A La Ferme AmsterdamSomewhat hidden in Amsterdam’s animated ‘de Pijp’ neighborhood is A La Ferme, a restaurant serving traditional dishes from the French country kitchen made with seasonal products. According to the website, everything is homemade — from the bread to the mignardises served with coffee. The photos certainly look enticing. We see beautifully plated dishes; luscious foods such as thick pâtés, fat Bresse chickens and rustic sausages; an unpretentiously elegant interior; and a chef who obviously enjoys his work, not to mention the good life in La Douce France. I hadn’t even set foot in the place and I was sold. The fact that A La Ferme was also taking part in the Franse DinerDagen (French Dinner Days) deal was an added bonus. So I booked a table for two and with giddy anticipation, looked forward to an evening of French culinary passion. In my mind, I would enter the restaurant, leave Amsterdam behind, and spend a few hours in my heart’s home.
Upon arrival at the pleasantly crowded restaurant, the first thing that caught my attention was the distracting bar of red light located above the side of the room where our table was. Not only did it clash with all of the other redness in the room (not to mention conjure up slightly raunchy associations), but I immediately knew that taking decent pictures was not going to happen. That aside, the table was faultlessly set; the bread with oil, butter and fleur de sel delicious; and the atmosphere pleasant.
We ordered a glass of their Domaine Champs Blancs Cabernet Sauvignon, a fleshy wine from the Languedoc, well-balanced and with plenty of red fruit. Moments later, Ben van Geelen, A La Ferme’s chef, came to our table to give us a brief description of what was coming. And it all sounded pretty damn good.
Quite memorable was the velvety fowl liver mousse that was part of the amuse-bouche and the parsley-studded, delicately seasoned cod tartare which came with the first course. The pan-fried fillet of red gurnard (an ugly but tasty bottom-dweller) served with cockles in a buttery, zesty sauce was also pure perfection, if not for the slightly gritty cockles. I was less impressed with the main of wild duck breast and leg in a rich pan gravy served with mashed potatoes and stewed Belgian endive. Much too ‘earthy’ and heady for my liking, though I did thoroughly enjoy the round, aromatic Corette Pinot Noir that it came with.
For dessert, I had the cheese platter with a selection that included a distinctively strong Camembert and a stunning Herve. All of them served perfectly at room temperature with bread, crackers, thick apple syrup and a hefty Pommeau de Normandie, not a glass but the whole bottle, which I was allowed to pour from myself.
The meal ended with an espresso, a small dish of sweets and a raspberry eau de vie.
All in all, the food and drink was exceptionally pleasing. Pure flavors, balanced combinations and a discernible amount of love put into in the preparation. My main complaint, however, was the waiters who kept filling wine glasses without asking and were sometimes a little too present. bonnetje-alafermeThere was certainly no room for ‘intimate dining’ here, unfortunately.
And last but not least, let me be honest and realistic, should you also want to book during the French Dinner Days (up until November 23rd), our bill, including a wine arrangement, water, a supplement for the cheese and the espressos (which supposedly should’ve been included in the  €34.50 deal) came out to a total of €144,70. A bargain it certainly was not. Though definitely cheaper than a dinner date in Paris.ster-opzet-4

Leave a Reply