De Kas, The Greenhouse, Amsterdam

De Kas, Amsterdam – The Greenhouse

Lemons, Limes and Mandarins in the 'orange grove'
Lemons, Limes and Mandarins in the ‘orange grove’

A last minute decision to meet an American friend in Amsterdam was an unexpected delight. Little did I know that an exceptional gastronomic experience was on the cards! If you fancy a weekend away and some amazing food then head for Amsterdam.

A short tram ride from the centre of town is the Frankendael Park. The old glass-house in the park now houses a fantastic restaurant. Half the space is filled with tables, chairs and a large open kitchen. The other is the greenhouse, the organic garden for the restaurant. As you are eating you’ll see the chefs popping out of the kitchen and into the garden area to pick herbs, select salad greens or even to pull up a couple of radish for a garnish. Light streams into the restaurant through the glass ceiling and the huge windows. Seated in the dining room, surrounded by grass, trees and flowers I had the impression of being in a warm and verdant oasis, with the noises of the city distant and muted. The feeling is warm, cosy and so relaxing.

The restaurant is called ‘De Kas’ which means greenhouse in Dutch. Each day the menu consists of the freshest, most seasonal dishes available. The waiters or the chefs deliver the dishes to the table. They are all friendly, knowledgable and helpful. They want to discuss the food with the guests and explain the provenance. They are generous with their time and happy to accommodate all dietary needs. One of the starters was a mouth-watering concoction of ‘cannelloni’ which appeared to be salmon wrapped around ricotta cheese and herbs. On inspection and having tasted it I realised that the salmon was in fact, thinly sliced carrot. The sweetest carrot imaginable. The combination of carrot and ricotta was perfect, fresh and unexpected – what a surprise. In season and delicious with zero food miles. The main course was a confit of duck, which was tender and full of flavour.

There are numerous wines available by the glass. I started with a delicious aged Verdicchio from Le Marche (one of my favourite regions of Italy). This was served with freshly baked breads from the kitchen and a selection of large olives. The olives do not grow in Holland, they are carefully selected and brought in from Italy by the owner at the beginning of each season. The restaurant has a piece of land in the countryside where they grow potatoes, onions and other produce for ‘De Kas’. All the food is carefully sourced and selected by the chefs.

My friends Mina and John Rose went for lunch at De Kas a few weeks ago. They kindly shared their photos with me. This is a wonderful dining experience in Amsterdam. I strongly recommend a visit.

 

‘De Kas’ is one of those restaurants where you arrive at one and leave at four and the time goes in the blink of an eye. I was wandering around the greenhouse before lunch, I spotted rhubarb, carrots, fennel, dill, parsley, radish, tomatoes, gourds and chard. There was an ‘orangerie’ section with limes, lemons and mandarins growing on very healthy-looking plants. Nasturtiums were growing in a hydroponic part of the garden with other herbs and edible flowers – I think they were violas. The garden area is right next door to the greenhouse and the chefs are in and out constantly. Picking a little bit of parsley, a small bunch of coriander. Tommy, one of the chefs, is British he came over four years ago from Manchester. He came for a year to see if he liked living and working in Holland, he is still here.

The restaurant has a dream-like quality to it. The location, atmosphere and food – are all truly magical. With thanks to Melissa McClain for the suggestion and the staff and chefs of ‘De Kas’ for a wonderful lunch.

www.restaurantdekas.nl

Herbs and Leaves growing in a water trough
Herbs and Leaves growing in a water trough
Gourds produced in the greenhouse
Gourds produced in the greenhouse

Notes:

 

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