An impromptu visit from The Gluten Free Foodie lead to some hasty googling about good lunch places near Amsterdam Centraal station. Although I sometimes enjoy eating out, I often find having to deal with other people (and trust them enough not to get me ill) just too much hassle, not to mention my general miserly unwillingness to pay over the odds for food that I could easily make at home. Which is why the list of places I have tried in the 6 months of living here is embarrassingly low.
But when I’m meeting other gluten-free people, it’s different, so I searched high and low with gleeful abandon for a good place to eat. I stumbled across Piqniq, a little lunch cafe about 10-15 minutes walk from Amsterdam CS. The menu stated that any sandwich could be ordered on gluten-free bread, so I thought it would be a good place to try.
The waitress was exceptionally friendly and reassured us that the gluten-free bread was toasted on a separate tray to the regular bread. The sandwiches were “mini” so we ordered two each. I think if you’re hungry it would be advisable to order 3. Seemingly having the same taste in sandwiches, both GF Foodie and I ordered the Italian toasty (with cheese, salami, tomato, onion and Tuscan herbs) and another sandwich which I think was a special and contained ham, tomato, bacon and lettuce.
I was very pleased when the toasty came out and it was made with Focaccia-esque bread! The ingredients were fresh and delicious and it was really great to have a hot sandwich for once. GF Foodie and I discussed how easy it would be for places to purchase a small panini grill and keep that just for gluten-free paninis etc, but so few even think to do that. Restaurants, listen up! Us coeliacs will travel FAR for a decent gluten-free sandwich.
This sandwich was served warmed rather than toasted, but the quality of the bread was fantastic. It tasted a little bit like my grandma’s “boller” (buns) – slightly sweet but not sweet like broiche. Again, the sandwich fillings were fantastic and I really savoured every mouthful.
When the waitress came round she asked if we wanted to try either of the gluten-free cakes. They had a blackberry-almond “tart” and a chocolate brownie. Since I am SO OVER gluten-free brownies I opted for the almond thingy. Boy am I glad I did!
Firstly, warming up a cake before serving it is such a simple touch, and greatly improves my cake-having experience. When you make cakes at home you don’t wait for them to cool down before tucking in, do you? NO! You dive right in and burn your mouth (and occasionally hands). So warming the cake was a big plus.
It didn’t look like much, but when I took the first mouthful it was a melt-in-the-mouth experience. The kind of experience where you say to your dining companion, “YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS!” (with cake in your mouth for best effect).
It was seriously good cake. I’ve had so much mediocre gluten-free cake in these past 3 years, it’s great to have someone really get it right.
Overall, Piqniq comes highly recommended. The service was attentive and friendly, the atmosphere was cosy, and the gluten-free offerings were top quality.
Coffee- and Lunch café PIQNIQ, Lindengracht 59 hs, 1015 KC Amsterdam
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