Sep 30, 2014 - 0 Comments - Autumn, Breakfast, Dinner, Eating out, Lunch, Summer -

WIHFDD goes to AMSTERDAM / Febo is hilarious

Last weekend it was my boyfriend’s birthday. It was a milestone one, and after a lot of wine we had the clever idea of going to Amsterdam for the weekend. Keen but skint, on looking at last minute flight prices it seemed impossible. I remembered the coach as an option from a way back when trip to Belgium for Pukkelpop. Cheap, and always last minute tickets available. We took a deep breath and booked coach tickets departing from London, to arrive in Amsterdam approximately nine hours later. The coach through Megabus was twenty pounds, and with plug sockets and Wi-Fi on board one could only complain moderately.

If any of this entices you, I think you can find even cheaper ones through Eurolines, but it takes longer and the busses lack the mod cons of the Megabus. Top tip: there were these girls who managed to snag the front row seats of the top deck, and they had come prepared with pillows and blankets. I was very jealous.

As we decided to go so last minute, the hostels and hotels were looking expensive. We started researching Airbnb apartments, and as I had only ever been on there to perve at other people’s houses, actually booking something was very exciting. We picked a host who had solid reviews, with a nice looking apartment located just outside the centre. At £300 for the three of us for a weekend in an apartment that could have comfortably slept four we felt we got a very good deal. Our host, Bart was very welcoming, and provided us with a map with key locations circled in red of various good restaurants and bars nearby. Tired out from spending the night on the bus, we realised we had two options – either have a nap for the rest of the morning, or have a shower and get going. We decided on the latter, but figured we needed some serious coffee, so headed out to Bart’s first recommendation – Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters.


12kg Probat coffee roaster

Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters
Located near Vondelpark, Lot Sixty One is far enough away from the madness of the centre that you get a taste of resident life. You get the feeling as soon as you walk through the door that everything is done properly. Their pièce de résistance – a 12kg Probat coffee roaster – is what makes Lot Sixty One unique. The owner orders the beans in green and fresh, and roasts all the coffee on site. We had a flat white each. My boyfriend didn’t ask for a sugar in his lest he would get rebuked in the trendy coffee shop for not doing it properly. The purity of the coffee, combined with the creaminess of the milk meant that he didn’t even miss it. We shared a savoury muffin (courgette, cheddar, sundried tomato) – seriously good too, in the photo below it is half scarfed because I struggled to get a snapshot of it before it was devoured. Also, the baristas are super friendly and nice, so I doubt anyone would get (much) grief for putting sugar in their coffee.



Albert Heijn
To keep costs down, and because supermarkets in foreign countries are always a bit of an adventure, we went to Albert Heijn for the majority of our food and boozing. I think our most impressive haul was two pizzas, two cartons of juice, and three bottles of wine for twenty-five euros. And they do really good pastries for the fraction of the price of the bakeries – we had ours sitting by the river for breakfast one morning to complete the continental experience.

Embarrassingly, if you look through my photos the thing most heavily featured isn’t snaps of the Rijksmuseum, or Vondelpark – but of Febo a fast food vending machine joint. There are rows of Plexiglas lockers, each containing different bits of fast food, you put the money in the slot which enables you to unlock the little door to reveal your food. There was much talk of Febo all weekend, but the first trip we took there I couldn’t stomach it.

“You can see what you’re eating before you eat it, it looks terrible and people STILL buy it?”

After a lot more drink, I was a convert. Fuelled by reading through the trip advisor reviews, I insisted I needed to try it before leaving. One of the reviews we read rates the service 3 out of 5 – they must have vended their own food terribly.

Eat the croquettes

Eat the croquettes

Febo is hilarious

Febo is hilarious

I was talked through the process of acquiring a Kipcorn – a crispy kind of stick made from chicken – by some bemused Febo veterans. I would describe the whole experience as that wrong right that comes with fast food.





“Out of the wall food”

Other places of note…


The Greenhouse Effect

The Greenhouse Effect
Nestled in the red light district, The Greenhouse Effect is a welcome break from the chaos of the centre. They have a good selection of beer and ale, all served in proper tankards as well as a very reasonably priced cocktail menu. There is a main bar area with bar seating, as well as a dedicated smoking room. We spent a good portion of our Saturday night there, and we were pleasantly surprised at how it wasn’t very busy. A good shout if you want to keep it classy before delving in to the seedier undercurrent of Amsterdam.

Set next to the river, the patio in particular was picturesque. Reasonably priced cocktails, and good service.

Café Helmers
On arriving at Café Helmers, we were greeted with some choice techno. A definite grungy-disco vibe, and the beer is pretty cheap too.

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