A Taste of Indonesia in Amsterdam
I’ve developed a fondness for Indonesian cuisine over the last couple of years – a result of spending our honeymoon in the tranquility of Lombok and the Gili Islands, and more recently, spending a rejuvenating week in Ubud, Bali.
We were therefore pleasantly surprised to discover this recently opened Indonesian restaurant, Mama Makan, situated on the ground floor of the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, which we stayed in during the first half of our trip to Amsterdam. Despite having just been in Bali a couple of weeks prior, I was already missing the array and depth of flavours and spices that makes Indonesian cuisine a must on any culinary adventure!
In fact, you are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to exposure to Indonesian cuisine in Amsterdam, since the Southeast Asian nation was a Dutch colony for several hundred years until 1949 where it became an independent nation.
The interior design of the restaurant is very much an extension of the concept that embodies the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam’s vision. As a result, it feels like you are eating in an urban oasis surrounded by lush green plants and straw lanterns.
The botanical feel and emphasis on bringing nature into the restaurant’s interior was a nice complement to the exotic flavours and smells that graced our table. It certainly brought back vivid memories of our trips to Indonesia and meals in nature surrounded by stunning views of rice terraces.
The Menu & Food
We chose the restaurant’s tasting menu to allow us to sample a variety of the dishes the kitchen had to offer. The tasting menu – a Dutch-Indo concept – is also known as Rijsttafel, a Dutch word for ‘rice table’. This sort of menu typically includes a variety of starters to whet the appetite, a selection of flavour-packed main courses to share around and refreshing desserts to finish the experience off. If you decide to embark on the Rijstaffel experience at Mama Makan, you won’t go hungry!
Our starters comprised of grilled fish cake ‘Otak Otak’, Balinese style chicken and satay skewers of grilled meats. Given we had just spent the best part of a day cycling around the city, we hoovered these plates off quickly that resulted in the swift arrival of our mains…
Our main courses arrived via a range of small dishes, celebrating popular Indonesian specialties. The Ikan Goreng with sambal matah was gorgeously divine with the sauce really helping to bring out some wonderful flavours in every bite we dived into. While every dish resulted in us mouthing ‘Wow’ to each other, there were two that stood out in particular for me. The first was the Sambal Udang, a prawn dish that cured my seafood cravings and one that I had all to myself because of Simon’s dislike of this crustacean! The second was the turmeric rice. We typically eat Asian cuisine with boiled, fried or coconut rice, and so it was a first for us in having turmeric rice. It certainly wasn’t the last time, as we were so inspired by it that we now cook it ourselves at home.
We were grateful for the sizing of the main courses as it allowed enough space for us to enjoy their dessert, which was a decidedly Instagram-friendly affair – an exotic fruit bowl complete with dragon fruit slices and homemade pandan ice cream, its bright green hue perfectly complementing the other bright colours around it.
Compliments to the Head Chef, kitchen team, and staff for making our evening here super special. Not only was it a fantastic Rijstaffel experience, but it provided us with a nice walk down memory lane of our wonderful trips to Indonesia.
Mama Makan Amsterdam
Spinozastraat 61, 1018 HJ Amsterdam, Netherlands