Amsterdam Foodie

Pre-theatre dinner at The Roast Room

When I was five or six, my parents took me to London to see the musical Cats. It was quite possibly the first time I’d ever been to the theatre, and it was a magical experience that has stayed with me ever since. I could still remember my anguish as the faded Glamour Cat poured her heart into Memory, and my sheer joy at the energy of Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat. I must have gone on about it a lot, even in my 30s, because for Christmas Mr Foodie gave me two tickets to the production currently playing at the RAI Theatre in Amsterdam. It’s the original English version that was performed in the West End for over 20 years – and it’s in Amsterdam for just three weeks. I was, as you can imagine, beside myself with joy.

To make the most of our theatre evening, we decided to catch an early dinner at The Roast Room – a spaciously grand grill restaurant at the northern end of the RAI complex. Downstairs, you can order bar food and the night we were there it was packed – the RAI evidently provides a constant crowd of theatre goers and conference visitors. But upstairs, you can make a reservation at the rotisserie – it was significantly calmer, so I was thankful we had.

The Roast Room, Amsterdam
The Butcher’s Platter at The Roast Room, Amsterdam RAI

The menu is predominated by steaks, but you can also order various other meat and fish options – The Roast Room is catering to a wide audience. We, however, decided to go classic and order the Butcher’s Platter – a selection of ribeye, flank steak and sirloin. I’d heard good things about The Roast Room a few months ago when I’d been doing research for an article about steakhouses, so I had high hopes. And the flank steak (on the left in the picture) lived up to them: flavoursome, juicy, and tender to the teeth. The other two, however, were disappointing – the ribeye in particular was tough and tasteless, while it was the cut I’d usually expect to like the most.

As sides, we tried the fries with tarragon mayonnaise, which were good but could’ve done with being fluffier in the centre (there is such a thing as being too crispy). Meanwhile, the roasted pumpkin with Brussels sprouts and bacon was fine, but why use sliced bacon instead of crunchy lardons?

We only had one glass of wine each (although admittedly it was a Californian Pinot Noir and the second most expensive red by the glass) and dinner came to €50 each including a tip. For one course, with one glass of wine. I don’t remember when Amsterdam got this expensive, but I can understand why some of the Dutch feel they’re being forced out of the city. Fortunately, Rum Tum Tugger, Magical Mr Mistoffelees and their Jellicle friends made me forget all about it… Cats, you bring back memories – in every sense.

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The Roast Room (American)


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