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Tag: food

Back to the ‘Dams

My little autumn break wasn’t quite over yet, after my Warszawa-Berlin trip, so on Friday I went to both Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

For the long stretch Brussels-Amsterdam, I used up all my Thalys points—mostly earned by filling out questionnaires—for the high speed option. Although officially the company is Eurostar now, my train was still adorned with the Thalys branding.

After my morning commitments—my trip wasn’t all leisure—I stopped at Quartier Putain for a coffee and a piece of apple pie. I’m not sure if that name would go down well in cities where they actually speak French!

By then it was time to discover the newest addition to BrewDog‘s portfolio of bars: BrewDog Amsterdam Centraal! It opened just a week before, when I was about a 1000 km east from here, so I missed the EFP opening, unfortunately… The shipload of EFPs—literally, since they had organised a communal ferry crossing for the opening—didn’t drink the bar dry though, and they even had one beer on draught I hadn’t had yet!

It was only around lunch time, but the bar was packed, the staff seemed to be well-trained, and handled the crowd well. Apart from a couple of beers, I had the Cluck & Satay Skewer. It’s always nice to have something ‘local’ on the food menu of a BrewDog bar!

Just before leaving, I also had a nice chat with franchisee Peter, who seemed to be confident he had found a great location for the bar. I can’t disagree with him: located right within Amsterdam Central Station, it will definitely one I’ll be visiting more often!

From the bar to the train platform was only a couple of minutes’ walk, and soon I was off to my next destination: Rotterdam!

The BrewDog Outpost Rotterdam was the only BrewDog bar in the Benelux participating in this year’s edition of Collabfest, so if I wanted to taste any of the beers, I had to make a stop there. Not every bar get’s all beers, but the selection in Rotterdam was great. As it turns out, it even included the highest rated beer, which was Rotterdam’s own collaboration with the Moersleutel: the K9 Chocolate Stout – Brewdog Rotterdam Outpost Collab!

After trying almost all the Collabfest beers, and a few others, it was time to go back to the gorgeous Rotterdam Central train station, and catch the train home again…

Warszawa & Berlin – Day 6

Last Full Day…

My last day in Berlin started at Town Mouse Coffee with a delicious—and just spicy enough—”Mouse Trap” sourdough toastie (with Emmental, feta, and the house chutney) and a coffee. Always nice to find places like this near my hotel!

From there I went to the Mitte Museum. I usually make a habit of visiting the ‘local’ museum of any city I visit, but Berlin is so huge, it actually made sense to learn more about the ‘Bezirk’ (borough) I’ve always stayed in. Who knew porcelain was so important for Mitte?

My next stop was at the Museum in der Kulturbrauerei, to learn more about East Germany in its communist years. I had been to a museum with the same theme last year, but this one was definitely less touristy and more educational!

For lunch I went to Burgermeister, apparently an institute in Berlin. Not bad, but definitely not the best burger I’ve had…

For my after-lunch coffee I went to Bonanza Coffee.

After a little break at the hotel to recharge, e went to BrewDog Mitte—just two new beers there—and Mikkeller Berlin. I totally forgot about the Mikkeller Running Club, which had a run right when I was there!

Last time I was there, I didn’t spend enough time in Bräugier Brewpub, so I made up for that this time.

For nostalgia’s sake—I grew up in Limburg after all—for dinner I had a classic veal döner kebap at Kebap House—”Best Döner in Prenzlauer Berg” they say themselves—which is a bit different from the Gemüse Kebap with chicken you often find in Berlin…

My very last beer stop in Berlin was at another place with a banging beer list and great service: Manifest Taproom. The perfect end of my beer journey in Berlin…

Warszawa & Berlin – Day 5

Back in Berlin

Although I managed to squeeze in four awesome bars after the hash yesterday, today was my first full day back in Berlin!

I quite fancied the chicken breast bagel at What Do You Fancy Love?, so that was today’s tasty—and slightly messy—breakfast.

I kept my visit to the Futurium rather short since it was—quite literally—overrun by school children…

In the Hackeschen Höfe I stopped for a coffee and cheesecake with an oriental twist at Ben Rahim.

It might not be typically German, but the collection at the Samurai Museum Berlin was very impressive, overwhelmingly so!

For lunch I thought to go to the newish Croissant Couture, but apparently it has only two modes: sold out, or horribly long queues! I did have a hunch this might be the case, so I had a very Berliner backup ready: currywurst at Cult Curry Mitte!

From there I went to BrewDog Friedrichshain. The last time I was there, it was quite late, and I was already a ‘few’ beers in, so I barely remembered what it looked like… Pretty much standard BrewDog though, and with exactly zero beers on draught I hadn’t had yet!

To keep the drinking speed within reason, I did a last coffee and cake stop at 19grams Boxi. Then, to tie me over until the next bar would open, I had one unplanned beer at Straßenbräu, thereby nullifying the effort of having a coffee…

My next bar—I actually planned to go to—was HOME Bar Berlin. There I had a few beers, before going to Haroun for an oriental dinner.

To finish the evening, I met up with friends for beers at Bräugier Ostkreuz, and some more at Protokoll, of course!

Warszawa & Berlin – Day 2

Time for Some History…

Since I had to catch up on some sleep—working some night shifts, followed by an early arriving sleeper train will do that to you—I woke up just too late to have breakfast at the hotel. I was hoping they would have something at Ministerstwo Kawy—yes indeed, this translates as “Ministry of Coffee”, like in London—but I had to settle for a piece of pie with my coffee.

The plan was then to visit the Muzeum Życia w PRL (Life Under Communism Museum), but for some reason I couldn’t figure out, it was closed.

On to the Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego (Warsaw Uprising Museum) then!

For lunch I had somę pierogi and a glass of kompot at Wałek Warszawski. Quite a popular place apparently, since I had to queue for over twenty minutes! The pierogi were really nice though, so in the end, totally worth the wait.

After another coffee at Forum, my next stop was POLIN, the museum of the history of Polish Jews.

My last educational visit was at the Muzeum Marii Sklodowskiej Curie, in the house where she was actually born.

All of a sudden I was in a really nice and historical looking part of town, although everything looked so clean and fresh, I have to check how old it actually is…
(Edit: indeed, the “Old Town” has been rebuilt after WW II…)

In the old town I had some beer at Same Krafty and Same Krafty vis-à-vis.

For dinner I went to Zapiexy Luxusowe for, well, zapiekanka, a toasted open-face sandwich, which apparently is a popular kind of street food in Poland. I had the Chłopska zapiekanka, with—of course—cheese and mushrooms, and a topping of kielbasa sausage, bacon, and onion

Then it was of course time for more beer! On the menu for this evening we’re Hopito Chmielna, Hoppiness Beer & Food, and Chmielarnia Multitap. The last one was quite the experience: think bar in the basement of a sports hall crossed with an Indian restaurant… Still some great beers on tap though!

Warszawa & Berlin – Day 1

Welcome to Warszawa!

My European Sleeper arrived in Berlin Hbf bang on time—even though the stewardess warned me it often arrives early—so I could stick to my schedule and go full Hobbit: have a second breakfast!

I actually saved most of my packaged train breakfast for later, so there was plenty of room to indulge in the breakfast buffet at the InterCityHotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof. More importantly, it provided me with a very comfortable ‘waiting room’, since my next train would be three hours later! I’ve spent enough time aimlessly wandering through the Berlin train station or just having fast food on previous trips, so having some comfortable seats, power, and clean toilets was nice for a change.

My next train was the Berlin-Warszawa Express, run by the Polish rail operator PKP Intercity. In a little over five hours it would take me to Poland’s capital Warsaw. At about 1160 km from Brussels, this also marks the furthest destination I’ve reached by train… so far!

The train was a bit of a special one: lots of 6-seater compartments, and for first class it was the only option. Not my favourite seating arrangement, when not travelling with people I know… However, since the booking system didn’t allow me to pick a specific seat, I booked first class anyway, so I would at least have slightly wider seats. And complementary snacks and drinks, apparently!

After finally arriving in Warszawa, I took a bus to the ibis budget Warszawa Centrum check-in. I booked the hotel when I was still hoping the Warsaw Beer Festival would be this week, hence the location slightly out of the centre of the city…

Bags dropped off, it was just a short and easy walk to Kawiarnia Fabryczna for some coffee.

My first beer in Poland was at Gorączka Złota. Not your typical craft beer bar, but a great start. And I managed the whole visit without a word of English being spoken! A very important phrase I looked up and memorised was “Mały, proszę” (small, please), otherwise I would have been drinking pints all night…

I had been told to check out the phenomenon of ‘milk bars’, so for dinner I went to Bar Mleczny Bambino. There I had my first taste of traditional Polish cuisine: gołąbki—stuffed cabbage leaves—and kluski leniwe—potato dumplings.

With something in my stomach, it was then time to hit the first craft beer bars: Jabeerwocky, Kufle i Kapsle, and Hopito Craft Beer.