DeClercqstraat) I groaned a bit. I wasn't sure that Amsterdam needed another cafe/food store featuring reclaimed wood, tiled walls and industrial styling - don't get me wrong, I LOVE this style, I guess I've just been hankering after something new.
However, I must take it all back. I have just had my first Bilder & De Clerq experience and I am completely nuts about it. First the styling. Yes, as I said, lots of places seem to have sprung up which have a similar stripped back feel but on closer inspection B&DC (sorry, I got lazy) has a cleaner and more classic feel than some of the other places I had been comparing it to. Well lit and with the kind of talented merchandising that makes you want to buy EVERYTHING. But, by their own design you are more likely to end up buying only specific items. The store has a number of tables, each laid out with all the ingredients for a particular meal, along with a simple (even for someone with terrible Dutch) recipe card so you can be sure you put it all together correctly. There's a great mix of meat and veggie choices, and also at least one dessert (I saw croissant bread 'n' butter pudding, mercy). Handily they also give you a wine suggestion to go with each of the meals. Their staff are also lovely, very helpful and obviously very proud of where they work - understandably!
After a long and mouth watering deliberation, I went for a salmon ravioli served with an asian influenced dressing, and also grabbed the recommended bottle of chardonnay. I had to improvise a little bit - replacing sesame oil with roasted sesame oil, and soy sauce with tamari but it seems to work just fine. Cooking was super easy - the pasta was already made (and apparently handmade, coming wrapped in a beautiful box - mmm gift wrapped carbs) and the rest of the instructions were simple to follow. I think I chose the easiest of the recipes on offer this week, so I will need to test myself with something more complex I think. End result was delicious and just the right amount, and the wine was also extremely drinkable. You can see below the recipe card picture, and my attempt...
It's not so cheap that you would do it every evening, dinner for two and a bottle of wine is EUR22, but I think I have just found my new way to cheer up an otherwise grey and distinctly 'meh' Tuesday evening.