AMSTERDAM – What do you do after establishing a successful fish restaurant? Refreshingly, instead of opening another one, Michiel Deenik decided to turn his hand to something else. An ode to meat, The Roast Room is the chef’s new temple, just spitting distance from Visaandeschelde, his original venture in Amsterdam South. The newer place shares the same dedication to quality dining as its predecessor and, perhaps more relevant for Frame, the same design team.
Studios Modijefsky and Molen have once again combined forces to provide a completely bespoke interior. ‘We complement each other nicely,’ says Esther Stam of Studio Modijefsky. ‘My team handles the interior, and Fred does all the art and sculptures.’ Fred is Frederik Molenschot of Studio Molen, whose CL-Fata Morgana chandelier found its way to the pages of Frame 99.
‘We wanted the space to feel comfortable and not too overdesigned, even though it is,’ says Stam. Molenschot clarifies: ‘I wouldn’t say it’s overdesigned. We’ve simply paid close attention to detail – everywhere.’ The level of craftsmanship is impressive, to say the least: each area of the restaurant is distinguished by its own graphics, colour scheme and materials. Every lamp is handmade, each tile was cut and glazed by hand, the 500-litre copper beer barrels were commissioned especially for this project, and the list goes on.
Our tour begins downstairs in The Roast Bar, where everything is open and communal, from tables to unisex toilets. But it’s the open-plan butchery by the entrance that really captures the imagination. It was made by a shipbuilder, one of a series of artisans who contributed to the restaurant’s interior design. Emboldened by the challenge of applying his skills to a new environment, he incorporated a ship’s wheel that winches up the butchery window, allowing diners to view cuts of meat being hacked and prepared right in front of them.
We make our way to the first floor via a butcher’s block-inspired staircase. Here we enter the Rotisserie, where the emphasis on fine dining is reflected in dark wood, leather and gold tones. The rarefied atmosphere is enhanced by subtle lighting that is unlike the lamps downstairs, which resemble cans in the kitchen and bowler hats in the bar. Lighting in the Rotisserie has been upgraded to top-hat status.
All this only begins to scratch the surface of an interior rich in design features and stories. As we leave, Molenschot wonders whether I’ll manage to remember everything we’ve discussed. Fortunately, I’ve diligently recorded the whole conversation, but even if I hadn’t, I doubt that a visit to The Roast Room is an experience that’s easily forgotten.
This article debuted in Frame #105 alongside many other inspirational interviews and projects. Find your copy here.
Photos Maarten Willemstein