Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

A belly full of raw food facility, reviewing a conceptual restaurant

November 2, 2005

Smart babies bring their own food to a restaurant opening

It’s probably fair to assert that last Saturday was an all-time first in Amsterdam: two interesting culinary events in one day. I made sure to attend both Juliano Brotman’s Raw Food UnCooking workshop as well as the restaurant launch of Marti GuixĂ© & Mediamatic’s Food Facility at the Post CS. Yoga and raw food in the afternoon, black clothing, pearl-swinging, wine drinking, cigarette smoking, take-away food in the evening. Time in between to change costumes I mean outfits, and I had the fixings for a well-balanced day.

The Food Facility staff (aka Mediamatic and Marti GuixĂ©) giddy and a’blur

Just like normal people, raw food chefs can run a little late, and we were still busy with the results of the uncooking workshop two hours after it’s scheduled end. I thought it wouldn’t be a problem, assuming that raw food could in no way be complex or filling, but I was mistaken. At 19.00h when I arrived at the Food Facility, I had no desire to eat. Luck would have it that my belly full of raw would turn out to be a blessing.

Luck wouldn’t have it that my erstwhile best-friend-with-a-deadline would call to say that she couldn’t show up for dinner that evening. GASP, alone at a restaurant opening with a big fat reservation for two! The ever-on-the-ball Mediamatic nouvelles maĂ®tres Arne en Jans, arranged a dinner date for me on the spot (and a delightful one). That, dear reader, is what I call excellent service!

Graphic designers guesting Food Facility catch the early bird special, Guixé designed chairs

Katarina eats spada on rosemary sticks well within three hours of ordering it

The restaurant was glowing with all manner of mixed spot and flourescent lighting, bright white, with HTML blue, black and green columns in the centre. Draped on the walls were large print-outs of the results of a Google search; ‘food’, ‘food facility’, ‘Marti GuixĂ©’ and ‘Mediamatic’. Of course this search yields lots of culiblog entries, and I have to say, there’s nothing like seeing the name of your blog plastered all over an interior to warm your heart and coax out a favourable review. Designers, do like Marti does.

In the centre of the room GuixĂ© placed a food island, where the delivery boys on scooters brought in the orders and from where the restaurant staff would bring the dish to it’s rightful owner. The tables were laid with damaste (not real damaste), with large tumbler glasses, generous cutlery, and large cloth napkins (not real cloth). All of the guests were pregnant with expectation, and some were actually pregnant. Marti G. described the evening thusly, ‘It was like attending my own wedding…’

My dining buddy Katarina and I ordered from a well-designed menu based upon the takeout menus from twelve different restaurants in Amsterdam. By ‘based upon’ I mean photo copied and by twelve I mean nine. We were having an excellent time, drinking and talking, waiting and drinking and talking, smoking and drinking and drinking and smoking and talking and waiting and drinking. Talking all the while, the friends were dropping by for a chit chat, we were being visited by extremely attentive maĂ®tres and wait staff. Waiters are for waiting.

And then we did some more of that waiting. Which was fine. I still wasn’t the least bit hungry with my belly full of raw, but some guests were starting to get peckish, and by peckish, I mean uppity. Certain tables began to organise exuberant betting pools as to who would get their food first.

The bride and bridegroom Guixé giggling at all the betting going on

The arrival of the first delivery boy with one baggie of takeout food

The paparazzi can’t contain themselves

And then the first delivery boy entered the restaurant. Helmet on, a little white baggy filled with Chinese takeaway in his hand, and the entire facility went berserk. Cameras were flashing, guests were laughing and many stood up to applaud and ‘whoop whoop’. All this for one little white bag of grits. This scenario repeated itself as each delivery boy entered the Food Facility until the very end of the evening. That, dear reader, is good restaurant interface design.

My sashimi arrived, well within one and a half hours. An hour, two glasses of wine and one and a half cigarettes later my green papaya salad arrived. You can see by my menu choices that I was doing my dangdest to keep the raw thing going. Ordinarily this amount of wait would be unacceptable, a good reason to do some non-positive wing-flapping. But this particular evening, I would have to categorise this as perfect timing. Perfect amount of drama and excitement, entertaining guests entertaining themselves just fine, excellent conversation (one of my waitresses turned out to be a sufi), food for thought and merriment abounding. Guaranteeing an excellent experience is also a part of restaurant design, and it’s silly to go to a restaurant opening with the actual intention of getting fed.

GuixĂ© and Mediamatic’s Food Facility is open Fridays and Saturdays until December 11, 2005 and I highly recommend at least one visit. I have chosen Food Facility as the location to celebrate the one year birthday party of during Saturday’s Museum Night. It was one year ago (Museum Night 2004 at Mediamtic) that culiblog launched it’s domain. We’re going to fill up on nibbles beforehand at my house.

Food Facility open Friday and Saturday from 18.00h - 22.00h
November 4 - December 11, 2005 at Post CS, Amsterdam.
Read Mediamatic’s announcement here or call +31 (0)6 3376 8810 for reservations.

Oh, it’s only 2nd hand smoke that’s annoying.

debra at 10:31 | | post to

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