If there’s one thing that came out of our recent road trip through Great Britain, it’s a heightened appreciation for that most English of traditions. Googling ‘afternoon tea in Amsterdam’ didn’t come up with too many options but a handful – all located in high-end hotels – proved interesting and choosing our first outing in Amsterdam turned out easier than anticipated. Having been there a few times over the years I was familiar with the Conservatorium and once the three of us from work met up there this Saturday, the excitement of the unknown filled the air.
Disappointingly the experience didn’t live up to the challenge. Booking our table at the onset came only after five different emails owing to a need for a deposit, but with only the option of paying with certain credit cards. This being the Netherlands where debit cards and payment transfers are common in simple, everyday transactions, this was surprising and at the same time annoyingly inconvenient. And while the food was generally well done, the presentation could stand some improvement, seating could be more comfortable, and staff could know more of what they should be doing – case in point, our table wasn’t ready for some members of our party who came 5 minutes earlier than our 3 o’clock seating, staff twice forgetting to bring spoons for our soups, no milk served along with the tea and staff looking surprised to be asked, two types of scones offered but only four pieces brought for our party of three, and the most head-scratching of all, asking us not once, not twice, but three times about the deposit we placed for the meal. Considering the high price point and the hotel’s five-star status, it felt like a three-star hotel on opening day. For round one in little Amsterdam town, a score of 6 out of 10 isn’t very promising. Strike one for Afternoon Tea in Amsterdam.