When my friend Danielle and I went to Amsterdam at the end of February, we had one place in mind to visit. MaMa Kelly, the recently opened, pink palace of fine dining and of course, cocktails.
MaMa Kelly is located in the old Olympic Stadium that was renovated at the turn of the century, about a twenty minute taxi ride from the centre of Amsterdam. Our taxi driver commented on how popular it’s become in the short time since it opened, especially due to the location. It’s a hot spot for locals preferring to avoid the tourist traps of central Amsterdam, and those happy to make the short journey out of the centre.
I think it’s the strangest place for a restaurant like this, and I wasn’t sure what to expect with it being inside a sports stadium. Approaching the entrance you do feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, there’s no other bars or restaurants that I could see, but once you walk through those doors you’re thrown back in time to an almost Gatsby era of powder pink (everywhere!), Hollywood style bulb lighting, and fabulous gold trim.
We were met by the host as we arrived, and taken up three floors to our table. Passing through you see the variety of tables on offer, from downstairs booths in the bar area, to big group bookings tables, more intimate booths and tables for two. What they all have in common are the tiny gold lamps, pink tablecloths, pink menus and pink napkins. It really reminded me of the fabulous colour scheme at the Beverley Hills Hotel, it has that pink and palm tree vibe about it.
We pre booked via email so far in advance, and I would again in future. Their website says reservations open ever Monday for the week, but as we were visiting from abroad I think that helped us as we definitely booked up more than a week ahead. The place was full, from friends, to families, couples and even what looked like a few business meetings.
It had a very relaxed atmosphere, with loud chatter, music playing and cocktail glasses chinking.
The staff were great, plenty of them on each floor and behind the bar, and they were happy to explain the menu to us, which doesn’t really take much explaining. Basically it consists of lobster and chicken, served in all sorts of different ways. It’s quite similar to Burger & Lobster in London. Of course there are other options available too in case you aren’t a fan of their signature dishes, like fish, lamb, steak and other seafood.
The cocktail and wine list is extensive too, and of course fits in with the pink theme. I went for the pink gin, I mean what’s not to like? It was pretty strong so I made it last, I didn’t want it to go straight to my head and stop me enjoying the food.
As we sat and browsed the menu, tables around us were brought their meals, and it really made us so hungry I considered skipping starters. It all looked mouth watering. In the end I went for the oysters to start, and Dani has the lobster risotto.
If you’re a fan of oysters then you’d enjoy these. Really fresh and they come with all the seasoning to make them up to your taste. But I did try the risotto and that was so good I had major food envy.
For mains we both went for the half garlic lobster, served with a rice salad. We got some mac and cheese, and a portion of sweet potato fries on the side.
Until I’ve come to write about it now I forgot how good that whole meal was. The lobster was meaty and plenty of it, the mac and cheese was everything you want from a comfort food side, and the sweet potato wedges were smothered in some sort of sauce that made it really difficult to stop eating even when we were so full we couldn’t take any more.
I think Dani might have had a chocolate brownie for desert, but I couldn’t eat any more after mains so focused on the cocktails instead. After we were finished our food we moved down to the ground floor to sit at the bar.
It’s a great spot to sit and enjoy the place after your meal, with a really good atmosphere that made it feel like a different place entirely. I don’t think you’d visit if you weren’t eating though, it’s not central or easily accessible, but it made it a really nice night to spend the whole place in one spot without needing a change of scenery.
The whole place is pretty quirky, not just because it’s fully decked out in pink, but the giant photo booth, and gold ornaments dotted around the bar really do take you back in time to a much more glamourous era than a ‘restaurant in the Olympic Stadium of Amsterdam’ makes it sound.
It wasn’t the cheapest place, cocktails were between €10-€15, starters ranged from €12-€25 and mains were €25-over €40. I wouldn’t say that was a surprise though, especially when it’s lobster, but keep in mind it’s not one for a cheap night out.
For two girls wanting good food, strong cocktails and a night out under one roof with a decent atmosphere MaMa Kelly’s is definitely somewhere I’d recommend and go again. Maybe not if you’re not a fan of pink, but personally I think what’s not to love? I’d also really want to visit at lunchtime, in case you can’t tell by my murky photos it was pretty dark at night, so I’d love to see it in all its pink glory during the day.
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