Q: What is it? A: One of the best Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam. Not located in the city center, but slightly outside, in the Zuid district, but don’t let that put you off…
It’s rijsttafel time!
Says Wikipedia: “Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands, about 6,000 of which are inhabited. These are scattered over both sides of the equator.” Maybe that is the reason why their most recognized contribution to the culinary arts is called rijsttafels, a medley of dishes served in small portions, accompanied by rice prepared in different ways. The Dutch word rijsttafel literally translates to “rice table”. It’s a Dutch adaptation from the Indonesian feast called nasi padang. And the rijsttafel is the thing to have at the Blauw.
There are plenty of Indonesian food in A’Dam…
The Blauw restaurant have only been in business since autumn 2008. Four years prior to that, there was the Blauw in Utrecht, which for some time has been rated the best restaurant in town.
Chef Agus Hermawan is in charge of a kitchen that delivers real Indonesian dishes as well as the aforementioned rijsttafels. Of course, out of 18 dishes, not every one will dazzle you, but my guess is that at least a dozen of them have the potential to. Among my favourites: Gado gado (a salad of mixed raw vegetables with peanut sauce), sambal goreng telor (spiced eggs) and saté oedang (spicy Indonesian prawns). It’s sociable dining at its best; way better than a Swedish smorgasbord.
…but there are only a few Indonesian restaurants with a modern twist.
Those who have a PhD in Amsterdam dining will tell you that an Indonesian restaurant is very likely to feature batiks on the walls and gamelan music in the speakers. The Blauw went the other way around. A modernist interior which is built around a giant red cube, (quite the logical choice as Blauw means blue in Dutch). Then there’s the nearly famous black and white Indonesian family portrait. The staff deserves some extra credit for being pretty efficient and knowing their food. All in all a very pleasant meal experience that turned out to be not very costly, (in total about €110 incl. drinks and tip). Four stars – which in my book means highly recommended.
1075 XN Amsterdam
NOTE: Between the years 1800 and 1945, Indonesia, today the world’s fourth most populous country, was a Dutch colony. Separation from the Dutch was not a happy one, nor was it without bloodshed. In December 1949, in the face of international pressure, the Dutch formally recognized Indonesian independence.