Brunch – an almost exclusive weekend meal where you spend the entire day eating and drinking. Which is a valid choice of activity for any weekend. However, brunch in Bahrain isn’t the brunch we know and love. Seems brunch food is lost in Bahrain. It’s more of a Linner (Lunch-Dinner) than a brunch. So when a choice comes between breakfast or brunch, we tend to always choose breakfast.
Which is exactly what we did when we called Cafe Amsterdam, one Saturday morning, and were given this very choice. Cafe Amsterdam is one of the newer kids on the block. Opened in the middle of 2014, sharing outdoor venue space with the fantastic La Vinoteca Barcelona, Cafe Amsterdam is a slightly different beast. Same impeccable high standards, but things just feel a little bit lighter. More casual.
Well, we had plenty of stuff to get done that day, brunch could wait. Also, BD26++? A bit steep for us!
Right, onto the food.
Jaina’s Cafe Amsterdam Experience
I was craving some real sausages, so I went for the full on pork version of Cafe Amsterdam’s Full English Breakfast. What do you get in that? Two home-made sausages, baked beans, bacon, tomato, black pudding, eggs made your way (I chose over-easy) and some toast. All for 4.1BHD.
Definitely what I’d class as a full English breakfast. Mostly down to those sausages. They were HUGE. I’m not used to breakfast sausages quite like that. Don’t get me wrong – they were incredibly tasty. Very sage-y. Which I appreciate. The pork flavour was a little lost. And they were a touch dry and crumbly, rather than juicy.
I was pretty excited about having some black pudding – it’s been a very long time. Cafe Amsterdam’s black pudding was okay. I know it’s a very rich, fatty food item, but I found Cafe Amsterdam’s black pudding exceptionally greasy. Not a fan.
You’ll read about Anish’s experience with the eggs in his breakfast just below. My eggs? Well, they were just north of over-easy. There’s no better experience than getting a couple of over-easy fried eggs and you poke the yoke which just comes flowing out all over your plate. So imagine my disappointment when I gave my yolks a poke and they were solid.
Then there was the toast. You really shouldn’t be able to get toast wrong. My English breakfast was accompanied by some thin, crumbly toast. Initially when it was served to the table, I wasn’t given any butter. When the butter finally got to us (after asking for it twice) it was rock solid, the toast was cold and a nightmare to eat. If the bread for the toast had just been cut just a little bit thicker it would have retained its warmth for longer and not gone so dry so quickly. Cold, soft, thick toast is more enjoyable to eat than cold, thin, crumbly toast.
For just over BD4, you do get a full plate. Tasty sausages, nice bacon, but the individual elements let themselves down in various ways. If I were to change the English breakfast at Cafe Amsterdam I’d take out one of the sausages, the useless half tomato and the black pudding. A couple of rashers of bacon, a sausage, baked beans, eggs and toast – that’ll do quite nicely.
Anish’s Cafe Amsterdam Experience
I had my heart set on Eggs Florentine. There was a ‘full’ and a ‘half’ portion and being quite hungry, I opted for the full portion. Jaina’s food came first, and as she mentioned, there was a LOT of it. I got excited. A minute or so later, I had my plate in front of me… and I was a little let down. The eggs looked fantastic, but they were joined only by a few leafy greens dressed with a (delicious) vinaigrette. But that’s ok, breakfast had landed.
Let’s do this from the bottom up:
The english muffin was really nice. I’m very glad that Cafe Amsterdam hasn’t jumped on the ‘let’s serve everything on a brioche’ bandwagon. There are times where a buttery, semi-sweet bread is called for, and eggs florentine is not one of them. I only wish that the muffins had been toasted properly, as they got a bit soggy as the spinach released its moisture.
The spinach was tasty and cooked really well. Could’ve done with a bit of salt, but that’s me being picky.
As picky a mood as I was in, I could NOT find fault with the eggs. Golden yolks, properly seasoned, and cooked to absolute perfection.
Last, but most certainly not least, hollandaise. Its mere mention will make chefs cringe, diners drool, and arteries collapse. When executed perfectly, it’s probably the best sauce in existence, but that so rarely happens. Unfortunately, that was the case at Cafe Amsterdam. It was close. OH so very close. Perfect consistency, and undoubtedly rich, but there wasn’t nearly enough lemony sharpness to cut through all of the egg yolk and butter, and it came off heavy-handed as a result.
Am I being overly critical? Yeah, most definitely. But I don’t feel like I’ve been given a choice. When I’m paying BD4 for an egg dish and a bit of salad, everything on that plate had better be perfect. Now, I’m not saying that MORE food is a solution to average food sold at above average prices, but would throwing some potatoes on the plate hurt? I certainly wouldn’t complain.
Maybe we hit Cafe Amsterdam at the wrong time – barely two hours until their Saturday brunch was kicking off, and most of the staff were busy prepping for that. Maybe. But can’t say we’re going to be rushing to go back to a Cafe Amsterdam for breakfast any time soon. We would like to go back to Cafe Amsterdam to check out the brunch buffet or drinks, to get a better feel for the atmosphere. It was empty while we were there for breakfast.
Cafe Amsterdam’s Vital Statistics
- Phone: +973 17007404
- Credit cards accepted: Yes
- Opening hours: Monday – Sun: 8am – 2am