As of this moment I can assure you, it is all true. Mama Kelly, the new restaurant taking over the Agga scene, is certainly living up to the hype.
In an area dominated by companies and manufacturers, you can find this little gem hidden in a corner by the water front. If you already live in the Netherlands, odds are you either have a car or more likely a bike, so getting there will be a breeze. For those who rely on public transport (such as myself, as I ride a bike like an elephant) you can take bus 26 in the direction of Voorburg station. Get off at ‘Saturnusstraat,’ follow the street straight down, cross the parking lot, turn to the left, and find yourself at number 60, where the dining adventure really begins.
When entering the restaurant I was greeted by the hostess who guided me to the bar. While waiting for my fellow blogger and dinner companion Zoé Albrecht to arrive, I took notice of the interior design of the restaurant. An “urban bistro,” as stated on their website, hits the nail on the head for Mama Kelly. Their interior is modern, clean, and slightly industrial with hints of small cafe details which are a breath of fresh air in this area of the Hague. Copper finishing on the bar and quirky quotes scattered throughout the restaurant will keep you entertained as you wait for your table. What also caught my eye were separate tables encased in a house-like shaped iron lining, which seemed to create a more intimate dining experience.
Now, on to the good stuff; the menu. For starters we aimed for the “Flammkuchen,” a traditional south German bread dish only to be modernized and customized the Mama Kelly way. A great and light starter if you’re planning to concentrate more on the main course. Our second starter was the “Holtkamp oude kaas croquet.” A cheese croquet served with a kick-ass homemade mayonnaise, chickpeas dip (a type of hummus), and sourdough bread.
It should be mentioned that Mama Kelly’s main course options center around chicken and lobster. In order to taste as much variety in one night as possible, our main course consisted of a vegetarian option, namely the “Risotto Rucola,” topped with grilled halloumi cheese (and let’s get serious, who doesn’t love halloumi?), and ½ of the rotisserie “spicy” chicken that was served with an oven baked sweet potato covered in homemade garlic butter and a butter lettuce salad. Not to boost this place more than it already has been, but these dishes were beyond incredible. The risotto was cooked to a smooth and gooey perfection, and the chicken was bathing in a mix of butter, a spice blend of fresh chili, garlic, anise, and more, and its own fabulous juices. I have to additionally stress the point that everything on the menu is homemade and created by the kitchen staff themselves. Knowing this makes each dish even more stomach-worthy.
For dessert, the lovely head-chef brought over a taste of their cheesecake with a red fruit coulis. While I personally am not a fan of Bastogne cookies (sorry to all the Bastogne fans out there), the base of this cheesecake did not overpower the fact that it was the most light and fluffy cheesecake I have ever had in my life. For those who always believe that cheesecake is a heavy handed dessert, I would definitely put this one up as a solid counter argument.
Time for one of my favorite parts of a restaurant: the staff. What personally makes me come back to a restaurant is not only the above mentioned factors. I believe that if you have a good team supporting your restaurant it will add more to the overall experience. Even though the restaurant is fairly new, the staff worked as if they have been part of a family for years. They stand proud behind the Mama Kelly concept and work with grace. The small details in their service throughout your dinner time is what distinguishes them from other restaurants.
When speaking to chef Miljo he pointed out what their focus was. He explained to us that all their dishes are homemade with ingredients grown and sourced throughout Europe. They believe in healthy and organic ingredients to support their mission. In a way – going back to the basics.
“We just want to make food… no fancy foam on a plate, but real food.” – Miljo
When finishing our delicious meal, we head to the bar for some (more) cocktails. Not only is the staff friendly but they’re also well educated in their field and eager to please. A great example was bartender Dimi, who not only gave us a wide range of cocktails to taste (which were delicious) but also impressed us with his great deal of knowledge and expertise. I learned more about tequila in one night then I have ever done my whole life (theoretically, that is!).
Remember those small details I was talking about in the beginning? Well, each individual bill comes with a little handwritten note, just to add that extra personal touch to your night.
Please do not only take my word for it but try this extraordinary place out for yourself. And while you’re at it – ask Dimitar for some cocktail lessons, he’ll be more than happy to enlighten you.