Boasting an on-site nursery and nearby farm, De Kas serves up an ever-changing menu of fresh creations, all harvested that very morning and presented in style.
Any chef will tell you, that the fresher the ingredients, the better the meal tastes. It is this simple idea that sits at the heart of De Kas, a restaurant/garden/nursery located in the heart of Amsterdam. The food here literally could not be any fresher as it is grown either on site in the greenhouses, or on their farm 10 kilometers outside of the city. The day’s harvest is then cooked up by De Kas’ chefs to create an ever changing selection of culinary delights.
They could not have chosen a more appropriate location for their restaurant. It occupies what used to be Amsterdam’s municipal nursery and the building itself dates back to 1926. This set of greenhouses and gardens then, has a long history of producing fresh fruit. vegetables, and herbs. While it is slightly outside of the city center, it is still easily accessible by tram, taxi, or Uber. Aside from providing a space to grow the food, these buildings are also architecturally beautiful – it really is a lovely place to be! You can eat inside the light, open greenhouses, or do as well did and take advantage of good weather and sit outside in the garden.
After lunch, we took a walk around the nursery to see what they were producing. There were various types of tomato, cucumbers, flowers, and other plants all thriving thanks to the love and care they receive from De Kas’ staff. No wonder the food had tasted so good. As we walked back through the greenhouse, everywhere we looked was green punctuated by red heirloom tomatoes and yellow sunflowers. Although we were still in Amsterdam, it felt like we had travelled to an oasis of peaceful farmland.
De Kas is the child of Gert-Jan Hageman, previously the head chef at the Michelin stared Vermeer. To help him create his vision he brought in Bas Wiegel and Jarno van den Broek, two highly respected Dutch chefs. Hageman, oversees the nursery while Wiegel and van den Broek run the kitchen. Every day they create a new menu based on what has been picked that day, meaning you are unlikely to get the same dish twice. You are guaranteed however, to eat great food, harvested just hours ago.
While the specifics change, the overall style is inspired by the cuisine of the rural Mediterranean region. It goes without saying that vegetables play a big role in their meals, but fish and meat is brought in from local suppliers. We ordered a starter of Sourdough with beetroot and olives, before moving on to a selection of small dishes. These included a salad made up of aubergine, blue cheese, and Frankenthaler grapes, chilled celery soup with apple and vanilla oil, and red gurnard with gherkin tsatsiki. The highlight was roasted pork back served with baked plums, roasted cashew nut crème, and potato puree. For dessert we had chocolate pecan tart with caramelized beetroot and basil yoghurt ice cream. All of it was excellent and presented elegantly. You could really taste the freshness in food.
With such attention and passion paid to the growing and preparing of their food, you might think that the atmosphere would perhaps be formal and high class, in fact the opposite is true. De Kas is a friendly, comfortable and relaxed place. The staff are welcoming and accommodating, and the chefs are happy to accommodate any dietary preferences you might have – they will adapt their dishes to suit vegetarians for example.
Overall, De Kas is a great place to visit for those looking for a peaceful escape from the city with friends. Of course, it will especially appeal to those who take an active interest in the production of their food. At the end of the day though, I can honestly say that I think most people would enjoy a meal here, after all, who doesn’t love great tasting, fresh food?
For more information about De Kas, please visit their website: