RESTAURANT EUROPA ZAANDAM
Het Hem in Zaandam is a new cultural center on a former ammunition site. The founders of streetwear brand Patta curated an exhibition, there is an underground music bar and Restaurant Europa has opened its doors there.
Restaurant Europa is a project of five men who met while working at the same restaurant in Amsterdam years ago. They remained friends and worked at other restaurants such as Bak and Hotel de Goudfazant before opening a pop-up restaurant. And now, with their new restaurant at Het Hem, they can stay for at least two years.
You have to improvise when you want to open a restaurant in a large industrial warehouse like this. Dimitri Mathijs, one of the owners and chef, shows me around in their kitchen with two induction plates, work tables on trestles and one with an open fire on it and various kinds of meats hanging above it to dry. You’ll also notice the huge oven made by Dirk 3000, who also made the big pizza oven for FC Hyena.
The tables at bar height are placed around the open fire, so as a guest you can watch the chefs prepare your dishes. By doing so, there’s much more interaction between guest and chef. “Normally chefs are tucked away in a kitchen, but here,” Dimitri says, “it feels like the curtains open at 7 pm and the show starts.” They serve an 8-course menu for those who like meat or fish, but they also have vegetarian options: “The entrecote is good, but the mushroom tamales is even more special.”
The vintage wine cabinet was found on this site and has only natural wines in it. Plus a wild fermented beer from Nevel from Nijmegen (very good and refreshing for the summer). The dishes are served on tableware from The Bird Tsang, a ceramics studio from Amsterdam, who also deliver to Relae in Copenhagen. The art above the bar is by Frederik van der Molen, who had his studio here before. If you walk around the moving installation of RAAAF made of recycled bullets, you can still see some of his sketches on the wall.
Check out: www.europa.rest