 小籠包
Steamed little buns with minced crabmeat and soup inside. They are a kind of dumplings but because there is soup inside, you need to slowly bite a small piece out of the dumpling and suck the soup out of it! Doesn’t sound that attractive right, but just try it!

dimsum7

Rice noodle rolls 豬腸粉 (chee cheong fun)
We call this dish normally ha cheung, most of the time we eat this with shrimps and roasted pork meat. Can’t skip this dish neither,  the thin rolls are made of rice noodles and it will be tastier when the soy souce is  poured over the rolls.

dimsum4

Beef stomach: 牛肚 (Niudu)
Beef stomach is smooth and a bit tough to eat sometimes, but prepared in a dim sum dish, the stomach is cut in tiny pieces and easy to consume. There’s always someone in the group during Dim Sum who is going to order this dish, but personally I don’t eat it that much.

dimsum3

Fried Shrimp and mango rolls
I never eaten this dish in other Dim Sum restaurants… but when I saw this was offered the first time, I defintely wanted to try it. The mix of mango and shrimp is a good one, I can recommend this dish whenever you are in restaurants which serve the mango+shrimp dish.

This was Dim Sum Dishes Part 1, hope it was useful 🙂

Little Buddha Restaurant and Lounge

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I went to eat at Little Buddha this weekend. Little Buddha is an Asian fusion Restaurant and Lounge located in the touristic party hotspot Leidseplein.

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We had the All-you-can-eat buffet. You can choose out of 2 soups, 2 sushi plates with either containing 10 sushi’s, the fish of the day, orange chicken, Mongolian beef, egg rolls, steamed rice, noodles and mixed vegetables. My first order was the egg rolls served with sweet chili sauce and the fish of the day, which was cod. The egg rolls were okay, not good because it contained coriander, which does not resemble the authentic Asian egg roll recipe. The cod was tender and the sauce spicy. For my second course, I ordered the Nigiri and Maki rolls platter. These tasted very good and the fish was fresh. Afterwards, I had the orange chicken with the noodles and coconut soup. The orange chicken tasted very good. It is actually my favorite at Little Buddha. I even make it at home sometimes. It’s very delicious and easy to make. The noodles tasted good. For dessert, I had the pineapple cheesecake. I could not taste the pineapple; nevertheless it was a great ending of a fun meal.

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Dining at Little Buddha is a nice experience. The decoration is beautiful, the music not loud and relaxing. Does it have the best food in town? Probably not. It is a good place to have some cocktails (cost around 13 euros) with friends before going out or a small gathering or just making beautiful pictures. The one weak spot of Little Buddha is the service. Though the waiters and waitresses were very friendly, but sometimes our orders were given twice and do not expect to get out quickly as it took us 15 minutes to get our bill and another 15 to get our money back.

Overall, it was a nice experience. Definitely worth seeing in Amsterdam.

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