Mediamatic Eten, a vegan restaurant and bar on Amsterdam's Oosterdok waterfront, has tested "intimate dining" spaces in order to comply with social distancing rules when it reopens later this month.
The vegan restaurant has run three trials of the "safe and intimate dining" concept called Serres Séparées (Separate Greenhouses), which will launch at the end of the month and is already fully booked until the end of June.
The restaurant, whose waiting staff will wear protective clothes including plastic visors and serve food using long wooden planks which are "thoroughly cleaned after each serving", said it is "testing and evolving to create a safe environment" for their guests.
The post-lockdown dining concept is one of the first to emerge in Europe and following prime minister Boris Johnson's announcement on Sunday that hospitality businesses in the UK could start to reopen from 4 July in accordance with social distancing measures, it is likely that others will follow suit. Yet speculation about how this might work on practical terms is still being explored by those in the industry.
Yesterday chef and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi said on BBC News that the restaurant industry was thinking of "all kinds of clever ways to create a certain degree of distancing within the restaurants" in anticipation of a "real pent-up demand" for going out and socialising, saying it was "human nature to want to get together".
Ottolenghi said he was confident of finding ways to recreate "convivial" dining experiences despite government regulations making it "extremely hard", together with financial pressures, including the unresolved issue of rent which he said needed "to be dealt with straight away" by the government, as proposed in Hospitality Union's National Time Out campaign.
Elsewhere in Europe, as hospitality businesses explore new ways of operating safely as they emerge from lockdown, Cafe & Konditorei Rothe in Schwerin, Germany, made headlines yesterday after supplying customers with hats made from swimming pool noodles to keep them apart while seated at tables outside.
Images: Anne Lakeman and Willem Velthoven