would you like to have a gluten free breakfast? please ask for our special menu.
i breathe a sigh of relief. they get it. autoimmune-cum-allergies can make meals on the road physically and mentally exhausting, and knowing i don’t have to explain the extent of my restrictions is guaranteed to make my entire body immediately un-clench with the relief of it.
i flag down the waitress and request the special menu. “oh, we don’t have one. we just figured out how to make a gluten-free version of everything on the menu.” i blink. everything. on. the. menu. not a single option i have to stare at longingly, wishing i could partake. this is my new favourite place in amsterdam.
i was sorely tempted to push the claim and ask for the full piqniq breakfast, but really, i’m a sucker for pancakes at brekkie time. and hey, i’m on holidays, not on the job as a restaurant reviewer. pancakes it is. and milk coffee** (which is somehow neither a latte or a flat white, but somewhere in between).
my pancake seems to be made from a blend of flours – possibly buckwheat and rice, maybe some flax or almond meal. it wasn’t as dense as the pure buckwheat ones my parents used to make, nor as light and insubstantial as the horrid pre-mixed packet ones from the supermarket. had we not been dining with friends visiting from sydney, i probably would have thought to ask for the ingredients. it came doused in honey, with banana, a wedge of lime, and crispy walnuts (which i gather had been roasted) on top. i’ve never been a big fan of honey, and prefer maple syrup on pancakes, but the balance of flavours was actually everything i didn’t know i needed until that moment – fresh, light, and not overpowering.
as we stood at the counter to pay, my friends pointed out a gluten-free snickers bar slice in the cake display, and i couldn’t resist getting one to take away. i sort of forgot i had it until we got on the train to berlin that afternoon, so perhaps it would be unfair to review it, as it was a bit worse for wear after being bounced around in my bag for half a day. that said, it was still pretty tasty.
piqniq also do a pretty solid gluten free lunch menu, with at least one gluten free soup, salad, and cake available every day, as well as a good range of sandwiches. service was friendly and coeliac-aware. they’re located in the jordaan district, which is only 10-15 minutes walk from amsterdam centraal (it would have be faster if not for the zigzagging around canals – jordaan is less geometric than other parts of the city). mentally worn out from gluten-hypervigilance? give this place a go.
their website has the menu available, but only in dutch (even when you click the flag for english). chrome does a decent job of in-page translation, though.
** i know a lot of coeliacs have cross-reaction issues with coffee, but i’ve been (blood) tested for gluten reactivity, and coffee was one of the only things that came up entirely in the clear. weird. i still avoid it at home, because it’s hard on the adrenals and makes my tmj kick up a bit, but holidays are a time to cut loose a little.