Note: Unfortunately Kaap Kot has closed doors as of January 2012.
The other day we were asked for a recommendation for New Year’s Eve on Twitter. A special yet cozy place in the city. This immediately made me think of Kaap Kop, which unfortunately is closed for NYE, but is definitely one of those rare places that are located right in the city and still manage to have a very calm and remote feel to them.
The concept of Kaap Kot is to temporarily occupy a space that the city planners have designated for future development. This has given Kaap Kot access to vast locations with amazing views and peacefulness as the surrounding areas are mostly unoccupied. It has also led the owners to use a simple but cool metal building structure that can be quickly disassembled and reassembled in a different location.
After a few years on IJdijk, south of the IJ, just west of A10 exit S114, Kaap Kot is currently located on Korte Ouderkerkerdijk. The location is amazing, sitting on the banks of the Amstel, by what rowers know as the grote bocht – or great bend – a very wide part of the river, opposite the Amstel train station and Rembrandt tower. You get a great view of the business center while sitting quietly surrounded by docks and a rowing club.
Kaap kot is great for summer lunches out on their terrace, but also for winter dinners when it provides refuge and coziness. The decor is simple and the menu Mediterranean. For lunch Kaap Kot serves fancy sandwiches, salads, soup and some pasta dishes. For dinner there are also some simple fish and meat dishes with salad and french fries.
Korte Ouderkerkerdijk 30
1096 AC Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0)20 463 71 58
Public Transport: Metro to Spaklerweg
Price: €25 to €40 per person
When writing about average at best tapas bar La Oliva in the Jordaan I mentioned a great exhibition of the Sauerkids at gallery KochxBos in the 1e Anjeliersdwarsstraat.
I saw that you were quite interested in the topic and wanted to let you know that the exhibition has been extended by one week until January 31st.
KochxBos is a great gallery in the heart of the Jordaan. Most Amsterdam galleries tend to focus on supposedly well selling but arguably boring abstract works of modern art. KochxBos is different. Owners Esther Koch and Hans Bos take an interest in what they call underground art and may also be referred to as urban art. Regardless of the correct term the featured artists play with the surreal. A recurring theme of the featured works is a bright happiness on the surface that unexpectedly, sometimes shockingly, transforms into gloom on further inspection.
Past exhibitions have included phantastical Femke Hiemstra who was recently featured on Boing Boing, photographer Marjo van den Boomen and the three dimensional digital models of Ray Ceasar.
Sauerkids is an artist duo from Rotterdam. They have day-time jobs as graphic designers and started Sauerkids as a creative outlet and – as they say – for laughs. In a rather short amount of time, they have been featured in several art magazines and participated in a number of exhibitions.
The exhibition at KochxBos focuses on their paintings; bright and poppy collages of comic figures full of fear and doubt. The paintings are large, acrylic on wood and super fun to watch. I also liked how the gallery painted its walls in bubblegum pink to submerge the visitor in the Sauerkids world.
The gallery is open Monday to Saturday until 6pm. Go check out the Sauerkids, then head for a few Floreffe abbey brews at Cafe de Tuinen just down the street and have dinner at Balthazar’s keuken, one of the best restaurants in Amsterdam and just around the corner.
Update: Kek closed doors in late July 2011. A sign on the window says that a new restaurant called “Doordagt” will open in late August.
Hoofddorpplein has a new organic lunch place with free wireless. kek – short for “kant en klaar” or ready to eat – opened doors in January and has frequently looked busy!
Hoofddorpplein is a square with shops and restaurants in a working class neighborhood just past the far end of Vondelpark. It won’t make it to the top of Amsterdam tourist sights. But it does have a number of interesting food stores and restaurants including well-known wine store Ton Overmars, recently opened Italian wine dealer Vino di Pino, eetcafe Gent aan de Schinkel, a kitchen store, an organic food store and now kek.
The interior of kek was completely redone. The owners turned what used to be a gift store into a modern and bright lunch location. The design signals healthy and the furniture is simple with a lot of wood and country style folding tables. There is a long bench along the side wall that nicely connects the small tables.
Owners Piet Hein and Frederique run kek and create a very friendly atmosphere. When I visited for the first time, Frederique found time to sit down and explain the menu choices and Piet Hein appeared from the kitchen to personally deliver the food. Other guests, including the owner’s parents, shared their positive thoughts about the food and decor.
The food is simple but good. The sandwiches are made from fresh ingredients on thick slices of dark bread. While not masterpieces, a nice step up from the all too frequent bread and cheese. kek also serves simple dishes such as soups and pasta. All dishes are available in the restaurants and also to go – hence the name “kant en klaar”.
Besides the welcoming service, my highlights were the house wine and the free wireless. The wine is provided by Ton Overmars – a nice touch to help your neighboors. And the bright and open design combined with free wireless makes Kek an ideal destination for checking email or writing a blog post while enjoying lunch.
Hoofddorpplein 29, 1059 CW Amsterdam, Tel +31 (0)20 753 94 03
Speaking of bird, bird, birds… I have been meaning to post about the Thai Bird for a while! It’s one of my favorite places to eat in Amsterdam.
The Thai Bird is actually two places, located across from each other on Zeedijk near the Chinese temple. One is the Thai Bird Snack Bar, which dates back to the eighties when the Zeedijk still was dangerous and to be avoided. Undeterred, consistently good food at low prices lead to success and later to the opening of the much larger restaurant by the same owners.
The Zeedijk is the street that connects Amsterdam’s Nieuwmarkt with the Central Station. You can still feel that it must have been an important artery during the glory days. Bordering on the red light district, it was in disgraceful state in the early eighties, rife with criminality. It has made a roaring return since and today is a lively mix of Chinese shops and restaurants and traditional Dutch brown cafes serving Pils, Bitterballen and Jenever.
Both the restaurant and the snack bar are about food, not looks. The snack bar is small, usually crammed with people and simple but clean. The restaurant is large, meandering up and down and left and right behind its small entrance. Don’t be turned off by the appearance. Do walk in and enjoy the excellent food, which is authentic, fresh and always well executed.
Also don’t let yourself be turned off by the crowds. There is usually a line of people waiting at the entrance of the restaurant, especially on weekends. But somehow it seems to clear more quickly than you would think. The snack bar is the same. It always looks packed, but somehow the staff finds a way to squeeze in a few extra people.
Go to the restaurant if you are with a group. Otherwise go for the snack bar and try to sit on one of the high bar stools behind the large window and enjoy the steady flow of tourists and freaks!
Thai Bird Snack Bar, Zeedijk 77. Thai Bird Restaurant, Zeedijk 72-74. http://www.thai-bird.nl/.