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Stylish Dutch Design At The Lute Suites & Restaurant

Stylish Dutch Design At The Lute Suites & Restaurant

Myra Prinsen - 2009-08-03

At his restaurant in Ouderkerk on the Amstel River, chef Peter Lute has converted a row of former workers cottages dating back to 1740 into the Lute Suites, seven luxury suites, designed by renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, for guests wishing to stay overnight.

Peter Lute opened his restaurant in 2003 converting the stables on the site of a former gunpowder factory into a new designer restaurant. Certain elements of the restaurant building remain unchanged. The original screws, seams and irregularities of the walls are still visible behind the new glossy and transparent façade.
Modern tables and chairs are positioned on luxurious rugs providing each group of diners with their own island and creating a sense of intimacy within the larger surrounding space.  
The kitchen is open plan ensuring close contact between the kitchen team and guests. Spontaneity is a given with Lute. He has no problem with curious diners wandering over to the kitchen and guests may even find themselves ushered by the more enthusiastic members of the kitchen team to a large chef’s table for a tasting test on a new sauce.  
Although à la carte options are available, many guests prefer to be surprised with the chef’s own choices. Diners can specify their likes and dislikes as well as the number of courses they wish to receive. Portions are adapted according to the guests’ appetite and the number of courses requested, ensuring that everyone leaves the table satisfied come the end of service.
The chef clearly enjoys having fun with his audience, encouraging them to sample whatever ingredients he’s enthusing over at any given time. "We don’t think in terms of concepts. We want to be real and just let ourselves go."
 
Classic foundations with a provocative touch
 
In Lute's kitchen cooking is seen as something fun to experience. Cooking is about "listening to the pans" and “finding the balance between the origin and the perfect dish.”
Nature is the starting point for Lute: "Nature has given us a lot. It’s up to us to use it and keep it in the spotlight as there are so many products with a unique flavour and structure. At the moment, I’m having a lot of fun with vegetables and you can see many non-vegetarians are also turning their attention to vegetables. Recently I had a truffle risotto on the menu and we’ve never seen such demand for a vegetarian dish." 
The basis of Lute's food is classic French cuisine. From this foundation he draws from a number of influences to create something more provocative. Lute’s guests will spend most of the evening on the edge of their seats as they dine on dishes such as sukadevlees [a casserole dish], cooked overnight with foie gras and a sauce of lemongrass, ginger and coconut milk, or Coquilles St. Jacques with lemon zest and chicken stock.  
Peter Lute opened in 2003 with 100 covers and was exactly what Lute had envisaged from the outset: "This is my style. What I realized was that I wanted to have everything in place from the start. Not to start small and then, if things went well, be wondering where to go and what to do after a few years. Here we have a space for everything. Our guests have a drink in the lounge. Then they go to the table and then, if they want, they can stay over. Throughout we offer a bridge between entertaining and design. Bringing people together in an inspirational environment."
 
Modern baroque suites
 
If the restaurant is exciting then the suites, the creation of famous Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, are inspired. Wanders and Lute struck an instant rapport during a visit by the designer to Lute’s restaurant. Although the original design concepts for the suites were already underway, the two men clearly shared a vision that was rapidly put into action. 
Each suite is structured as a separate house comprising 2 or 3 floors. Each has its own modern style living space, bathroom, kitchenette and bedroom. But that’s where the similarities end. The appearance varies from one to the next, with each suite featuring its own style of wallpaper, flooring, designer furniture, accessories and decorations. 
One suite, for example, features a cushioned wall. Elsewhere, you’ll find bathroom walls covered with Italian mosaic tiles. Another suite features a wall painting created by an artist who was inspired to create something following a brief stay.  
Open plan bathrooms are also a prominent feature of the interior design. In one suite, a bath is shaped like a giant soap bar and overlooks the river. The rear of all the former workers houses overlooks the river, while the front overlooks a courtyard, complete with a large water tower once used to extinguish burning gunpowder.
 
Lute characterizes the design style of Wanders’ suites as modern baroque and the designer has incorporated a number of stylish features into the rooms including floor lamps with off-kilter shades, partition walls dressed with beautiful Bisazza mosaic tiles from Italy and floors inlaid with metals of contrasting colours.
As well as using modern material, the designer also takes old furniture and presents it in a more contemporary way, a good example being the use of his famous knotted chair as a wall decoration. 
Those guests looking to really savour every second of their stay can do so without ever having to leave the room. Breakfast is tailored to a guest’s specific requirements and can be left at the door and dinner can also be served in the suite.
 
Lute Rootz
 
Lute has also acquired a property in Limmen (North-Holland), his place of birth and where, 20 years earlier, his parents once ran their local village café. Now converted into a stylish restaurant, Lute Rootz is run by a team trained to mirror the style of the Lute Suites and restaurant in Ouderkerk. Lute Rootz, however, is simpler in design and offers a more compact menu. The aim is to instil young people with the knowledge and passion for the hotel and restaurant industry and provide them with the necessary grounding so that they may one day progress to the Lute Restaurant.
 
PRACTICAL INFORMATION
 
Lute Suites and Restaurant
Old Mill 5
1184 VW Ouderkerk a / d Amstel
Tel. : 020-4722462
www.lutesuites.com
 
Lute Rootz
Rijksweg 7
1906 BC Limmen
Tel. 072-5055373

At his restaurant in Ouderkerk on the Amstel River, chef Peter Lute has converted a row of former workers cottages dating back to 1740 into the Lute Suites, seven luxury suites, designed by renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, for guests wishing to stay overnight.

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