flo (mmmm) life will never be the same after lardons

amstelstraat 9, amsterdam
020 890 47 57


food: 8 out of 10 (appetizer and main only... my dessert was less inspiring, however A's dessert was fabulous)
service: 8.5 out of 10 (*very* laid back but surprisingly efficient and engaged)
decor: 8 out of 10 (typical brasserie decor... reminded me of Paris)
mmm rating:
We went to Flo as part of Amsterdam Restaurant Week where, most fabulously, you can go and eat either lunch (3 courses for 20 Euros) or dinner (3 courses for 25 Euros) at a selection of restaurants in the city. Ohhh. Next year I have to fast for a couple of weeks just so that I can indulge in an *entire week* of over-indulgent hedonism. Mind you, can hedonism be "typically indulgent" or "moderately indulgent"? Probably not.

Flo is the opportunity to be part of the riff-raff, non fancified crowd at many more up-scale restaurants. So perfect for me :)

Flo looks like typical brasserie with ... not surprisingly, brass lamps and fixtures, booths with comfy red seats, strategically placed mirrors and a generally laid back feeling. Fortunately, it does not come with a stereotypical snotty French waiter (with whom, to be honest, I have only had one encounter despite a few trips to Paris). Instead, we had a non-stereotypically attentive Dutch waiter.

Our waiter was laid back as to almost seem sleepy. But somehow at the same time, very conscientious and sweet. It was almost as though you were being served by a very docile and gentle uncle or something. Non-waitery but extremely friendly and efficient.

Despite my best intentions I did not order Lillet as an aperitif, so instead we just started with sparkling water. Silly really since a French restaurant is really the most likely place to actually get the stuff. We did have the benefit of bread directly out of the oven (still hot to the touch and steaming when we broke it open) with salted butter. (It sounds strange to make butter a feature, but this was remarkably delicious butter.)

Anyways... for lunch we were given a choice of two options per course:
  • Starter: Salad with a poached egg and lardons or onion soup
  • Main: Salmon with new potatoes or chicken with mash and tarragon sauce (and lardons)
  • Dessert: Crème brulé or vacherin with sorbet of raspberries and mango
Most of these descriptions are "Ingrified" based on my memory of the meal (and yes, I should bring a notepad if I am going to do these reviews.) We each chose one of each (A the first three selections, I the last three).

A's salad was incredible. I know that lardon is just French for bacon, but wow. That was some goooood lardon. A smoky, bacony flavour that makes me happy that all bacon doesn't taste like that or I would weigh 50000 lbs. I would eat bacon all of the time. I only had one bite, so that is all I can say, but it was *exceptionally* good for a very simple salad.

My onion soup was very very good, filled with oniony goodness and fabulous melted cheese over a crispy slice of bread on the top. But rich. Oh my.

We mentioned to the waiter how awed we were by the deliciousity of A's salad, despite its simplicity, and he had a moment with us. You could see the reverence and honour on his face as he shared in the appreciation of simple cookery. It was a special moment. (I'm not being sarcastic.)

A's main was also "the winner" (really he did choose the winning menu... mine was just a bit too heavy albeit delicious). He had lovely salmon on top of beautiful small potatoes and some greens. Again simple, but the purity of the flavours made it just wonderful.

My chicken was fantastic but heavy with smooth mashed potatoes, a creamy tarragon sauce and mushrooms. A great meal, but perhaps a winter one after walking for miles having earned a hearty appetite.

And yes, I'm still thinking about the lardons. Who knew that good bacon could do this to me. Amidst our post dinner smiles, the laid-back waiter smashed a glass off of a near-by table. He didn't even flinch, just continued taking the order from a somewhat flustered looking couple and looked down casually at the glass broken on the floor by his feet. Wonderful :) A colleague came by and cleaned up the glass.

So, despite my intention of having crème brulé for a dessert, I just couldn't after the cheese and the creamy sauce... So I opted for the mysterious vacherin... Initially I figured this must have something to do with cows but instead, it consists of two very thin meringue wafers that sandwich some small balls of sorbet, one raspberry and one mango. The sorbet was jam-like in both consistency and in flavour. It was just too much. Too much sweet, too aggressively fruity. For me unappealing. So I had a few bites and left the rest.

A's crème brulé on the other hand, was oooohhhh la laaa! Delicious. Really perfectly creamy. But a bit too cold. Warmer is nicer (A says).

So, while this was not a typical meal (since our choices were limited and it was a lunch rather than dinner), Flo was great. Very good service. Delicious food (overall). We will most certainly be coming back.

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