The sound of the bustling crowd on the streets, the trams passing and bells of bicycles ringing – no matter what, I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of it. Amsterdam is unlike any other city in the Netherlands, in the world perhaps. We have our beautiful canals, green and polluted, but still nice enough to spend your summers boating. We have good food, great food, even ones you’ll casually run into in tiny corridors. We have laws that seem almost impossible to the rest of the world – legalization of drugs and prostitution, but we’ll ambiguously call it a tolerated policy for drugs and regulated prostitution. Amsterdammers are a peculiar kind of people as well. We’ll tell you all about what’s to see and do in Amsterdam but ask us what lies outside of the city and we’ll drop dead silent. Even though Amsterdammers won’t openly admit it, we know it – everything outside our city borders is a foreign wasteland.
I adore it though, my little hometown. I wouldn’t trade it for any other place in the world, not permanently at least. That much I’ve learnt this past year. I may be spending most of my days on the other side of the sea nowadays, there’s no place like Amsterdam. And while others struggle to find a place in the densely populated city, the W has found the perfect location for their first branch in the Netherlands: right smack in the middle of the city center. The hotel is conveniently surrounded by Amsterdam’s iconic landmarks and sites. There’s the palace on one side, De Jordaan, 9 Straatjes, Begijnhof, Nieuwe Kerk on other fronts. Check in here and you’ll never have to walk more than fifteen minutes to do your sightseeing. Not that you’d walk in Amsterdam of course – you go everywhere by bike.
To start your day in Amsterdam, any day for that matter, breakfast is essential. And Mr. Porter knows how to cure an empty stomach. Mr. Porter, the W’s hotel restaurant, caters to a meat-loving crowd at night in an elegant and dark setting. In the morning, it turns into a cozy living room and kitchen setting where breakfast is served. The buffet is a colorful blend of fresh produce, pastries, pastas, cured meats, cheeses, salads, fruits and freshly baked goods. Meats aren’t completely off the table though at breakfast. The a la carte breakfast menu features a minute steak, topped with a fried egg and served with fries.
The steak was beautifully seared – not that you’d expect anything less from a primarily meat-focused restaurant – and had a smoky quality to it.
When the bartender arrives at your table, pushing a mini bar cart, you say yes to everything he offers. We have a Bloody Mary, a drink that is said to be the best hangover remedy. The battle booze with booze mentality may not be entirely up my alley but the vodka, tomato, Tabasco and pepper-filled concoction does provide you with the kick you need in the morning. I reckon the drink will wake up even the sleepiest among us.
The Bloody Mary also complemented our Poached egg on avocado toast, with habanero peppers and a squeeze of lemon. This is one of my favorite combos at the moment. You may see it popping up on brunch menus nowadays but rarely is it with peppers.
the day breakfast with a stack of sweet blueberry and strawberry pancakes, possibly the best pancakes I’ve had so far.
And then there’s the view. When you visit Mr. Porter, don’t forget to go on the balcony. The high-ceiling glass windows of the restaurant will give you a good view of the city already. But on the balcony, the feeling of being in the city center, being surrounded by historic buildings, it’s so much more beautiful.