Among the simple pleasures that people seem to miss most about pre-pandemic life—in addition to concerts, sports, travel, etc.—is dining out. Just enjoying a nice meal out with some friends or a partner, in a soothing and comfortable environment. Though many restaurants are staying afloat by offering takeout and delivery options, getting semi-congealed food in styrofoam or cardboard boxes just doesn’t compare to a chef’s plating.
So to give customers an authentic dining experience, a new project from the ETEN restaurant at the Mediamatic arts center in Amsterdam has come up with an innovative approach that’s seemingly safe for both diners and staff. Serres Séparées, which is French for “separate greenhouses,” is hosting private, candle-lit dinners in individual glass enclosures along the waterfront.
Servers at Serres Séparées wear protective gear including transparent face shields and gloves—and bring the four-course, plant-based meals to the glass cabins using long boards to ensure minimal physical contact with customers.
The concept was initially given a trial run for family and friends of the ETEN staff, but it immediately proved to be so popular that reservations are already completely booked through June.
“In these times we are reinspired by contamination precautions and the redesign of togetherness,” reads a statement on Mediamatic’s website. “Our greenhouses protect you from the outside and others while offering you a unique experience of intimate dining.”
“It’s super-cozy, it’s really cozy, it’s nice and the food is delicious,” one diner named Janita Vermeulen, who had been invited to a trial dinner with her roommate, told Reuters.
The cost of dinner for two is €100 (about $108 in U.S. currency). However the restaurant will also accommodate parties of three for an addition (or discount, for solo diners) of €40 at the door—for those who already have reservations booked, of course.