Fifteen years ago, Peter Lute achieved something spectacular when he opened his first restaurant, LUTE, in a former gunpowder factory in Amstelveen. Well, he’s certainly going to make headlines again with his new restaurant, “ARC. by LUTE”, located in a stunning historic building at the river Amstel where the Amsterdam city archives used to be stored.
Peter was asked to operate the restaurant in the new 5-star hotel, Pestana Amsterdam Riverside. “When I saw this location for the first time, it felt the same as fifteen years ago with the old gunpowder factory. The history, the atmosphere, the surroundings – pure magic! Everything simply fell into place”, says Peter Lute, sipping an espresso in the conservatory of De Kruidfabriek.
ARC., short for ‘archive’, will be an independent business within a hotel. It is fully owned by Lute and his team. “Apart from the restaurant, we’ll also do the food & beverage for this accommodation. That means room service and breakfast and the catering for events and business meetings”.
Perfect location for ARC. by LUTE
It’s definitely going to be something special. “We’re doing our best”, he smiles modestly. “The location is obviously a big plus. The building has so much style, the interior is designed by architect firm Linse and then there’s this beautiful tree in the garden. It was a deliberate choice to build the bar close to the tree in order to incorporate a natural element into the interior. And the berries from this tree are edible!”
‘I love working with different flavours, creating something beautiful with natural ingredients’
Every dish on the menu is carefully created by Lute and his team. “I love working with different flavours, making something beautiful with natural ingredients. And that’s exactly what we want to offer our guests here at ARC. – ‘new Dutch’ cooking with international influences, especially Portuguese cuisine as Pestana is a Portuguese company”, Peter explains.
The building also features a private dining room in the old meeting chamber of the former archives and a large room that’s big enough for 220 guests, ideal for conferences or weddings.
Make-over at LUTE
The launch of ARC. follows shortly after the make-over of LUTE restaurant and the opening last month of Soundbites, a restaurant above the entrance to the Ziggo Dome where people can have a quick meal before going to a concert, football match or theatre play. He already owned Explore, a wonderful events location, also situated in an old gunpowder factory, in the town of Muiden. Apparently, Peter and his wife Marieke were up for a new challenge.
“Explore and LUTE were both very successful but I really felt the need to do something new, especially with LUTE. Two years ago, I decided to the restaurant should undergo a metamorphosis.”
And that’s how De Kruidfabriek by LUTE came to existence. It’s a name with an intended pun: ‘kruit’ (gunpowder) and ‘kruid’ (herb) sound practically the same in Dutch. So it refers to the former gunpowder factory and Peter’s love of herbs. “Herbs offer such a profound flavour. Why is Asian cuisine so different from Indian cuisine? Because of the local herbs being used.”
Herbs from nature
Peter tries to use fresh, home-grown Dutch herbs whenever possible; sometimes these have literally been picked along the banks of the river Amstel. “There are so many useful plants and herbs growing by the roadside. Take wild garlic, for example. It grows all over Amstelveen and is available all year round: the young leaves give your dish a mild garlic taste, the white flowers are edible and the little bulbs can be used as well. It’s a fantastic herb”, he tells with enthusiasm.
Peter and Marieke are very happy with the new Kruidfabriek by Lute. “It is warm, cosy and grand at the same time. We even managed to extend capacity with an additional forty chairs. And that allows us to keep a lid on the prices of our dishes.”
These days, Peter is running four locations, all within a 10-minute drive from the Zuidas. That’s a different kettle of fish compared to running one thriving restaurant. “That’s right, but when we said ‘yes’ to Soundbites at the Ziggo Dome we knew we really needed to start growing. If you want to operate a professional business you can’t take half measures. So we’re really going full steam at all four locations.”
Does he have any time to cook at all, running four restaurants at the same time? “I still love to create new dishes with nice ingredients but I like my chefs to come up with their own ideas. I enjoy being a coach and mentor. With the four chefs we’re able to realize our ambitions and work at a higher level, and that really inspires me. So, yes: I’m still closely involved in putting together all the menus but I also like to take time to welcome my guests in person.”
De Kruidfabriek by LUTE
De Oude Molen 5
1184 VW Amstelveen
T 020 472 2462
ARC. by LUTE
1074 JA Amsterdam
T 020 472 2462
Soundbites by LUTE
De Passage 92
1101 AX Amsterdam
T 020 237 6343