Bairro Alto (Nijmegen, The Netherlands).

As you might have guessed from my other posts so far — I love to explore new spots with delicious food! A few weekends ago my boyfriend and I went for a Sunday brunch at a new place and I am here to share my thoughts about it.

What primarily brought me to this cafe was its name: Bairro Alto. For those of you who do not know, Bairro Alto is one of the oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods in Lisbon. It is located in the downtown area and is best characterised by its cobbled streets. Though calm and quite by day, it is actually one of the city’s most vibrant and full of life areas by night. It has countless bars, restaurants and fado houses. Due to the small sizes of these places, people end up cheerfully socialising in the streets (most likely with a glass in their hand). This creates a very unique and special environment. One that I so dearly miss. ♥ Thus, as someone who is Portuguese and has lived in Lisbon for 4 very happy years, you can imagine how stumbling upon this cafe’s name in The Netherlands has immediately aroused my curiosity and interest to visit it.

The first thing I asked to the staff was if it was owned by someone Portuguese (yup, Miss Curious right here!) They told me that it is actually owned by a Dutch lady who has travelled to Lisbon and fallen in love with this specific neighbourhood in Lisbon. As someone who is  proud of her country of origin, this really has made me smile and has somewhat made my day.

 

First of all, I was delighted by its outward appearance. Pretty colours, lots plants and natural light. Seriously, does not it just look lovely?

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(photo from their instagram page)

My boyfriend and I went here on a Sunday morning and though busy, we managed to find a table for the two of us. It was quite crowded when we got there but it got less busy as the time went by. However, something to bear in mind is the fact that since it is a small-ish cafe, the seating space might be limited during the popular times/hours of the weekend.

Food and overall atmosphere

As we love a good cup of coffee, ordering a cappuccino is always a given. I ordered mine with decaf coffee and soya milk and my boyfriend ordered his regular. Both cappuccinos came beautifully served and mine in particular tasted wonderfully (a cafe with good quality decaf coffee gets extra points from me!).

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After having a thorough look at the menu, I decided to go for a toast sandwich. This is something I have been craving for so long! I can literally count with my fingers the times I had one ever since I stopped consuming dairy (5 years ago).

I chose the toast filled with grilled seasonal veggies, hummus and chimichurri sauce . In the menu this specific toast sandwich had goat cheese but I asked them if it would be possible to have it without. They said that they could do it for sure and proposed swapping it for hummus! As the hummus lover that I am, I happily said “oh yes PLEASEEE”.

Apparently they can make every item available in the menu vegan! How awesome is that?

I am so glad I could satisfy my craving with this toast sandwich that was both so rich and filling. The slices of wholegrain seeded bread were thick and flavoursome. The root veggies gave it that perfect crunch and the hummus added that creaminess that I love. For sure one of the most delicious toast sandwiches I have ever eaten. It hit all the right spots!

My boyfriend went for the smoked salmon sandwich with cream cheese, hard boiled egg and red onion. It came served with a mixed greens salad, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes and pine nuts. He really really enjoyed it!

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The food totally filled us up and we left the cafe feeling both happy and satisfied! Big win.

Another thing that I loved about the cafe was their attention to detail, something pretty evident in the crockery used. Just have a look at it:

 

cheeky and beautiful work of art ♥

I also loved how pretty it is the inside. Simple but still somewhat artsy, which makes the overall atmosphere great.

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Pricing

In general terms, I find Nijmegen to be slightly cheaper when compared to Utrecht and Amsterdam and the price we paid just goes to show that. My toast sandwich costed 7,5€ and the one of my boyfriend costed 5€. Quite affordable and “great value for money” in my opinion.

Staff and service

I found the staff to be super friendly, accommodating and chatty. They took their time to serve us but the wait was worth.  On our way out, I made sure to let them know how much we enjoyed our food, their attention to detail and the cafe overall vibes. They were pleased to hear this!

Though I only wish I had also given a slightly more constructive feedback. I should have called their attention to the fact that their menu does not come across as being vegan-friendly. There is not even a single item that is actually vegan in the menu. However, I did decide to go there anyway because of two reasons. Firstly, I was really really curious about the cafe’s name. Secondly, my previous experience with cafes/restaurants that do not seem to be vegan-friendly has taught me that I should not let the online menu put me off. It might not be up to date and oftentimes the staff is so accommodating that they will just “veganize” their food options for you. This is exactly the case of Bairro Alto.

Despite having vegan sweet treats available (that are not even mentioned in the menu), they are also able veganize every single of their food items (just like they did with my toast sandwich). Thus, I really think they changing their menu and website in a way that reflects the reality would just go in their favour. Otherwise some people may decide to put it off, which is a real shame given the fact that it is such a lovely cafe with yummy food. Next time I go there, I will let them know this for sure. I think that it is important to give our feedback, whether we have a positive or less positive experience. This is because, in my humble opinion, I believe that anyone who is passionate about the business he runs (or helps running) appreciates it

Location

The cafe is conveniently located right at the heart of city centre (at Kannenmarkt 6) and for that reason is not hard to find at all.

Just to wrap my final thoughts, I am very glad that this was the chosen spot to have our first coffee and brunch in Nijmegen. It did not disappoint in the slightest! I want to come back again to try one of their lovely-looking cakes and/or cookies and I am certainly planning to do so! When you add in the lovely and attentive service, it was an all round great brunch spot!

Thank you very much for reading and enjoy the rest of your day x

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

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Hank Burger, Paris (France)

Hi guys,

As I have shared in this post Sunday morning in Paris., I went to Paris a few months ago with my boyfriend. As the foodie that I am, prior my trip, I bookmarked some restaurants that I wanted to visit during our stay. Because my boyfriend really likes burgers, when I found out that Hank Burger is a 100% vegan burger place with great reputation, situated in the heart of Le Marais district, I immediately added it to my list of places to visit in Paris! Hank Burger has proven popular thus far, with a 4.5-star rating on Trip Advisor. So, now that I had the chance of trying this super popular burger place, I thought I would share my experience with it because… I am very happy to report that the burger was INCREDIBLE.

I have never been big on burgers but I must say that, curiously now that I am no longer a meat-eater, they sound more appealing to me. This is probably due to the fact that there are so many unique combinations out there which makes it very easy to find a patty that I adore. The more creative and unique the combination of plant-based ingredients and flavours is, the more eager I am to try it! 🙂 Burgers are still not my go-to food but I do enjoy eating them every once in a while, especially if they are made (mainly) of veggies and if they are known to be good!

Anyway, let’s get to it!

Food

The concept of the restaurant is pretty simple. All burgers have the same type of bun (especially made for the restaurant) and organic patty (made of tofu, mushrooms, rice, cereals and spices). You get to choose the toppings and sauces. There is in total a choice of four different styles of burgers.

I ordered the “La Catcheuse” style burger with homemade mustard and sprouted alfalfa. As I love mustard but am a bit picky when it comes to how sweet or spicy it tastes, I kindly asked them to not put much of it. I felt immediately happy with my choice after the first bite! It was just to die for. The patty was very rich in flavour and not greasy at all. Its texture was also on point. I paired the burger with thick cut oven-baked perfectly seasoned potato edges. My boyfriend had actually to finish them for me because the burger really filled me up. 👌🏼 He ordered the “The Tata Monique” on a tomato and basil sauce with minced black olives and, as a meat-eater, he was very pleased with the taste of it.  Just like me, he also found the potato edges to be pretty darn tasty so it really was no issue for him to eat mine haha! It is also worth mentioning that the restaurant has three different dips available (and for free): ketchup, veganaise and mustard. I usually skip dips but my boyfriend really likes his ketchup and mayo and totally approved these.

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Service/Staff

Staff were helpful and walked us through the whole concept of the restaurant. They spoke English, which made ordering the food very easy. The service was quick and efficient.

Location

The restaurant is located in the trendy Le Marais area of Paris, making it the perfect place to recharge batteries in between exploring.

Price

You get to choose from two different menus:

Le petit (13€): 1 Hankburger + 1 side + 1 beverage

Le Grand (15€): 1 Hankburger + 1 side + 1 dessert + 1 beverage 

 

We both chose went for the Le Petit menu and it was more than enough. If you think that you might fancy something sweet (i.e. a cookie, carrot cake or “the dessert of the day”) , then you can go for the Le Grand menu. The price of each burger is 8,50 euros but, in my opinion, either one of these menus has an affordable price.

Atmosphere

To top it off, I loved the loft-style arrangement and bustling interior atmosphere of the restaurant (see photo below). Though, be warned that since it has a small seating area, it can get easily packed. We got to the restaurant at around noon on a Friday and there was plenty of space to sit. When we finished eating and left the place, there was a long queue at the door so I guess that we were just lucky to enter early enough and at a not crowded period.

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Just to wrap up, this burger place really lived up to the hype. So, whether you are a non-meat eater fan of burgers or not, if you find yourself in Paris, please fit Hank Burger into your itinerary. You will not regret trying one of the great creations that Hank produces!

P.S. For those who have a gluten intolerance or allergy, Hank Burger has also available a gluten free version of both the vegan patty and bun.

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful