Restaurant Blauw, which has long had a reputation in Utrecht, opened a second location in Amsterdam in 2008. Situated at the end of Vondelpark, Blauw is the new face of Indonesian food in the capital.
Forget batiks and gamelan music, the interior here is sleekly designed in white, black and red (in direct contrast to the name, which means blue), the music is loungy and the lighting subdued. So subdued, in fact, that the menus all have tiny (and rather tacky-looking) reading lights attached to them.
The Indonesian food at Restaurant Blauw, however, is authentic and ranges from ikan pedas (spicy fish) and saté kambing (strips of goat’s meat threaded onto skewers – much tastier than it sounds) to gado gado (a salad of mixed raw vegetables with light peanut sauce) and rendang (slow-cooked stewed beef).
The choice of 14 à la carte dishes range from €21.15 to €26.50, but the best way to sample as many dishes as possible is to choose the rijsttafel, which comes in three varieties: vegetarian (€24.50 per person), fish (€28.25) and mixed (€29.25).
Although the rijsttafel was something the Dutch colonisers in Indonesia invented, and is rarely seen any more in Indonesia itself, it has retained its popularity in Holland and is a sociable way of dining. Similar to tapas, the 18 or so rijsttafel items at Restaurant Blauw are served in lots of small, sleek white dishes, from which everyone helps themselves.
While many foodies disagree that spicy Asian food combines well with wine, I thought the full, complex reds on the wine list – particularly the Italian I pastini – were the perfect complement to the dishes.
My only complaint is that the Indonesian food at Restaurant Blauw was not quite spicy enough. The Dutch have a notoriously low chilli threshold, so the chefs could be trying to accommodate local tastes. This would be a shame, as everything else about the food was spot on.
Mon-Fri 12.00-15.00 and 18.00-24.00, Sat, Sun 17.00-24.00
Telephone: 020 675 5000
Web: go directly to homepage