MaMa Kelly in The Hague is a godsend for those people who have trouble deciding what to order. No more dithering while the waiting staff hover hopefully, only to spot something else that looks even more appetising. Mama keeps things simple: chicken or lobster. There’s a two-metre charcoal grill and those two proteins to choose from, plus a few specials such as steak or risotto. Bosh, job done.
Near the city’s historic centre is an area of post-industrial properties that house many of The Hague’s most exciting new horeca — a portmanteau of hotel, restaurant and café. Situated next door to the Caballero Fabriek creative hub, there’s an energetic buzz about the place with a youthful crowd popping in from their studios for lunch or an after-work drink. MaMa Kelly has been designed by Rein Rambaldo accordingly. The mural portrait of the proprietress, powerfully positioned up high among the old tanks and pipework, suggests she’s not the middle-aged matron one might expect from the name. Along with some original factory fittings and equipment, the venue has retained an industrial materiality through new additions such as the blackened steel cages and polished copper surfaces. Delicately ornamental light fittings, and even the odd tree, smooth the edges of all the rawness.