No rum but cake at Rum Baba

No rum but cake at Rum Baba

Mar 5, 2014 |  by  |  Food
About the author
I'm a food stylist, like pugs and doomcore and will buy a book twice if I like the edition. My favourite thing about Amsterdam is its windows and a certain house on the gracht where people read and plans are hatched by candlelight.

Because we’re still on the right pages of the calendar to be talking of new beginnings, I thought I might try out the newest coffee addition on my way home from my newest ritual of (sometimes) doing yoga. However, had I realised that half of Oost’s young mothers were also thinking they’d ‘just stop by for a cup of coffee on a Saturday after a morning’s whatever’ (with their kids so probably no yoga but certainly a bakfiets ride to the market later), I wouldn’t have gone. Or at least not on a Saturday.

The experience

Whether Rum Baba was so full of little humans because it was a Saturday or because the place is decorated in cupcake colours, however, is difficult to say. It also smells like chocolate chip cookies are baking in the oven (they were), which, admittedly, also has more than a certain degree of magnetism to it. So did the fact that the banana bread I tried had also recently come from the same oven (mellow, moist) and that the espresso had the right amount of pucker.

There was also absolutely nothing to complain about with regards to the cappuccino I tasted next either.

The observation

Don’t get me wrong. It’s certainly not a bad thing that a certain breed of coffee place these days seems to believe a few nonchalant palms placed around the white wood floor is essential (it’s not, but it’s nice); that they pay attention to the degree at which they heat the water for tea (in a coffee place) and that, in general, the people who work there give an almost sushi-master precision to whatever drink they’re slowly preparing. There was also absolutely nothing to complain about with regards to the cappuccino I tasted next either.

The future

However, now that we have at least one of these speciality establishments at each compass point of Amsterdam, I believe that we need a little more. Yes Rum Baba bake their own cakes, yes, they’ve only been open for a few weeks and so, with time, some of the pleats will no doubt be ironed out and no, it’s not their fault that there were so many kids around. And maybe now that the standard has been set a few times already, that’s all there is to opening a new coffee place: matching the standard. But I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s enough to rely on the fact you’re a gem surrounded by rocks in terms of taste and expertise or that you’re as minimalistically furnished as the last popular place. I’m all for making good coffee the standard coffee of Amsterdam and I’m past minding the mass migration of MacBooks to anywhere with a whiff of wifi and a table not bigger than the size of, say, a 13” MacBook and a flat white. But a sparkle of something more individual is still missing independently of the fact that I’m still grateful for the fresh smell of baking in the air.


Where: Pretoriusstraat 33
When: Tue – Sat 09.00 – 17.00 Sun/Mon closed
Online: Facebook

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