LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW
Monday, January 7, 2019
Johanneke van Iwaarden
LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW
by Meryem Aksoy
In Restaurant BREDA, guests can experience modern international cuisine and over a hundred varieties of wines, as well as the lifestyle of BREDA. Going to Restaurant BREDA is like opening a gift package that you don't know what's inside, the chef's selection welcomes you. Trust to the chef, live the experience. I talked with Johanneke van Iwaarden, Co-Owner of Restaurant BREDA, about the story and the concept of Restaurant BREDA.
Guillaume de Beer, Freek van Noortwijk, Johanneke van Iwaarden
Johanneke, before talking about Restaurant BREDA, could you tell us about yourself?
I am Johanneke van Iwaarden, co-owner of Restaurant BREDA. I started this restaurant with two friends Guillaume de Beer and Freek van Noortwijk.
What inspired you to establish Restaurant BREDA in Amsterdam?
The three of us grew up in a city in the south of the Netherlands called BREDA. Here people enjoy the Burgundy lifestyle. We wanted to bring this experience to the capital of the Netherlands by serving high-quality food and wines in a relaxed environment.
Could you tell us about Restaurant BREDA and the overall concept?
At Breda, we mainly work with Dutch produce. We serve a chef’s menu from 5 to 9 courses, during lunchtime you can enjoy a 3 to 5 course meal. The dishes look deceptively simple, because we only use 3 or 4 items on a plate, but we want the dishes to stand out in flavour. To accompany the menu, we serve a wine pairing in which we use a lot of natural wines.
Could you tell us about the Chef?
The kitchen chef is Manus Melchers and the executive chef is Guillaume de Beer. Guillaume is half French and worked in several Michelin star restaurants. He has his own style and is very creative. He creates - together with his chefs - the dishes for Restaurant BREDA, but also for our three other restaurants Guts & Glory and Maris Piper Brasserie and Maris Piper Chef’s Table.
What can your guests find at Restaurant BREDA?
Next to good food and wines we think service is really important. People should have the perfect night when they come to Breda. We are housed in an old cheese warehouse on the canals with high ceilings and wooden beams. The building is on the oldest canal in Amsterdam: the Singel. It is a typically Amsterdam building with a warm atmosphere. The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed. It is everything except fancy and stiff dining.
How could you define the gastronomic diversity of Amsterdam? What are the most popular and traditional dishes and drinks in Dutch cuisine?
The last ten years Amsterdam’s gastronomic diversity is growing really fast. A lot of young chefs are really putting Amsterdam on the culinary map. A Dutch delicacy is herring. Traditionally you eat it raw with onions and pickles. Also at the moment, the first course at BREDA is with herring, but then we serve it a bit different with kohlrabi, cauliflower cream and green strawberries.
Could you tell us about your menu?
At BREDA you need to trust the chef’s since it is a surprise menu. Off course you can let us know if there is anything you don’t like or can’t eat, but overall you don’t know what to expect. It always well balanced and mainly with Dutch produce. In our other restaurant Guts & Glory we have more international cuisine and at Maris Piper Brasserie we serve a classic Brasserie menu with a British touch.
What is the importance of wine in Restaurant BREDA? Could you tell us about the wines that you offer?
Our wine list recently got a very good reward from an important wine magazine, so we are really pleased with that. Elske Mostert is the wine director of our hospitality group (HGB), she makes the wine lists for all our companies. They all have their different style that suits the restaurants. At BREDA we serve wines from all over the world, but the focus is on Europe. In the wine pairing, we use mainly natural wines, but the wine list is a mix of natural wines, biologic, biologic dynamic, and classics from the well-known houses.
How often do you change up your menu? What are you paying attention to while selecting new drinks and dishes for your new menu?
Every two weeks we change one or 2 dishes. Within 2 months the complete menu has changed. For inspiration, we travel a lot. Before opening BREDA, Guillaume, Freek and I went to Paris to try restaurants that inspired us. Over the last three years, we have been to Barcelona, Japan, Taiwan, London, Thailand, Hong Kong, Belgium, and Germany. When you travel you get so many new ideas. We also do a lot of wine tours together with our staff. To discover new wines, we have been to Sonoma and Napa, France, Spain, Italy and we even did a tour through the Netherlands and discovered that we actually have some really good winemakers in our own country!
Which dishes and drinks are your customer's favorite?
Because of the surprise menu, it is difficult to say which dish is our customers favourite, but if guest enjoys our “Full Monty” menu, they get the full treatment and always leave really happy!
Amsterdam has lots of restaurants. How does Restaurant BREDA differentiate itself from other restaurants in Amsterdam?
Because of our background (Freek and Guillaume are chefs and I worked front of the house and as a sommelier) we care about the total package. From food to wine and from service to atmosphere. Everything is evenly important to us. We want to blow you away with flavours and we want you to feel relaxed with whichever company you come to our restaurant. You can have your business lunch at our restaurant or meet your mother in law, everybody should feel at ease. We have a fantastic team behind us with only passionate people and that is I think the most important asset to succeed in our business.
How do you describe Amsterdam in one sentence?
Amsterdam is a lively, bubbling capital with a village character.
How can our readers find Restaurant BREDA when they visit Amsterdam?
We are suited in the city centre at the canal just behind Dam square (where the royal palace is). It is also just around the corner of the hip shopping area ‘the nine streets’.
Singel 210, 1016 AB, Amsterdam
What do you think about the importance of social media for restaurants?
Social media is important for us to reach people from different countries and to show them what we are doing. We are really proud to be asked by Bontena to do this interview. When your readers like what they read they can see more of the restaurant because of social media! That is really valuable to us.
How can our readers follow Restaurant BREDA?
Restaurant BREDA: restaurantbreda
Maris Piper: marispiperbrasserie
Chef’s Table: marispiperchefstable
Guts & Glory: gutsgloryamsterdam
Anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked?
We would be honoured to welcome your readers and it would be great to guide them through Amsterdam with a tour of our restaurants. All of them are located in different area’s of Amsterdam, so by visiting them, you see a great deal of the city! In Amsterdam West, there is a Foodmarket, which is great to visit. Here we also have our Pita concept. Where we serve kebab from free-range chicken and white bean falafel: www.pita-amsterdam.com.
Thank you Johanneke for this delicious interview.