Bar Bitterbal | Amsterdam

It’s not the healthiest dinner for sure – deep-fried balls of meat and roux should never be in anyone’s diet – but it had to be done if at least once.

Meeting up with an ex-colleague for after-work drinks presented another opportunity to try out some restaurants close by, and Bar Bitterbal won out over the others this time. The idea of a place dedicated to that most Dutch of Dutch snacks was attractive enough to get my attention with the added benefits of not only being across the street from work, the place looked quite respectable and a far cry from any Febo store where I was first introduced to this humble dish. If memory serves, my first impression of ‘hate at first sight’ was potent – I couldn’t stand the texture of what it was I was eating at the time, and the mystery meat was just too enigmatic for comfort. Fast forward 11 years and with my forgiving mood it was time to take another bite of what was possibly a classier, safer, less mysterious version that, after all this time, probably deserves more respect than I’d given it so far.

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The Farmer’s Choice – five pieces each of veal, beef, and free-range chicken – was too much even for us two adult-sized individuals. I tried my best to finish at least half but waist-sensitive Emmy opted for a more conservative approach and barely ate any. Against better judgment I followed up with a healthy order of addictive sweet potato fries, downed with a couple of harmless-looking gin tonics, which made the nearly two hour get-together go by just like that. It was a rare mid-week splurge that with thanks to my trusty companion hopefully gets repeated not too often, but enough to keep life interesting.

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