This month, we’ve taken a look at Symphony’s Brasserie, one of the shining lights of Amsterdam’s outer-city culinary scene.
Amsterdam certainly is one of those quaint places; one that has all the benefits of a big city, with the atmosphere of a small village. While it is a place that rewards exploration, it is also a place that facilitates comfort zones, especially within the confines of the old neighbourhoods. Weeks can be spent without venturing further than the limits of one’s local pub, restaurant, or café. Traditionally, the inner-city is the place to be.
But times are changing, and Amsterdam is continually growing. Steadily, more and more locals, both native and expat, are starting to venture into the world beyond the old city. The Zuidas, a district which is also known as ‘The Financial Mile’, is the location of the World Trade Centre, and Amsterdam’s equivalent to Canary Wharf in London, or La Défense in Paris. The station at the centre of the district, Amsterdam Zuid, which is only about fifteen-minutes from the old centre, is the focus of plans to make it Amsterdam’s second main station. Indeed, this district is doing things. A hub of professional activity, abuzz all through the week, it has also become an attractive option for an evening out.
As a result of this growth, some places are just now beginning to make their mark in the area and Symphony’s Brasserie is one of them. A short walk from Amsterdam Zuid station, this is one of those places that gives a big impression from the outside, but then continues to surprise you once you’ve entered.
A lot of imagination has been put into Symphony’s and the quality of interior design and appearance is high. The big first impression is that it is classy and eloquent, but those adjectives don’t quite do the job in conveying the warmth and welcoming nature that it also exudes. A lot of this definitely comes down to the efforts of the staff.
According to Corinne de Groot, Symphony’s manager, the ethos is one that ensures the happiness of the staff, which translates into a more dynamic eating experience. It is one of those places where the employees clearly enjoy telling you about the food and wine. Gies, one of Symphony’s floor managers, says that his job is about giving “some of my positive energy. That’s my goal.” The staff members are into it, and they’re proud of what they produce, in terms of a complete experience for the diner.
What this also amounts to is that Symphony’s is actually very open and welcoming to everyone, including families. The idea is to have a good experience and ‘the only important thing is quality.”
Wine is a much favoured topic of conversation with the Symphony’s staff. They know their list and they revel in the broad and international nature of it. New Zealand, South Africa and Chilé all feature, and expats from these places will definitely enjoy revisiting the tastes of their homelands. If the sun is shining, there could be few better places than Symphony’s terrace to enjoy a glass or two. If you can’t decide from the depth of their list, the engaging staff won’t hesitate to elaborate.
So that brings us to the big question. What is the food like? Well, Symphony’s is not trying to do anything spectacularly avant-garde. Their food is not about fusion or experimentation; it is about providing the best quality of what people know. A salad is still a salad, but it will be an excellent salad, with just a few little convergent and complimentary twists within. Think salmon tartar with smoked tempura eel – Beautiful.
Fish is a big mover for Symphony’s, as is sea-food in general. Mussels and salmon are both regulars, but the chefs also get free reign to branch out with any special catches that come in. Often, you’ll have the opportunity to feast on the chef’s bass or plaice.
This doesn’t go to the detriment of land-food, and the bridge is gapped by a surf n’ turf spectacular – veal medallions with smoked salmon. In fact, the abilities and adaptability of Symphony’s chefs are not limited by the menu. Custom menus can be catered to the particular needs of groups, including specific dietary requirement, and emailed to the customers beforehand. As de Groot states, “Everything is possible”.
Symphony’s also provides a perfect place for private functions, and is open for bookings. This gives the staff an opportunity to convey their own enjoyment in satisfying both celebratory and professional groups, which they will do gladly. Indeed, Symphony’s flexibility derives from their aims to satisfy and fulfil, which they do impeccably.
Symphony’s is an a la carte restaurant, and a three course meal will only cost you €32.50 per person. For the quality,experience and general satisfaction, it’s a very reasonable price to pay for something so new and fresh, at a venue that is leading the way in this up and coming part of the city.