Proeflokaal Bregje

Bregje almereLet me cut to the chase here. Although last night’s dinner company was wonderful, the food at the recently opened Proeflokaal Bregje in Almere left a lot to be desired (plus, came with a complimentary hair in my companion’s plate).
The concept sounded good: two courses for the wallet-friendly price of only €9,50 served between 5PM and 7PM, and a three-course option for €12,50 served from 7PM to 10PM. The menu? Equally appealing. Starters such as Angus steak tartare or prawn croquettes, a simple yet varied choice of mains (duck breast, too — my favorite!), and classic desserts such as tiramisu and crème brûlée. Oh, and cocktails. They even offered four cocktails, including yet another favorite of mine, the Cosmopolitan!
And that’s where all my expectations slowly started to crumble…
But let me rewind. When I walked in, I was warmly greeted by a very amiable gentleman who led me to the table where my friend was waiting. The place was packed and the interior cozy and inviting with rustic touches and a soft, shimmery glow courtesy of the single candles placed on each table. Exactly the kind of restaurant I’d want to whisk hubby off to for a romantic mid-week dinner à deux, I thought.
We ordered a Cosmo, we toasted, we sipped… and my heart sank. After tasting not much more than diluted cranberry juice, I swiftly picked up the drinks menu fearing I had chosen a virgin. Nope. Vodka and triple-sec were clearly listed. One-and-a-half wets of the whistle later, the prawn croquettes arrived, lukewarm and slightly soggy on the outside, but with a lime mayo that made them rather palatable. Luckily, with a few turns of the salt mill, the duck (served in an aromatic orange sauce) was edible. For me anyway, because my friend quickly lost her appetite when she discovered a hair halfway through the meal. By this time, we were wondering whether we should just leave and skip dessert.
We stayed, and the crème brûlée, unfortunately, did not make up for the rest one bit. Where was the vanilla and why skimp on the egg yolks? I suppose I know the answer to that question.
Interestingly enough, before joining my friend for dinner, I met up with a colleague for a glass of wine at another restaurant just a stone’s throw away, where, I should mention, €12,50 will hardly get you a main. It was painfully deserted and quite the contrast with the crowded Proeflokaal Bregje.
Cheap attracts, that’s for sure. Pity for the stylish interior and friendly staff, not to mention for the better, surrounding restaurants…and for us.

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