Amsterdam – At the time of writing, it’s the 26th of March: my boyfriend’s birthday. Under normal circumstances, we would go for a way-too-fancy dinner at one of Amsterdam’s many hospitality venues. But it’s not a normal day. Far from. It’s day number ‘I-stopped-counting’, after the Dutch government put much-needed social distancing rules in place and many bars and restaurant were forced to shut their doors. As a result, my reservation at the i29-designed restaurant at the newly renovated Felix Meritis building – forced to close even before its official opening – got cancelled a few days ago. Inevitably and understandably, but also unfortunately so. Having takeaway delivered to our doorstep instead just doesn’t feel as celebratory. Perhaps I could cook myself? After all, the ‘Support your Locals’ box – an initiative that enables households like mine to order a package full of quality produce from food entrepreneurs that normally serve the hospitality industry – just arrived.
I soon realize that just because I have restaurant-worthy products, doesn’t mean I suddenly have restaurant-worthy cooking skills. But then, during one of my shockingly elongated Instagram scroll sessions (I’m carefully ignoring my screen time app these days), I came across a photo of Michelin-starred chef Joris Bijdendijk dressed in Deliveroo blue. ‘Crisis also makes us creative,’ stated the corresponding post. ‘We understand that some of our guests prefer staying at home, therefore RIJKS (the restaurant of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum) starts a delivery service from Monday.’ There it was. The solution! Clearly I wasn’t the only one enthusiastic about this move. At the end of that very same week – yes, on my phone again, or still – I couldn’t say, I read the restaurant’s next message: ‘Yesterday night we had over 1,000 meals on order only before six o’clock. Unfortunately the system crashed and we had to shut it down.’ Apparently, besides those raiding the supermarket shelves, there are high-cuisine hoarders, too. Luckily for me – and true to their own statement about creativity in times of crisis – a new system was quickly put in place by the team at RIJKS. So, I picked a time slot and hopped on my bike to pick up the three-course meal and accompanying wine.
Now, the interior of RIJKS is designed by Paul Linse and my 50-sq-m Amsterdam apartment by, well... me and my birthday boyfriend. Decorated, I mean – designed would be a bit of an overstatement. But even though we sit on Muuto chairs instead of comfortably upholstered seats, and my tableware is an eclectic mix of Ikea-meets-thrift shop-meets-Hay-meets my late-grandmother, recreating the restaurant atmosphere isn’t hard. In fact, it’s made easier than ever. The top-tier takeaway comes with a letter that includes tips to make your dining room cosier, and a QR code to the restaurant’s Spotify playlist compiled by bartender Rik, to which you can shamelessly dance without spectators. In a series of Youtube videos shot at the restaurant, Bijdendijk personally introduces every dish. He even sticks around a little longer during dessert, discussing the challenges of having the kids home from school. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen on every physical visit! I can definitely get used to this. But if I do, perhaps I should consider adopting one of those at-home gym classes next. Sadly, they don’t speak to me as much… the snack-box of our favourite local wine bar will soon arrive instead!
To stay up to date on design-industry happenings during this time, sign up for our newsletter here.