GAO Vegetarian Kitchen

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GAO Vegetarian Kitchen

Natural cooking thought further

A bowl made with fresh leaf lettuce, black beans, corn, avocado paste, guacamole, nachos, tofu and pico de gallo, a very spicy combination of chopped tomatoes, onions, chili, lime and cilantro. A soy protein burger with tomato, cheddar, cornichons and barbecue sauce. Potatoes with the House‘s special sauce. Soup made with mushrooms or watercress. Seitan in hot sauce. Sweet potato and grain curry. Cheesecake with blueberries. – Can it get any more mouth-watering than that? The many fans of the Portuguese GAO Vegetarian Kitchen certainly have a very clear position on this matter. The vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurant is located on the north coast of Portugal, in the town of Matosinhos, ten kilometres northwest of the port city of Porto. Those who have been around the scene for a while may still know the restaurant by the name „Pé d’Arroz“. That was before the menu concept changed from a rich buffet to table service with a no less delicious daily menu.

Gustatory pleasure and atmospheric cosiness

Guests visit the small restaurant not only for its creative and sometimes innovative dishes, served by the friendly staff, Tuesday to Sunday during lunch and dinner hours. Those who take time for enjoyment of a meal also want to feel at home in their surroundings. The carefully composed ambience of GAO adds to their comfort: The floor is covered with light wooden planks. The tables and chairs are also wooden and their decoration tastefully simple. Generous floor-to-ceiling glass windows facing the courtyard let plenty of natural light into the elongated dining area. The courtyard itself, which offers seating as well, is lovingly furnished with Mediterranean green plants, vines and a small fountain. A Buddha figure sits by the rippling water, letting the sun shine on his head. And another protagonist undoubtedly plays a major role in the feel-good atmosphere at GAO: the earthen clay that is found on and in the restaurant’s walls and creates excellent air quality through its natural properties.

All around natural – a consistent concept

Choosing a building material that is as traditional as it is organic for the interior surfaces proves consistency. The builders were keen to create an entirely natural environment. After all, it is often people with a preference for vegetarian or vegan food who place great value on originality. As carefully as the kitchen staff selects the predominantly regional ingredients for the menu, so well-founded were the decisions made about the building materials. Clay earth does not require any chemical additives and can be processed reliably and in a number of different ways. Due to its long tradition, it exudes naturalness, and moreover, an aesthetic that can impressively complete any design. – But even the most pleasant gourmet experience eventually comes to an end. This is not necessarily true for the architecturally and culturally interesting pilgrim-city of Matosinhos, with its beautiful church, Igreja paroquial do Senhor Bom Jesus de Matosinhos. For those looking for further diversion: the wide beach, because of its view of the container port, is appreciated for the freedom of movement and the waves for surfing. Porto and Espinho are cities nearby worth a visit.

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Clay Highlight:

Clay designer plaster: Warm colour shades and natural air-quality optimisation

Especially in the catering industry, clay earth construction is becoming increasingly important. In rooms where both cooking takes place and numerous people come together, a healthy balance of temperature and humidity is essential. In this context alone, earthen clay plays to its strengths, because no other building material possesses these properties in this form. In addition, clay earth is able to absorb pollutants out of the air and dampen sound – two further aspects that have a positive effect on the well-being of restaurant staff and guests. For the wall design inside GAO, the plasterers from Casa Natural used YOSIMA clay designer plaster in a friendly yellow tone. In the YOSIMA, clay is a binder and colourant in one, without the addition of pigments or other colourants. Atmospherically, yellow also has an important meaning. The tone is known to promote a feeling of home as well as appetite and communication.

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