It is an estate agent’s truism that the desirability of a property is determined by location, location, location. If that’s what you look for on a night out, then restaurant De Luwte has hit the location jackpot.
Overlooking Leliegracht and humpback bridges so characteristic of the central Canal Belt, De Luwte is straight out of an Amsterdam postcard. The interior of the restaurant is no less quaint. The walls are covered with murals and art deco lamps hang above bright tables. It’s like a small corner of the Mediterranean in Amsterdam, a theme reflected in the menu.
Dunch (lunch + dinner = a later version of brunch) has apparently become a word - my spellchecker even recognises it - so it seems appropriate to put ‘Mutch’ (Mediterranean-led Dutch food) out there and see if it catches on.
Location is the best thing De Luwte has going for it, which isn't to say that the food is bad. Although staunchly seasonal – the current watchword for would-be environmentally responsible restaurants everywhere – the menu seems to have got stuck several decades back. This is evident in the preponderance of sun-dried tomatoes (1980s) and rocket (1990s).
There’s nothing wrong with either ingredient, but when used injudiciously in almost every dish you can't help wondering whether the chef is out of touch or, worse, unimaginative.
My starter was a retro double whammy. Slices of beef were served on a bed of rocket and topped with sun-dried tomatoes and aubergine chips. The beef was beautifully rosé and the portion size enormous, but the dish just seemed pedestrian.
The comparatively small main course was chicken wrapped in bacon, with pommes dauphine and mixed steamed vegetables. No sun-dried tomatoes or rocket there, although R. was faced with a mound of the peppery green leaves again when his fishy combo of smoked haddock slices wrapped around tuna ceviche arrived.
As we ate dessert, a silky chocolate mousse, on De Luwte’s small canalside terrace, I couldn't help noticing the envious looks of passersby. In some cases, a prime location bears only a passing resemblance to what you actually get and sadly De Luwte is one of those cases.
Open: daily 18.00-22.00 (closed Sun in the winter)
Telephone: 020 625 8548
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