It was my birthday in Amsterdam and I was staying at the ITC hotel round the corner. This restaurant was just up the road towards the city centre, I'd never heard of it before and popped in for the set menu, three courses and a bottle of Merlot.
Food was fantastic, service was lovely, warm and attentive, bread was fresh (can't stand stale bread in restaurants) and the bill was perfectly reasonable. I was so impressed I went back the next night, my birthday. I told the French maître d' it was my birthday, not angling for anything but just because he remembered me from the previous night, he even remembered where I sat!
I had another set menu, goats' cheese starter, steak with pepper sauce and gorgeous vegetables, ice cream and chocolate sauce and another bottle of Merlot.
Service was brilliant again ( I think the gentleman's niece served me charmingly), bill was reasonable again, then the maître d' approached after I'd paid the bill and asked if I would like a drink on the house. I was amazed, that's never happened before (although once in Krakow on my birthday I was dining with friends and a string quartet started playing happy birthday. I blushed with pride and gratitude and then realised they were playing for someone else! Embarrassing!)
I agreed to a brandy and the gentleman poured a cognac and then, get this, warmed it for me by a candle!
Best meal I've had for ages, best service I've had for ages, best regards to the staff and I hope 2014 is fantastic for you all.
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