Edition 30 September 2018, by Paola Westbeek
Entering Bel Ami, situated in Bussum and just half an hour away from Amsterdam, always feels like meeting up with a ‘good friend’ (as the name so aptly suggests). The history of the restaurant goes back to the middle of the 18th century, and though it has changed hands many times since then, original elements hidden for years such as fine details (including beautiful stained glass window) were restored when it became home to Bel Ami. Today eye-catchers in the interior include hardwood floors with decorative stone tiles in black, turquoise blue and white, and a marvellous collection of stunning artwork interspersed throughout the establishment. The menu changes periodically and features a variety of seasonal dishes and a fine selection of French bistro dining classics. There is the freshly-prepared steak-tartare crowned with a perfectly golden egg yolk and served with zingy condiments and a side of thin-cut chips. Or the garlicky escargots decadently presented in a pool of sizzling herb butter with crusty bread. Equally tempting are the succulent Gillardeau oysters paired with lemon wedges and a proper mignonette sauce (the shallots should be small and delicate like flakes of sea salt). And not to forget the tender tournedos with Bérnaise. In short, choosing is never easy. Though you can always order from the dinner menu, popular lunch choices include the piping-hot shrimp croquettes served with deepfried parsley, the hamburger topped with streaky bacon and truffle mayonnaise, and a good selection of salads. If you happen to love seafood as much as I do, the ‘salade riche’, with cooked and cold fish and shellfish, is a wonderful indulgence, especially if dressed up with duck liver curls and washed down with a glass of sparkling champagne. Can’t make up your mind or want to see what the chef has up his sleeve? The seasonal ‘menu du marché’ is well-balanced and never disappoints. Add to that a laid-back atmosphere, knowledgeable and friendly staff, plus a varied wine list with plenty of choices by-theglass, and you have all the elements of a restaurant that’s definitely worth checking out.
Brinklaan 86 in Bussum
T: 035 30 30 090
Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 21:30
Sat & Sun: 12:00 – 21:30