Edition 26 January 2018, by Marc G. Baker
Indonesian delight: sunshine on a cloudy day
The first few months of the year can be rather bleak in this country. Dismal even. Grey skies, cold winds. One cannot but yearn for some sunshine. Ah, to wake up at the Four Seasons resort in the Seychelles and take a stroll to the pristine white beach for a morning swim… Reality check: a single night in a hilltop ocean-view villa there will set you back a whopping two thou. But to sample tropical delights during these dreary days doesn’t need to be that costly. And it doesn’t take arduous air travel either. A trip to The Hague will suffi ce; just set your TomTom to Van Swietenstraat 2. This is a residential area and in fact it’s a bit off the beaten track, but here you will fi nd a hidden gem: Indonesian restaurant Bogor Roemah Makan.
This little eatery was established in the sixties and it’s still a favourite of the culinary cognoscenti of ’s-Gravenhage. Its name means ‘Dining-room of Bogor’. The tables and chairs are quite close to one another, but this only adds to the charming atmosphere (if you prefer to enjoy the cuisine in your own home: they do catering as well, for a minimum of 30 people). I had to look twice at the menu and indeed, I had to ask the waiter whether the prices on the menu weren’t the result of typing errors. They weren’t: the meals are a bargain each and every one of them. Which makes it all the more easy to order all kinds of different dishes. The bean curd with mung bean sprouts is fi rst-rate and you can easily combine it with ‘smoor’ for instance – spicy beef.
My personal favourite South-East Asian fare is rendang with parkia speciosa (this you can Google yourself, no doubt) and Bogor serves the best I have had in quite a long time. You only have to close your eyes and it feels as if you’re in the ‘Tropic of Emerald’, as our renowned author Multatuli dubbed Nederlandsch-Indië in days of old. In a relatively small restaurant like this, you might not expect an extensive array of drinks to choose from, yet you’ll be surprised. The beer department alone is mouth-watering: Palm, Oud Bruin, Hoegaarden, Leffe Dubbel, Westmalle Triple and whatnot. And although I am personally responsible for quite a bit of the Duvel brewery’s revenue, I opted for Bir Bintang. Top-hole. Selamat makan!
Van Swietenstraat 2
2518 SJ Den Haag
070 – 3461628
Opening hours: 16:00 – 22:00
Reservations / take-away orders can be phoned in from 10:00