To start, there were crusty breads, basil olive oil, pickled cucumber, and giant, juicy green olives.
Restaurant De Kas
Add: Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, 1097 DE Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 462 45 62
Hours: [lunch] 12-2pm [dinner] 6:30-10pm (Closed on Sunday)
Price: [lunch] €37.50 for 2 courses [dinner] €49.50 for 3 courses
“A kitchen surrounded by fertile soil where vegetables and herbs thrive, where daylight shines in from all sides and where the chefs are free to express their creativity daily using the best the season has to offer.” This, is Restaurant De Kas, a unique dining space serving beautiful dishes of fresh vegetables harvested each morning from their very own herb garden and farm. Love the concept? Read on.
Restaurant De Kas is located in the outskirts of Amsterdam and it takes approximately 30 minutes to reach by tram from Central Station. Once we arrived, however, I knew it was worth the travel. The 8-metre high glass conservatory provides spectacular views during the day with ample sunlight, and I can only dream about how enchanting it must appear when illuminated at night.
De Kas has its own greenhouses and garden near the restaurant, where they grow Mediterranean vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. They also have a large field about 10 kilometres from Amsterdam for seasonal vegetables, which are harvested at sunrise everyday so that guests can enjoy the freshest possible ingredients. Whatever they can’t produce themselves, they buy it from other environment-friendly farms around the city.
As the weather was glorious on the day of our visit, lunch was served on the outdoor patio right by the herb garden. Long after the meal, a whiff of fresh mint or a hint of basil would still transport me back to this lovely, sun-dappled patio…
The prie fixe lunch menu (€37.50) says “two courses”, but it really was a 4-course affair of three appetizers and one main course. All the appetizers came beautifully adorned with edible flowers, but unfortunately they were more a feast for the eyes than for the palate. While none of the dishes was bad, none of them really stood out as memorable either. First there was oyster with basil and currant granite:
Lemon cucumber with eggplant, feta, mint, and fried zucchini flowers.
Runner beans in Iberico ham with confit onions, pickles, and flower pods.
Then came a plate of simple green salad to accompany the main course.
But I was absolutely charmed by the main course, hake with lobster, fennel, gnocchi peas and old Ijsselstein sauce. A cascade of flower petals flowing down the hake, which was delicious on its own but even better when accompanied by the lobster, gnocchi peas, and a slightly stinky (it’s the cheese…) Ijsselstein sauce.
Desserts are not included in the prie fixe menu but is available as a la carte orders (€8.50). Dessert of the day was cherries with olive oil, chocolate nemesis, cherry sorbet and rose petals. With each mouthful, the layered sweet and sour flavors did enthusiastic somersaults on my tongue. Beautiful, delicious, bring me another bowl!
The kitchen sent us two pastries even though we were only supposed to get one to accompany the solo cup of coffee, which leads me to the service part – it was friendly and smooth throughout the meal. The waitress even volunteered to translate and print out the menu (originally in Dutch) for me to take home with.
After the meal, we lounged in our chairs doing absolutely nothing other than admiring the well-manicured herb garden and taking in its perfumed air.
De Kas also has a separate room for private dinners, a “business table” for the business folks (?), and a chef’s table inside the kitchen for those willing to splurge a little and be right where the actions are. Check their website for details.
Gorgeous glass house, sunny patio, fragrant herb garden…it’s hard not to fall in love with Restaurant De Kas despite the little hiccups in the appetizers. I hope to be back again soon.