Restaurant Review: Long Pura in Amsterdam
Rhiannon Magor reviews traditional Indonesian and Balinese cuisine at Long Pura in Amsterdam.
Restaurant Long Pura
1016 ND Amsterdam
Tel: 020 6238950
Monday to Saturday, 18:00 - 23:00
Sunday 17:00 - 23:00
To get there:
Tram line 13, 14, 17.
Bus 142, 144, 170, 172.
Stop Westermarkt or Marnixstraat (Rozengracht)
The Netherlands has long historical ties to Indonesia. During colonial times, Indonesia was a prized possession of the Dutch crown, bringing in considerable income through the country's rich spice trade.
Indonesian food was popular both in the colony itself and in the Netherlands, and continues to have a big influence on Dutch cooking today. Many Netherlanders consider Indonesian food to be as Dutch as Edam cheese or bitterbollen, and Indonesian dishes can be found both at home and in restaurants. The famous Indonesian rijsttafel (rice table) was created by the Dutch, and consists of rice, spicy sambal paste and an array of small dishes.
Located partway down the Rozengracht, a short walk from the Westerkerk and the Anne Frank House, Long Pura is well-known in Amsterdam to both expats and locals alike.
Although it looks deceptively small from the outside, the restaurant stretches out to the back. They also have private rooms catering for larger groups of up to 36 or 50 at a time and they claim to be able to seat up to a hundred diners.
Traditionally decorated with understated lighting, this colourful restaurant is also reputed to have the best-looking waitresses in town.
We visited as a group of 10 on a wintry Thursday evening. The restaurant was busy but not full, and there were still seats available. Tables can be booked online in English via their website. We were seated at the back of the main restaurant, in an area effectively on our own, which other diners only needed to pass by on their way to the ornately decorated doors leading to the bathrooms.
Smaller tables for groups of 1-4 diners are located towards the front. The restaurant is very spacious and well laid-out but some tables were uncomfortably close to the cloakroom area, where diners do tend to congregate on arriving or after settling their bills.
Long Pura offers traditional Indonesian and Balinese food. The menu is divided into the rijsttafel section, and a la carte. The rice table is available for groups of 2 or more, and is priced at one course at EUR 25.00 per person, 3 courses at EUR 34.50 or EUR 45.00, and 4 courses at EUR 50.00.
The vegetarian version comes to EUR 24.50 per person. Diners can also order additional items, such as fish in spicy sweet soya sauce for EUR 4.75 or shrimps and petah beans in coconut milk sauce for EUR 5.00.
The a la carte menu includes starters priced between EUR 7.25 and EUR 10.00 and soups. Main courses range from steamed fish with Balinese spices served in a banana leaf for EUR 19.75 to fried chicken fillet in sweet spicy soya sauce for EUR 20.75 to fried king prawns with garlic and sweet soya sauce costing EUR 26.50. This last dish can be prepared at your table.
Vegetarian main courses are slightly cheaper and include Gado Gado (cold fresh mixed vegetables in peanut sauce) for EUR 13.50 or steamed and deep-fried bean curd and petah beans in a spicy coconut sauce for EUR 15.00.
As a group, it makes sense and is more fun to order from the rice table and be able to share rather than everyone picking their own individual dishes. Although the menu stated that each rice table was for a minimum of 2 people, the staff had no problems with arranging one vegetarian selection for the only vegetarian present. It was also possible to mix and match the order, meaning no problems within the same group for some picking the 3-course and others the 1-course.
The spicy Javanese chicken soups came first as part of the 3-course menu, but were closely followed by the main items. In order to keep the dishes warm, they are served on hot metal food-warmers.
The vegetarian option came on a separate tray containing 7 small dishes, all of which were a similar substitute for the meat options. Spicy beef in coconut sauce became chunks of similarly spicy bean-curd, and the chicken satay sticks also became deep fried tofu. Some dishes, like the spicy egg in coconut chill sauce and the Gado Gado (cold vegetables in peanut sauce), were unchanged.
There were between 7-10 individual dishes to pick from, dependent on the menu ordered, plus the rice. Although at first the volume of food seems intimidating, each plate is relatively small and with so many eating, there were no leftovers.
The food was delicious, and the chefs have had enough practice to get the volume just right.Those with 3 courses paced themselves enough to squeeze in the set dessert of Indonesian striped cake, ice cream, red currants and a coconut drink whilst others ordered ice cream and coffee from the menu.
We ordered wine and water to accompany our meal, which did increase the price of the total bill. The lowest priced bottles are EUR 21.50 for a South African house white, and EUR 5.80 for .75 cl bottles of mineral water. The total per person, including wines and coffees, came to between EUR 40-50.00 depending on how many courses were ordered. The food was plentiful and extremely tasty, but Long Pura is not a budget option.
The venue works especially well for groups where everyone shares and is able to sample all the choices on offer. As for the staff, they were all friendly, but perhaps you should be left to form your own opinion on whether Long Pura really does have (as reputed) Amsterdam's prettiest waitresses!
Rhiannon Magor / Expatica
Prices updated from September 2014
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