Dutch studio concrete has recently converted a former Citroën garage in Amsterdam into the new restaurant NENI, bringing the Mediterranean outdoor patio atmosphere to the inside. The design for NENI & The Lemonman bar Amsterdam are inspired by both its location in the garage built in 1931, and the origin of NENI’s cuisine, Eastern Mediterranean fusion food. Given the partially Israeli background of NENI’s creators and the fact that Tel Aviv is their go-to place, the concept embodies the warmth of Tel Aviv inside an industrial garage setting.
The entrance to NENI Deli, an all-day eatery, is located on the ground floor. The Deli kitchen is situated in the centre of the space in an old Citroën food truck that features a warm yellow colour as a homage to the former Citroën garage. On the left and right of the Deli truck, two ‘living’ staircases lead to the restaurant on the first floor. At the far back of the space, the bakery makes and bakes fresh bread and dough daily.
Inspired by the name of the garage (citroen is the Dutch word for ‘lemon’), the Lemonman Bar was created as a tribute to the founder of Citroën, Roelof Limoenman, and is focused on citrus-inspired beverages
The restaurant is an internal space designed as an outdoor patio. The front of the kitchen is located in a custom-made ‘greenhouse’ at the heart of the space to strengthen the feel of an outside terrace. Several pairs of 4-metre benches invite guests to have dinner at tables for two or combined to create one large communal table to enjoy a meal together. Big fig trees integrated into the benches and lantern-like lamps provide a playful outdoor touch.
Opposite the kitchen, the beverage station is located in a niche in the back wall of the restaurant. Next to the beverage station, various round seating niches in the back wall provide more intimate dining spots. The back wall itself is covered with floor-to-ceiling shutters, backlit to enhance the feeling of an Eastern Mediterranean patio.
From the NENI restaurant, a staircase leads to the mezzanine floor where the Lemonman Bar and the restrooms are located. In the centre of the space is a freestanding bar. Along the full length of the glass wall is a low custom-made, leather bench, detailed like the backseat of a classic Citroën car.