In many European cities, restaurants have recently been allowed to reopen, often after a long, compulsive break due to the coronavirus pandemic. In reopening, they must fulfil strict conditions. Mediamatic, an Amsterdam art centre with a vegan restaurant, has given this some thought and found a charming solution: greenhouse dining.
Five small greenhouses, each furnished with a round bistro table and two chairs, now line the Oosterdok shoreline promenade in Amsterdam. This is where the restaurant of the Mediamatic art centre is testing a concept for socially distanced dining. Inspired by some restaurants’ small, private rooms where visitors can dine undisturbed, the designers call their greenhouses “serres séparées”. The small boxes on the water may not protect visitors from undesired glances, but they do offer shelter from wind, weather and viruses. Directly on the pier, guests enjoy an enchanting view over the water, the city and Renzo Piano’s Nemo Science Center.
Service staff wear black gloves and clear visors, behind which their friendly smiles remain visible. In order to ensure a safe distance of 1.5 m, they serve their 3- or 4-course meals on long wooden planks.
This dining concept is still awaiting approval from the authorities. However, the times from 21 May until 27 June, when reservations are possible, have already been booked. It was permitted for two people from the same household to reserve a table online; two time slots per evening were available. To ensure compliance with coronavirus restrictions, guests pay online in advance.
The concept is surely not viable for every restaurant. Nonetheless, it will provide an impulse to find further creative solutions for stylish, coronavirus-compliant dining.