A few weeks ago we started putting together our travel lust list, and we’ve just discovered a Dutch restaurant that we have added firmly to the top of the list. The restaurant is Das Kas, (translating as Dutch for greenhouse) and is located on the outskirts of Amsterdam, in the heart of Frankendael Park, which at one time housed the city’s municipal nurseries. Chef Gert Jan Hageman, who had earned a Michelin star in Dutch haute cuisine, spotted the dis-used greenhouse. He approached the city with the proposal and ended up buying it for just 1 Euro, which he renovated it completely into the restaurant it is today.
The restaurant menu features produce grown in the nearby fields, ten years ago the idea of sourcing local food was still a new restaurant concept. After lunch, diners can tour the on-site nurseries and gardens, and during the summer, tables are set up in the herb garden.
The 8 metre high greenhouse restaurant stands out as a majestic building in the park. The dining room is spacious and beautifully lit mature trees intersperse the tables. Every seat has a clear view of the garden, the sky and the semi-open kitchen, thanks to the glass ceilings and walls.
The restaurant has no “regular” menu. It changes constantly depending on what is fresh that day, they don’t even print the menus. Once you get seated at DeKas, the only question that is asked is whether anyone has dietary restrictions.
Chef Gert Jan Hageman sums up the nature of his restaurant as, “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. It seems an obvious concept, but I spent twenty years surrounded by white tiles under fluorescent lighting before I came up with it.”