I have childhood memories of restaurants in or near big museums. Very basic, serving low quality, expensive snacks, to be eaten in a plastic paradise. Now I have discovered a restaurant, that is housed in the basement of a museum, that bears none of the qualities described in the previous sentence. This a world of retro chic, with wholesome healthy food to match. A beer, wine, and soft drinks list will provide you with enough choice, you could be fooled into thinking that you aren’t actually in a museum restaurant. Certainly, those childhood memories will soon be forgotten. So where would one find such a place? Look no further than the centre of The Hague, Restaurant Gember can be found on Stadhouderslaan 43, 2517 HV DEN HAAG.
This fantastic restaurant sits in the basement of the GEM Photo Museum and Museum of Contemporary Arts in Den Haag. Adorned with retro style lighting and surrounded by sculptures and artwork, it overlooks the pond of the Gemeente Museum. The menu here will amaze your taste buds, the best thing to have is the bruschetta, and believe me, this is no ordinary bruschetta . . .
So what sets it apart from the traditional Italian bruschetta? Well, the base ingredient to the Gember Style Bruschetta is the traditional Dutch dark bread, light in texture, full of flavour, with a crunchy, freshly baked crust. Then for the challenge, the toppings. There are several to choose from. Believe me choosing is not an easy task, they all sound so tasty you almost want to try them all. A few of the combinations to tempt your taste buds; ricotta, beetroot, and rucola; Dutch strawberries, mascarpone and mint; vegetarian mince, tomato and grilled courgette; Delft blue cheese, apple and apple syrup, pata negra (Iberico ham), figs and raisin compote. I tried the ricotta and beetroot flavour. It was served very swiftly, given that the restaurant was full, and sat there glistening in the sunshine in front of me. Such was the abundance of colour, it seemed a shame to demolish this lovely looking treat. It definitely looked good enough to eat!
Soft, light, freshly baked dark bread gave way to a surprisingly fresh tasting mixture of beetroot and rucola, finishing with the creaminess of the ricotta cheese, enhanced by the flavour of compote. Now this really was proper wholesome food at its best.
Gember also caters for the more sensitive among us and has an allergen menu on request. With several vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, this restaurant caters for every palette and size of appetite. If you don’t fancy having lunch then choose from the variety of snacks on offer.
Once you have finished grazing the menu and gazing out across the pond, you might as well pay a visit to the exhibitions surrounding you. Within a few meters of Gember, you will not only find the Foto Museum but also the Gemeente Museum and Museon, all worth a visit. This really is a meal with culture included.
Tram 17 and 10 or bus 24 leave from centraal station. Driving: Take exit to Kijkduin from A44 and follow signs to Gementee Musem. There are several free parking places around the museum.