A PAGE OUT OF OUR BOOK: Kirsten Eckhart of Gartine in Blog

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Amsterdam is full of wonderful places to eat, some grand & impressive and others cosy & welcoming, the types of places you want to go back to time & time again. Gartine happens to be one of the latter sort. It's one of those spots you simply cannot resist once you've been. We wanted all the juicy details about how Kirsten & Willem-Jan dreamed up such a lovely place, so we picked their brains. Now, we're sharing those details with you. You can thank us later!

You might have heard the good news: we're having a baby! Well, a book baby, that is. After years of bringing you the best of the best of travel tips on the web, we decided to take pen (or printing press) to page and bring you an amazing, practical, beautiful guidebook to the city that is nearest & dearest to our heart. All with the help of our amazing publisher MENDO. Which city is that, you ask? Why, Amsterdam of course! So now it's time for the countdown to begin.

As our publishing date grows ever closer, we want to give you some sneak peeks into what's to come to get you as excited as we are. Our book is nothing without the incredible shops, restaurants, bars & businesses we love, so it's important to us that you get to know them a bit as well. That's why, until the launch of our book, we are going to be bringing you interviews with the inspiring founders of some of our very favourite spots.

gloobles: Hi guys! So cool to have you on board for the blog. Even now, as we're talking to you, we're dreaming of Gartine. Walk us through Gartine's journey.

Kirsten: Before we opened Gartine, Willem & I got to know each other in Bloemendaal, where he was working as a maitre & I as a sommelier. We already had a vegetable garden & a lot of surplus, and the idea arose to use them in a small lunch restaurant in Amsterdam (where I lived). That was exactly thirteen years ago today. 

gloobles: How lovely! So Gartine is in quite a hectic area, which is in serious contrast to the peaceful interior at Gartine. What made you choose this spot?

Kirsten: We had been looking for a location for a year, and it was very difficult to find anything. We came across the ad for this place on Marktplaats, so we went to see it straight away; we immediately knew it was the perfect place for our restaurant. It was just the right size, exactly as we wanted it. We hoped that people would be able to overlook the somewhat-ugly alley and still make their way to our little restaurant.

gloobles: We barely notice the alleyway. It's certainly no deterrent for us! We think it's fun that you're a husband & wife team, but does it make it difficult to work together?

Kirsten: The only thing that makes it difficult on occasion is that we are really two captains on one ship. But that's also an advantage. We both really just want the best for the guests. And fortunately, it's been going well for twenty-five years.

gloobles: Twenty-five years! So it's a pretty firmly tested model haha! Tell us a bit more about how you source your ingredients.

Kirsten: All the vegetables & herbs we use at Gartine are grown in the garden. The moment the seasons change, we make a new menu, making use of as much produce from the Netherlands as possible.

gloobles: Making the most of what the Netherlands has to offer. How fantastic! Obviously terroir is important to Gartine, so could you imagine locating it anywhere else?

Kirsten: Yes, actually. We could envision locating in England.

gloobles: Oooh, we're thinking maybe a little English offshoot. That would be cool. We're never at Gartine without a cup of tea in hand. Do you have a favourite tea?

Kirsten: Betjeman & Barton, and then Eden Rose.

gloobles: And what about wine?

Kirsten: We don't have an alcohol permit at Gartine, but we do serve the most delicious homemade drinks. In summer, we make different types of iced tea, and in winter, we have hot, spiced pear juice & non-alcoholic glühwein.

gloobles: A drink for every season. We know you've written several cookbooks. We're terribly impressed. Do you have a favourite recipe of them all?

Kirsten: Our latest book has a recipe for bell peppers stuffed with smoked trout, marjoram & potatoes. We pair each of the recipes in the book with a wine, and this one is a particularly lovely combination.

gloobles: We'll have to try that out! Who or what inspires you?

Kirsten: We have a large collection of antique cookbooks & beautiful spice books that inspire us. When we're working in the garden, inspiration always strikes.

gloobles: If you're not indulging in afternoon tea at Gartine, where do you like to go in Amsterdam?

Kirsten: Scheepskameel or Rijsel, both restaurants from our good friend Pieter Smits.

gloobles: Two of our go-tos as well. Now, one last question: if you could have a cup of tea with anyone in the world, who would it be & why?

Kirsten: It would be with our dear friends & the great little team that works at Gartine. We'd have tea at beloved hotel The Pig at Bridge Place in Kent, and if Nigel Slater wants to join, he is more than welcome.