‘So cute. With that red coat on you resemble a dwarf.’ A what? A dwarf? Yeah, let’s buy a coat that makes me even shorter than I am. Woman, what were you thinking? Bad, bad shop-assistant! An excellent example of someone who can read the mind of his customers is Henk Jongejans, the owner of Bakhuys, a bakery and cafe extraordinaire. I was checking out the desserts and got hold of a Bakhuys ‘liefje’ (‘sweetheart’). Henk looked at me – sparkling eyes, wild hair – and said: ‘This dessert with whipped cream, a caramel sauce and bits of stroopwafel (syrup waffle) is very soft. Ideal to start your day with.’ Now we’re talking! A dessert for breakfast? Superb suggestion. I took it home, ate it the next morning and loved it. I was amazed by the silky smoothness of this pudding and its pure taste of stroopwafel. The caramel sauce is as thick as you want it to be. Made to match with the refined flavour of the bavarois. I keep coming back for more, more of this sweetheart and of Bakhuys. More of its organic bread, baked in the enormous wood fired oven, its pastry and quiches – thumbs up for the Spanish one.
Stroopwafel bavarois, one portion, €2.75
Sarphatistraat 61, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 370 48 61
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 7am-9pm, Sunday 8am-3pm
Meet Billy! He’s the cute man in the kitchen. The one who chops and stir-fries with a smile. He used to be the cook of Little Thai Prince in Chinatown, but three years ago he opened his own restaurant and takeaway: Billy Thai. It’s hugely popular and this is why: excellent food, friendly service, a cosy decor. Orchids on the windowsill, candlelight, pictures of King Bhumibol, Queen Sirikit and our royal couple on the walls. Have a seat in Billy’s living room, inhale the scent of stir-fried basil, ginger and garlic and let him spoil you with a mix of duck, ginger and mushrooms, king prawns in garlic and pepper sauce or thalee samrod, prawns, squid and fish in a spicy, sweet-and-sour sauce. Get yourself a soup too: tom yam koeng. It has all the hot (red chillies) and sour (lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal) flavours you’d expect and much more. Love the prawns, coriander leaves and mushrooms with a bite. This soup brings back happy memories of the first time I had it. Bangkok, 1996, a food stall near Khao San Road. It was hot and humid, singer-starlet Sabrina sang Boys, Boys, Boys, the soup set my senses on fire. Love at first sight.
Billy Thai Tom yam koeng, one, €6.00
Prinsengracht 358, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 330 42 20
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 4pm-11pm