Have you ever imagined dining in a nursery that dates back to 1926? I did it during my last month living in Amsterdam and will be glad to share my experience in one of the healthiest and most beautiful restaurants I have ever been. Enjoy the ride!
De Kas is one of the most revolutionary dining experiences in the region. Yes, it may take 20 minutes to reach the restaurant, located in the Frankendael Park, from central Amsterdam, but once we arrive at this fantastic greenhouse nursery and once we can taste its fresh organic flavours… Done! We realize that each and every single minute was worth it.
In 2001, Michelin starred top chef Gert Jan Hageman found a new direction to his career. His dream was to work from a kitchen surrounded by fertile soil where herbs and vegetables would thrive, where daylight would shine in from all sides and, most important, where chefs would be free to express their creativity using the best ingredients that each season has to offer.
Gert Jan Hageman rescued the abandoned old Municipal nursery from demolition to turn its 30-foot glass building into a unique restaurant.
Nowadays, De Kas is one of the most celebrated eateries in Holland and more than 50.000 guests dine in the property every year.
The restaurant has its own greenhouses and garden next to the property, where vegetables, herbs and edible flowers are grown. In addition, there is a large field about 10 kilometres from Amsterdam in the Beemster region, where other types of vegetables are cultivated outdoors.
The founder is responsible for the nursery while the chefs and wait staff also collaborate. It is definitely not uncommon to spot the chefs collecting fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden right in front of guests’s tables.
From May to October, guests are welcome to tour the nursery and garden in Amsterdam or attend a workshop in the field in the Beemster led by the green brigade.
Whatever ingredients that are not locally produced (as meat and fish, for example) will be bought from sustainable suppliers that are mentioned in the restaurants’s website.
A farm-based organic dining experience brings vegetables from land to tables within 24 hours of harvesting for a daily prix-fixe menu: 3 or 4 dishes for lunch and 5 dishes for dinner. There is no à la carte ordering and vegetarian menus are also available.
The menu gets renewed every day, based on what is available in the local nursery. And as one can expect, fresh local vegetables play an important role in the kitchen. Vegetable dishes are served in combination with meat or fish from local sustainable suppliers. The presentation is beautiful, and the flavours light and exciting.
We had the 4 courses menu for lunch and it was delicious, so fresh and tasty that no words can make justice to what we experienced. Portions are quite rich. So we are definitely not talking about “petit cuisine” in this restaurant.
As an amuse bouche, we had some colourful tomatoes from the garden with a special sauce, followed by the best zucchini of my life, then cauliflower with white wine and butter sauce, the fish of the day and plum, cream cheese and cardamon ice cream as a dessert. Everything was so yummy that my mom asked if they would be serving the same the other day so she could return. Hahahahahahaha! Presentation was also really nice, simple and pretty – the smell sooo fresh. Perfect!
We didn’t drink wine but the selection is great – there are more than 40 wines to choose from and a sommelier to help with your choice.
We had the pleasure to meet the founder of De Kas during our visit while he was working in the garden – he was very sympathetic and politely took some time to talk to us and to explain about his project/vision. During this short conversation it became clear to me that De Kas is the passion of his life. I believe this absolute dedication is responsible for yielding such amazing results at each and every table.
Before creating De Kas, Gert Jan Hageman was responsible for the starred Amsterdam restaurant Vermeer, where he received one Michelin star. He left everything and a very promising career behind to follow his dreams at De Kas.
Aagje de Vries is the maître/sommelier and Jos Timmer & Wim de Beer are the chefs-de-cuisine. All of them have worked in very respected restaurants in the Netherlands.
We were three people for lunch: Me, my mom and my husband. We had seen pictures of the restaurant before but none of them really prepared us for reality. What a beautiful place!!!!
Uber drove us to a park, where we crossed a little bridge and walked in between the trees to find stunning De Kas. I thought: “Wow! This is totally my type of place” and until now I can not understand how people ever thought about demolishing such a beautiful and authentic building.
For lunch, if the weather is nice, guests are seated on a terrace, with an amazing view to the vegetables and herbs garden – this is where the young and relaxed staff seated us on a beautiful sunny Thursday. At night people sit inside the beautiful glass nursery, which is also breathtaking.
We had the complete program: the 4 courses lunch menu, a meeting with the founder and a tour with the chef. So cool! The chef took us to the “secret” garden, where we ate exquisite tomatoes from the trees as well as beautiful and tasty flowers. Also, while we were having lunch, we saw the chefs looking for ingredients in the garden. Finally, we were able to visit the extra modern kitchen and observe a bit of the action.
Inside the kitchen there is a cool chef’s table and you guys know I love it, right?! Nevertheless, I am not sure this would be my choice in this restaurant because all the other areas are so pretty and special that I would leave the chef’s table for another opportunity (maybe a second or third visit).
The ambience is very elegant and relaxed/young at the same time – the focus is totally on food!
As I mentioned above, EVERYTHING we ordered was delicious and cooked to perfection with great attention to detail. Staff was really nice and able to help us with some food restrictions.
Finally, it was such an amazing experience. My only regret is that I took so long to finally visit this place. It is fantastic in every single sense.
Unique. Stylish. Either if you sit inside the huge glass house with exposed ventilation ducts (more romantic) or outside on the terrace with the view (and the smell) of the garden, the feeling is going to be amazing. Lots of light, spacious, flowers… Make sure you explore a bit around as the gardens really deserve a visit.
During our lunch we saw a couple celebrating a wedding with family and friends in a separate area and I have to admit that I was even a bit jealous. What a nice place for such a celebration. The chef told us that it is a “famous” venue for weddings and events in Amsterdam and I can clearly see why.
Reservations are highly recommended and you can reserve a table here.
Seeing all these pictures and thinking about this place makes me want to click on the link above and reserve a table for tomorrow. Haha!
I hope you enjoyed the read and that you are travelling with me at @marineira on Instagram.