De Plantage, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam’s historic zoo – a wild idyll in the city with a misty Dutch polder landscape – has just had a makeover and the showpiece of the redesign is de Plantage, the café-restaurant helmed by local chef Koen van Brunschot. Housed in an enormous 1870 orangery, with a six-metre ficus tree at its centre, the venue has a grand scale made intimate by Paul Linse of local design practice Studio Linse. ‘Noble simplicity’ was Linse’s goal, and the bleached-wood flooring, paired with sleek black seating, marble countertops and tan leather banquettes, puts the focus on the extraordinary verdigris buttresses, vast arched windows and vaulted ceiling. The bistro menu is a Mediterranean affair featuring a pink-centred bavette, squid risotto and Basque fish soup. There is also the odd reference to the menagerie outside: van Brunschot’s killer wild boar ravioli, for instance, is a favourite.