A Dutch restaurant has come up with an idea on how to offer classy outdoor dining in the age of coronavirus: small glass cabins built for two or three people, creating intimate cocoons on a public patio.
Waiters wear gloves and transparent face shields, and use a long board to bring dishes into the glass cabins to ensure minimal physical contact with customers.
While the concept is currently being trialed only for family and friends of staff from the ETEN restaurant, which is part of the Mediamatic arts centre, it certainly looks glamorous, as diners enjoy candle-lit meals with a waterside view.
“It’s super-cosy, it’s really cosy, it’s nice and the food is delicious,” said Janita Vermeulen, who was invited to a trial dinner with her roommate.
Organisers call the project ‘Serres Séparées’ (Separate Greenhouses) because they say it sounds better in French.
“We are now learning how to do the cleaning, how to do the service, how to get the empty plates out again in an elegant way, so you still feel taken care of nicely,” said Willem Velthoven of Mediamatic.
Dutch restuarants are closed to the public until at least May 19, though kitchens may operate for takeaway.
The Netherlands’ restaurant association KNH has said that even if restaurants are allowed to reopen at limited capacity and with safety measures in place, many face financial ruin if social distancing rules are maintained.
The Dutch government was expected to lay out a roadmap later on Wednesday for how and when it may begin loosening restrictions.