For nearly two decades Warung Mini on the Amsterdamse Veerkade in The Hague’s city center has been a popular place to eat for the locals in (and outside of) The Hague area. Warung Mini literally means ‘small shop‘ in Indonesian, which also refers back to the owners’ roots.
As “Warung” is a very common name for shop, small restaurant or café in Indonesia, there is more than one Warung Mini in the Netherlands. In fact, I also know of one in Rotterdam and one in Amsterdam. Neither are owned by the same owners as the one in The Hague though, and this article solely describes my review of Warung Mini in The Hague.
Warung Mini started out as a very small takeaway place that served Surinamese food with a heavy Indonesian (Javanese) influence. In September of 2011 the husband and wife owners (Annie & Winston Soekimo) decided to expand the place by buying out some of their neighbours’ shop space and turning it into a restaurant. The space that previously occupied the takeaway was then transformed into a larger kitchen for the new restaurant and the newly added space was made into a nice and informal space for people to enjoy a tasty snack or meal.
The expansion meant that Warung Mini was not so ‘mini’ anymore and the owners creatively added an XL in the shape of cutlery in their new logo. The new Warung Mini XL was officially born. During the first week of January 2017 the owners remodeled the inside of the restaurant by adding extra space (resembling a large alcove) to the back of Warung Mini by removing what was first a large storage room.
Besides adding a restaurant section, Warung Mini The Hague to this day still has a takeaway section, which is every bit as popular (if not more) than it was when they started out many years ago. You will often see people queue up to order their takeaway food. When it comes to queueing up, this can also be said about the restaurant section during lunch and dinner time, because the popularity has not decreased whatsoever over the years, and people will patiently wait to be seated.
The minute you enter the restaurant, you will be welcomed by the smell of a mix of seductive spices. This will start to awaken your appetite before you have even looked at the menu. The staff is used to working in a very high paced environment to keep up with the large number of guests they cater to on a daily basis. For over about a year now they have switched to a more efficient way of taking the orders, by using an iPad to send the food orders to the kitchen and cash register at the same time.
There are Dutch and English menus so if your Dutch is not that great this will definitely assist you in making a choice by yourself. The staff will be able to answer you in basic English if necessary.
The atmosphere is very informal and family friendly. There are seats for smaller kids and there is even a special ‘table’ in the ladies’ restroom to change a baby’s diaper for the really tiny ones.
Now let’s talk about the food, shall we? The bestselling item on the menu (which you will see on over 50% of the tables next to you for sure) is the saoto soup. A very fragrant and aromatic (chicken) broth with special ingredients to make it super delectable! The soup comes with a boiled egg inside and a small bowl of rice on the side, which you can mix into your bowl of soup. You can add the black soy sauce mixture and the yellow (super spicy) hot pepper sauce (which you will find on your table) to the soup to give it the final touch before experiencing sheer heaven in a bowl. Vegetarians do not need to miss out on the soup, because the broth is prepared without chicken, and the chicken is only added to the soup at the very last minute before serving.
Besides the delicious soup Warung Mini also serves noodles, fried rice, rotis, sticky rice, with greens and meat or fish, and a range of snacks and rolls. Every item is a small masterpiece in its own right. You really cannot go wrong, no matter what you choose from the menu. People living on a halal diet will be happy to know that all the meat at Warung Mini is certified halal meat, which automatically implies that they do not sell anything including pork meat. What they also do not serve is alcohol, but on the other hand they do serve a delicious pink coconut drink called Dawet and all sorts of tropical juices.
And just when you think it cannot get any better, let me share one of the best things (which I have deliberately saved for last): the prices are super affordable! You will not believe how much food you will get for a very cheap price. So not only will you have had a very good meal, but your wallet will also be very happy as you pay your bill.
Since this restaurant is based in the Netherlands and ‘going Dutch’ is not just an expression but a real thing, paying separately after dinner is very common. Payment is done (in cash or via a debit card) at the cash register before you leave.
Warung Mini XL is open seven days a week from 11am to 11pm (Monday through Friday) and from 12pm to 11pm during the weekends. I invite you to take a look for yourself and discover the tastes that will definitely have you going back for more. And if you do drop by for a bite, please do tell them that Fauzia sent you!