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Restaurant review: Lotti’s, Amsterdam

Anisha Patel
06 August 2016

With cool Dutch design, the interiors are almost a distraction from the food at this casual canal-side eatery – but with a Soho House and Co chef at its helm, the no-nonsense menu is also a crowd pleaser, as Anisha Patel discovers

THE LOWDOWN:
Dutch food hasn’t historically had the best reputation – unless your idea of a great meal is deep-fried beige food smothered in mayo curry sauce. Still, you can’t go wrong in the Dutch capital, where well-travelled chefs are continuously knocking up the city’s Michelin star count.

Filling the gap between those haute hangouts and tourist trap cafés is Lotti’s, the bustling all-day café-slash-restaurant in the Hoxton Amsterdam, which sits pretty on the Herengracht canal in five converted canal houses – including one that belonged to a former 17th-century Amsterdam mayor. The hotel’s first outpost outside of London attracts similarly hip crowds – imagine creative types nursing flat whites by day/cocktails by night while tapping away on their Macbook Airs and you’re halfway there.

I’m instantly sold on its slick Dutch design, which manages to fuse both comfort and style in an unpretentious way: chunky brick tiles adorn the walls, a spiral wooden staircase leads up to an impossibly cool mezzanine library, and there is an enviable collection of Chesterfield sofas in an array of upholsterings, from mustard velvet to distressed tan leather.

Distracted by the design, we almost forget what we are really here for: food, or more specifically, lunch. Lotti’s is run in partnership with the Soho House group, with South African chef Chris Haingard at its helm, so you can expect the same ‘no-nonsense food done well’ ethos. It’s not easy to categorise the menu – while it’s largely European, there’s more than a little Italian accent, a nod to the USA (hello, mac ‘n’ cheese) and a light sprinkling of ‘made in the Netherlands’ (Bresola-like nagel hout, Dutch gin) for good measure. The Soho House affiliation also means that you can expect exceedingly good (if not slightly heady) cocktails. In need of an early-afternoon caffeine hit, we opt for espresso martinis.

The all-day menu will satisfy anyone looking for a leisurely lunch, casual dinner or canal-side snack. We kick off with a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes with creamy burrata, roasted pepper and basil (€10) and steak tartar (€11) – classic starters, but executed well nonetheless. Mains range from high-stacked burgers at a reasonable €10 (but you have to pay extra for fries or sides) to chunky pieces of octopus in a tomato and caper sauce. Our only gripe is with the lobster spaghetti spiked with chilli and garlic which, though perfectly tasty, at €20 was a little disappointing in the price-to-portion stakes. Saying that, our plates are spotless at the end of the meal – meaning the only thing we want to take away with us in a doggy bag is all of the furniture.

THE GOOD:
A pretty canal-side location that isn’t swarming with tourists.

The décor (of course). I wanted the number of the interior designer on my speed dial to revamp my whole flat.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD:
We were slightly disappointed that there weren’t more Dutch twists on the menu – a side of ‘posh’ croquettes would not have gone amiss.

The service was a little slow at times. Our drinks took 30 minutes to arrive – and that was before we got our food order in.

THE VERDICT:
A homely spot (albeit a very stylish home) for a leisurely canal-side lunch in the Dutch capital.

BOOK IT:
Lotti’s, Herengracht 255, 1016 BJ, Amsterdam (+31 (0)20 888 5500; lottis.com)