Conscious Sleeping and Dining at Amsterdam’s Tire Station
The Tire Station, so-named as it occupies... yes, a former tire factory, is the latest addition to Amsterdam’s funky and ecologically minded Conscious Hotel group.
It’s only a few doors away from its sister hotel Conscious Vondelpark. This hotel group has things green on its mind, with all its hotels featuring solar power, water saving and organic local produce. The Tire station feels a little more business oriented than others in the group, but shares the buzzy, hip feel of the brand, with quirky decor and young, enthusiastic staff.
Rooms are small but well designed, with a cork board wall pinned with pictures. The small bathroom has a sign exhorting you to ‘Get Naked’ and a shower that’s powerful whilst conserving water. There’s no desk, rooms are too snug for that, but who uses a desk these days anyway? There is a handy board for propping up your laptop or tablet though.
An advantage is the location, out of the touristic overkill of Amsterdam’s most central districts, yet a short hop from the action and just down the road from Amsterdam’s museum quarter (a few minutes’ tram or bike ride away), with plentiful nearby restaurants and bars. You’re only a minute’s walk from the balmy green expanse of Vondelpark, everyone’s favorite Amsterdam park, and a great place to people watch, roller skate, scoot, or simply go for a wander.
Moer, an organic restaurant, adjoins the hotel, as does a small coffee bar, Sticky Fingers. Although Moer is an independent business, the epicurean hotel breakfast is served here, a mix of buffet organic cured meats and cheeses, or eggs any which way, freshly cooked. Coffee, juices, teas, it’s all good.
Moer is especially good for vegetarians, and the short-but-sweet lunch or dinner menus use organic and usually locally sourced ingredients in their dishes. Its sous chef used to cook for Paul McCartney on tour as well as many major local restaurants. For dinner, it offers a chef’s menu, which changes according to what’s available, and there’s a serious list of wonderfully niche wines.
For example, a German Baeder Riesling with a lovely, zesty dry kick is the match for an extraordinarily flavor-packed mackerel poached in a bath of sea salt with cucumber sorbet. The almost-raw fish has a smoky taste against the chill of the cucumber and it's made pretty with edible petals and the zing of local tomatoes, and given some pop with the almost roe-like sweet-and-sour mustard seeds.
Following this, served with a buttery, fuller Les Matelles Roussane, from Languedoc, is the signature dish: courgette served several different ways, fried, raw and roasted and then doused with a garlic leaf hollandaise and wild garlic gel. Ah, so this is the point of a spiralizer: The courgette has the texture of fresh al dente pasta, that satisfying firmness, but is much lighter. The salty crispness of the fried slices gives it oomph, and there’s a lemony lightness about it all. Main course is a substantial portion of grilled chicken, with foamed potatoes and wild garlic, matched with a balanced fruity German Pinot Noir, Spätburgunder trocken. The dish is given some crunch with roasted black quinoa and freshness with a cooked radish. Dessert, which has to be done, is just too tempting. The fabulous confabulation of cheesecake, meringue and fruit reduction, is scattered with edible leaves.
It’s a good thing that the hotel is just next door, as it could be awkward balancing on a bike after this meal. But also because organic, sustainable, and creative, Moer and the Tire Station complement each other, making this a great base for visitors-with-a-conscience exploring Amsterdam.