Noord Amsterdam is something of a mystery to most Amsterdammers.
You know about it, but you don't know what it's really like there.
It's easy (and free!) to get there by boat, but you don't make a lot of effort to take advantage of this.
You hear about cool people doing cool things over there, but you convince yourself that there's enough cool on this side of the water.
There are a hundred great places to eat, drink, meet, cycle, walk, hang out over there but you sort of ignore that fact. One of these places is Pllek, a bar, restaurant and general fun spot to hang out in, which I'm writing a review of today.
A Review of Pllek, AmsterdamThe fact that I lived in Amsterdam for nearly ten months before stepping foot onto the lump of land that I so often stare at when cycling around the back of Amsterdam Centraal station hopefully goes to prove all this to be true.
Well, now my first step has been taken, I'm a little bit hooked.
A friend of mine was in Amsterdam for the day so I asked him if he was up for an adventure in the north of the city. He was, good sport that he is. Little did I know how much of an adventure it would be on account of us getting lost in a fairly bleak industrial estate and the heavens deciding to bless us with a persistant parade of drizzling rain. Thankfully reaching Pllek - a recommendation made by my neighbour friend who seems to know all the Amsterdam hot spot I should know about! - was a worthy reward. This restaurant/bar is found inside a lego-like construction of old shipping containers and a corrugated iron bunker, and is open all day until 1 o'clock in the morning and offers up a fine menu of fresh broodjes (sandwiches) at lunch and richer, heartier meals at dinner time. An impressive wine list and range of beers accompany both menus. Oh and if you weren't already convinced, Pllek is home to the largest disco ball I've ever seen. I enjoyed a slice of mushroom quiche, which was much more impressive than that sounds. In fact, the pastry was the best I've tried in Amsterdam so far. My companion enjoyed a colourful parma ham and fig salad and we enjoyed the house wine and house beer so much we had a second glass each. What also impressed me was the outdoor beach area, which was unfortunately a little drenched on that rainy day, but as soon as the sun shines, I know where I'll be forcing NewMan to take me. To get to Pllek you just need to walk on the free GVB boat that leaves from the back of Centraal Station (follow signs for "Boot") heading to "NDSM-werf" and Pllek is a mere two minutes walk away from the stop. There are also free boats to other points of North Amsterdam, but the walk is longer (hence our little adventure!). It's free to bring your bike on (but of course!) and the ferry ride is really worth doing on its own to see just Amsterdam and its architecture from a different angle. I can already envisage the north of the city will be transformed in the coming years. There are huge industrial like warehouses screaming out for creative businesses and lively events, something that was confirmed by the sight of the imposing "A'Dam Toren" standing tall next to the EYE which describes itself as the home of "Amsterdam Dance and Music".
So I'm glad I went north before the crowds did and even if it's just to go back to Pllek, I'll be back.
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And if you want to find out more about Noord-Amsterdam, check out this lovely little blog I Love Noord.
Frances M. Thompson
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