An experiment with delicious results
TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGERL | PHOTO © VALENTINE GALLONE
When British-born research scientist Saima Awan became tired of London, she set off to the Dutch capital in search of adventure. There, her longtime passion for baking developed into an exciting business enterprise: Dragons Delight.
“I had been on holidays to Amsterdam and it always felt like home. It was a natural choice when I decided to leave London,” she recalls. As well as running the English bakery and brunch café in De Pijp, Awan has built a fantastic reputation catering for events such as the Turkish Airlines King’s Day celebrations at Schiphol Airport.
With her flair for science, Awan comes up with innovative recipes such as erupting volcano cupcakes. Not for the faint hearted is the Bloody Mary cupcake, with tomato, chilli and vodka. If you need a kick, try the coffee cake with whisky icing. “We don’t have an alcohol licence, but we are allowed to serve alcohol in food,” grins Awan.
You can find all your British favourites at Dragons Delight: think muffins, apple crumble and Victoria sponge. Perennially popular are the scones, served with jam and Devonshire cream. “We are introducing the Dutch to clotted cream!” smiles Awan.
Dragons Delight is as popular with locals as it is with expats longing for a taste of home. “One customer recently told me: ‘this is better than anywhere in London!’” More good news for homesick Brits: the café recently started serving Sunday Roasts.
Never ones to rest on their laurels, Awan and her team are also in the process of launching a new project: a food truck serving Asian street food, with bookings already lined up at festivals in the UK, the Benelux and potentially Germany.