Beginning of March – which, in these gekke tijden, seems like ages ago -, the Brunch People of Amsterdam (yes, we have a stage name) decided to meet at Monks, to try out their reputed brunch. It was a sunny Saturday in Dacostabuurst, where the coffee place is located, and despite the place being rather tiny and busy, Karin and I didn’t have to wait too long (around 15 minutes) to get a table.
Monks Coffee Roasters is popular and you can immediately see it, but the atmosphere is intimate nonetheless. The big windows in the back open on an inner garden: the perfect setting for a gezellig brunch with friends. Julie described it as: « a good mix of green-vintage-industrial ».
Our small group (Karin, Philippe, Biba, Julie and I, sometimes joined by one or two special guests) has recently engaged in a brunch ritual that involves sub-traditions like sharing pancakes and playing trivia quizzes (more on that in another episode). I’ve been trying to convince them for months (years, maybe – I lost track of time!) to start a podcast about it, but the look on their faces, plus the realization that no one out there wants to hear people chew during two hours, made me choose a safer option: blog posts. So here it is: our reviews of Monks – and other things that will probably only interest my mother.
Julie had the Green Bowl: « I picked it in a bit of a rush, and needed something healthy after a PMS-chocolate-binge the day before. I am not a big fan of halloumi – the French inside me would even say that it is an insult to cheese… let’s not develop further. Halloumi aside, I found the green bowl tasty, healthy and refreshing. »
Biba had Eggs Benedict (with smoked salmon instead of bacon): « Really good, although next time I think I’ll pick the Florentine ones and add salmon to have some spinach with it – and feel a little healthier next to Julie’s green bowl 😉 I also had two flat whites and those were delicious! »
I had the Breakfast Burg… no wait – the Smokehouse Salmon: « Although it wasn’t what I had ordered – wink wink Philippe -, I truly enjoyed the meal – perfectly cooked and creamy eggs, tender salmon, and tasty bread. I also wanted to thank the waiter who kindly added an extra on the house, when he realized (with horror) that Philippe had ordered the wrong dish for me. »
As always, we shared the dessert, and as always, we went for pancakes, because, well, brunch. The pancakes at Monks are served with fruit compote, espresso mascarpone, summer fruits and, of course, maple syrup. The melting buttermilk and fluffiness of the pancakes convinced me, and they are probably the second-best American pancakes I had so far in Amsterdam. Julie also found them « good, although they will not keep a VIP-spot in my best-food-experiences memory ».
3 THINGS WE LEARNED:
Biba: « That Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear… Somehow, this very well-known fact slipped my mind. That’s at least one Pub quiz question I will now be able to answer! »
Julie: « I had no idea that another type of tango existed, different from the Argentinian tango! »
Me: « I have to confess that when Biba handed me her smartphone to show me her travel pictures, I had no idea what to do with Instagram. I learned what a ‘story’ was. »
Water. Julie: « As a person who drinks at least a gallon of water per day, I found it inconvenient not to have a bottle of water on the table. »
Not talking about the Coronavirus.
BONUS: JULIE’S CHALLENGE
In her own words: « Note to self: I’ll never, ever, be late again for brunch… well, you know what I mean by “late” ;). » I am watching you Julie. De Niro style.
Next episode: The Online Brunch.