The newly opened restaurant/lounge and late night bar The Gaia Amsterdam is heralded to become a new hotspot in the Dutch capital. Reason enough for me to go and try their menu and see the restaurant decor for myself. Both the menu and the interior design did not disappoint. The Gaia is located in a monumental building adjoining the NH Schiller hotel and on one of the most busiest squares in Amsterdam; the Rembrandt square. The Mediterranean style dishes are combined with Eastern influences and inspired by the five Chinese natural elements fire, water, earth, wood and metal. Chief Ayt Erdogan creates a menu that is modern and different with edgy combinations and surprising ingredients. I tried and tested the cocktails, a four-course dinner and as always I had a close look at the interior design. So let’s dive in!
The interior design
The interior design of The Gaia is from the hand of Lotz Interior Design & Styling. It combines contemporary design with art deco while respecting the historical elements like the stained glass windows and ceiling, wood-work and mural drawings. The restaurant, lounge area and bar are best described as city chic with a warm oriental colour scheme. They made use of rich fabrics and luxurious materials like velvet and leather to create an opulent ambiance. Most striking are the original art deco lamps which are modernized with coloured mood lighting that change hue throughout the evening to enhance the experience.
Dinner at The Gaia Amsterdam
At The Gaia you can opt for a 4 or 5 course menu or à la carte. We had the 4-course (surprise) cosmopolitan spice menu with a wide selection of Mediterranean flavours in a contemporary style. As arrivée bites we were served delicious toasts with smoked eel and blueberry and a crunchy with a tomato tapenade and pomegranate.
Next were two appetizers: a spicy curry with ginger, grilled carrot and a contemporary tzatziki with cucumber, herring caviar, Turkish yoghurt, smoked almond and hamachi (yellowtail fish). The presentation is exceptional, the combination of flavours and textures very interesting.
We also got to try the best flatbread and hummus ever! The bread came right of the skillet and is still warm and fluffy.
The entree was salmon sashimi with a cream of sea urchin, mustardseed, tubiko caviar, papadum, harissa, bonito, a lemon foam and red beet powder. This was my favourite dish of the evening.
The in-between course was halibut with a crunch of violet potato, a foam of Turkish tea and truffle. This was my least favourite as I thought it was a bit blunt and was lacking balance in the different flavours. However, the presentation was splendid.
The main dish was lovely again: veal with egg plant in two manners, alinazik compote, potato cream and veal gravy. The sauce was so good and the veal super soft and tender.
And last but not least, dessert! A savoury macaron with green tabil (Arabic spices), raspberry sauce and a passion fruit cream.
The service and friendliness of the staff is impeccable and the ambiance is wonderful. In conclusion, Gaia has all the ingredients to become a hit!
The cocktail bar
Before or after dinner don’t hesitate to take a seat at the bar because the cocktails and Gin Tonics are as unique as the food. I tried the Virgin Spice cocktail that is like no other I’ve ever tasted. Without revealing all the ingredients it has date syrup, sugar water, pomegranate juice, cloves and a mixture of Arabic spices in it. A must try! There are many more cocktail on the menu, some classic recipes with an oriental or Arabic twist like the Moroccan Mule instead of the classic Moscow Mule.
The Gaia Amsterdam – Rembrandtplein26, Amsterdam