Half-lunched and in a fugitive state by dinner time of day one in Amsterdam I was feeling ravenous. We already spotted Sama Sebo as an interesting venue on our tootle to the Rijksmuseum. Our instincts were correct.
The room put me in mind of the India club. Sama Sebo has the kind of authenticity that only comes with a minimum commitment to renovation. Notwithstanding the desultory Christmas decorations Sama feels as though it hasn’t changed since the first of its 50 years in 1969. Good thing.
Some of the staff may have also been in harness back in the day and they know their shit. We, on the other hand, didn’t have a f*cking clue about Indonesian cuisine so we went for the rijstaffel for two at our man’s recommendation.
This was a big production. Basically I think it involved everything on the menu with double rice. And all at the same time, kept warm with chafers.
From memory we had steamed rice, fried rice, pickled cucumber and others, crunchy stuff, spicy dust, beansprouts, omelette, green beans (three ways), fried chicken, satay chicken, tofu (the best I’ve ever tasted), pork in hot sauce, meatballs, deep fried banana (!), savoury apple thing, two chilli sauces (one hot, the other hotter) and other things I can’t remember.
Service was professional and old school – you only had to wrinkle an eyebrow to get another drink and there was no way anyone was going to get out of the building with credit on their tab.
The place was rammed, with locals mostly, and we only got a table on the promise that we’d be gone by 7.30. It was a promise we kept with time to grab a swift one in the excellent Café Welling before blagging our way into the Concertgebouw with dodgy tickets. A truly sensational day personally on a rather sad day for Britain.
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).