Restaurant Pompidou opened recently on Koninginneweg near Amstelveenseweg. In many ways, it’s the kind of restaurant I try to avoid in Amsterdam – recently opened in a trendy location, gorgeous interior design and professional branding and an ambitious French menu. But there was also a part of me that wanted to like Pompidou. It’s conveniently located and has an extensive wine bar with many good wines available by the bottle.
So I decided to give it a try, opting for one of the bistro tables near the wine bar towards the front and set on keeping food choices rather simple.
Unfortunately the inevitable happened and Pompidou proved to be as disappointing as I had feared. As is the case with many similar places in Amsterdam, Pompidou is all about appearance and little about good food and knowledgeable, friendly service.
The host was overly intent on taking our coats that we would have just as well put on the back of our chairs. The waitresses were either chatting when we tried to get their attention or kept showing up at our table when we clearly hadn’t made our choices. Then there was substantial confusion about the “soup of moment” – I assume a soup of the day would sound too ordinary… – which, we were informed, was “either fish or something else”. The staff finally managed to determine that the soup of the moment was fish, which we decided against. True to our original plan we ordered entrecôte.
Pompidou started us off on an amuse, which much to our surprise but rather less amusement was the same fish soup we had just decided against. The bread had little flavor and the tapenade didn’t seem home made. And when the entrecôtes were mixed up between medium and medium-rare, which on further inspection seemed identical, we knew that all the effort had gone into the decoration and none into the food.
Pompidou is certainly well designed, with a large window towards the street, high ceilings painted in fake marble and lit by a large chandelier. And the wine list also looked interesting, two full pages with breadth of various regions and grapes and depth from simple to quality. We went for a 2007 Côtes du Rhône and liked it. So we might come back for another glass of wine, but won’t bother with the food again.