July 1, 2022

Fine dining, wining or whining?

fine dining restaurants



One of my pet peeves when dining out is when you decide on a palatably-priced bottle of wine, and you’re told that it is not in stock.


The Wijnbar Paskamer (meaning fitting room) in Amsterdam can teach the industry a thing or two. A weekend in Amsterdam has to include cheese, wine and cycling. After locking up our bikes in the street, our family quartet arrived at this corner wine bar peckish. The owner, Wouter Aaist, welcomed us, and when we looked at the thought-provoking wine menu, offered his guidance. We considered two wines that were not too eye-watering while travelling on the ZAR, to be told that neither was available. An alternative was eloquently described and recommended – for the same price – then poured to see if we liked it. If not, Wouter offered, “We will keep on trying till we find something you like.”

Paskamer in Amsterdam
wine bars in amsterdam

The tapas menu had caught my eye, and we ordered the burrata on grilled peppers with pomegranate, the artichoke with ricotta and samphire and the melanzane alla parmigiana. All dishes were flavourful and simply served. Strategically positioned with a good view of the pass, I could watch the chef put the finishing touches to each plate. The octopus with pimento de la vera (a delicious tartare) was delicate and tasty. The crayfish bitterballen – oh so moreish. By this time, clearly making our contribution to the happy hum of wine-lovers, we were ready for our next bottle of wine. With Wouter, it was paired with a stimulating debate of European versus SA wines, comparing favourite varietals and wine-producing countries. I then discovered that he is the founder and head wine educator of the Amsterdam Wine Academy.

restaurants in Amsterdam - Paskamer


The wine continued to flow. I will return, not only to check if those first-choice wines are in stock, but to enjoy the easy ambience, flavour-packed food and superb hospitality of the owner, whose passion for wine is palpable and knowledge impressive. We climbed onto our bikes and weaved our way happily home.

Now it’s time for you to share your pet restaurant peeve with me? I promise, when training restaurant management and teams in our Haute Performance Hospitality courses, to share them!

4/5 (1 Review)