As mentioned in our review of Aneka Rasa, very good Indonesian food can be found in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, our first experience with Indonesian food in Amsterdam didn’t go well with Aneka Rasa. We were determined then to make sure that our second and final Indonesian experience in Amsterdam went well. Based on online reviews, we found Tempo Doeloe. We wanted desperately to find a good Indonesian restaurant, so we decided to go for the best, and check out Tempo Doeloe.
Reservations are recommended. We were around the area in the afternoon, so K popped in to make a reservation, and very luckily managed to snag a table for 7pm. Tempo Doeloe is famous for being a good restaurant with an attitude. We could see why – some of the servers were indeed quite haughty, but we were very lucky to have a very good server. She was from Suriname, and was very friendly and attentive throughout our meal.
The menu in Tempo Doeloe is quite complicated. They have a few pages of set meals (rice table style) and a very limited a la carte selection, and supposedly dishes from the rice tables can be ordered a la carte as well. Anyway, it was very confusing, so we went for the easy way out, and ordered the rice table, which would give us a huge range of dishes, all in small portions, like a tasting menu.
We wanted something soupy as well, so we went for the spicy Indonesian chicken soup. Our server knew we were from Singapore and that we have a very high tolerance for spicy food, so she gave us some extra chilli to increase the heat. She popped off for a while, and when she came back she started to warn us to be careful with not adding too much chilli into the soup, but we had already dumped a good portion of the chili in our soup and were happily drinking it. So she very quickly got the idea that we meant business, and that we weren’t bragging when we told her that we have a super high tolerance for spicy food.
The rice table was truly impressive. Our table was very quickly filled up with dishes and dishes of food, and we had to shift our water to the bar counter as our table simply didn’t have any more space for anything but our tiny dishes of Indonesian delights.
It would be impossible to review every single dish, since there were so many of them – about 30 in all. Overall, we found the taste extremely authentic. It could be the correct type of herb or spice used, or the cooking technique, or both, but anyhow, we were very impressed by how authentic everything tasted. In short, Tempo Doeloe could well have been opened in Indonesia, and it would fit right in with the best of the restaurants there.
We were particularly drawn to the vegetables, since we haven’t had any semblance of greens for a while now. They were all very nicely cooked and fresh. We loved the crackers as well, and A was intrigued by the coconut flakes and kept mixing them in everything she ate. Our satay was also excellent. We were given a stick each, and we just wished we had more! The sauce was wonderful, and just night and day from the appalling one we had just one day ago at Aneka Rasa.
Our dishes were arranged very thoughtfully for us, with a gradual progression in spice level. We were encouraged to begin with the mildly spiced dishes and to work our way towards the hotter ones. The mild and medium spiced dishes were no kick to us. The ones advertised as spicy were indeed more spicy than the medium ones, but still very manageable. There was one particular dish which our server told us was dangerous spicy. That was impressive. The spice was really bold, and we could feel our tongue getting numb and our lips tingling.
After our meal our waitress was impressed that we managed to eat our way through all the levels of spice, so she brought us a complimentary last dish, a devilishly spicy chicken dish. She told us that this was the spiciest dish that they have. This got us both excited and quite scared. When we first tasted it, we didn’t feel that it was any different from the dangerously spicy one we had earlier. However, after a while we started to feel our tongues and lips getting numb and then start burning, and the chili heating up our stomach walls. It was really one of the spiciest things we have ever had, and it was an amazing experience. We’ve definitely met our match. Now we can say that we’ve tried something that was truly spicy beyond words. The burning sensation lasted us for a couple of hours, and it was just extraordinary.
Overall, we had a great meal in Tempo Doeloe. The food came in very small portions, but there were so many of those small portions that we were well stuffed by the end of the meal. We were just thrilled to find a good authentic Indonesian restaurant, which made the whole trip even more memorable.