Restaurant ‘De Waag’ has a unique location. ‘Waag’, the Dutch word for ‘scales’, reveals the building’s historic purpose: this was the weighing house, where local merchants once bustled about with their wares. Today it’s just a question of fine wines and great food. The formidable set of scales that hang from the ceiling date back to 1647.
They’re the silent testimony to an era in which this weighing house was the local hot spot of trade and commerce. The impressive dusky interior walls and the wooden beams are all original features. That they’ve survived is a small miracle if you consider to which ends the building had been squandered during the 20th century: a brief period as a theatre was followed by a time as a parking facility for bicycles.
Tourists come in here mouths gaping, and some stumble at the stone steps
In 1999 the building was restored and since 2006 Dylan Coll has been proprietor of the establishment. ‘This place is the dream-café for every kid who wanted to go into the restaurant business,’ Coll tells us. “Talk about charisma and ambience. Tourists come in here mouths gaping, and some stumble at the stone steps because they’re so busy looking up and around.
‘Running a restaurant in an old building like this isn’t always easy. Its Monument status does limit one’s options. My kitchen staff, for instance, would love to have a roomier work-space.’ The challenge involves maintaining the unique historic atmosphere and being an excellent restaurant at the same time. In oppose to Amsterdam or The Hague, Delft’s locals are critical about where they go out, and they’ll complain right away if disappointed. ‘This isn’t a bad thing, because it keeps us on our toes.’ One glance at the cutlery pouches will confirm this open-to-criticism attitude: you’ll find three feedback questions printed there.