zondag 28 februari 2016

TOP 15 of 2015 Amsterdam + Gent

1. Humus Botanical Gastronomy (Brussels)

Chef Nicolas De Cloedt (ex In de Wulf) is a smart cookie and a smart cook.
Nicolas invites 20 people to his beautiful home where he cooks a set 7 or 8 course diner. His partner Caroline, who's a dietitian, hosts the party and serves amazing organic wines. Strictly vegetarian, but don't worry meat lovers: you won't even think about meat once you're eating the delicious and creative dishes Nicholas produces.

Nicolas serves top vegetarian gastronomy in his Brussels home. He is very much into local produce and often uses herbs, plants and items he finds in his garden or around the Koekelberg Basilisk. Not only is the food amazing, and surprising, dining with 20 other people on one long table makes for interesting conversation  as well. All in all a sensational experience.

Extremely highly recommended.


2. BAK (Amsterdam)

Restaurant BAK is truly an experience. It's well hidden under the exposed beams roof in the Veem building lining the Oude Houthaven (Van Diemenstraat). They began as a pop up restaurant, but the pop remains up. They're here to stay. Hopefully for a very long time. You really feel like you're in a secret gastronomic hide out while dining in the BAK attic overlooking the Houthaven. 

The chef creates a daily menu. Very organic, a lot of vegetables. It's all seasonal, they grow their own vegetables in crates on the pier in the Houthaven. You can choose the number of courses you want to have. Order as many as possible, you'll love them all. Price/Quality you can't go wrong. I can recommend the wine pairing as well. You'll be dazzled. 


3. De Vitrine (Gent)

A restaurant owned by Kobe Desramault (in de wulf). It's small, cozy, good staff half open kitchen and a great place to be. Lots of clever local dishes, inspired by west flemish grandma's. The food is absolutely brilliant. 

There's a set menu but do yourself a favour and get the extra course in your meal. You won't be dissapointed. We always went with a matching wine formula, very handy with the surprise menu and peculiar flavours you'll experience.

Well priced as well. The place to go when visiting Gent.


4. Daalder (Amsterdam)

An old fashioned "brown" bar in Amsterdam aiming for a Michelin star. After dining here you'll know it's not such a crazy thought. Absolutely comfy setting, laid back atmosphere, friendly staff. You'll feel right at home.

Creative modern food, think organic local produced veggies and meat combined with the best the sea has to offer in a sustainable way.  

5. Aan de Amstel (Amsterdam)

For years I biked past Aan de Amstel at Weesperzijde on my way to work from Zuid to Oost. I always made a mental note "must go dine here soon". Then one day, my girlfriend decided we should go. It was an excellent idea. Since it closed 1 september 2015.

Apparently a new cool restaurant opened it's doors... will check it out of course.

6. Cochon de Luxe (Gent)

Moving to Gent was quite a disruption. The amount of good and affordable dining options where cool enough people are hanging out got slashed overnight. But lucky for us we live on De Vitrine + Cochon de Luxe side of town. We actually spotted Cochon de Luxe whilst smoking cigarettes outside of De Vitrine. We obviously had to try it out.

More expensive than De Vitrine, but not as expensive as Volta, Cochon de Luxe serves Belgian dishes in a glamourous way. Think of gold pighead appetizers, amazing Gent Ginderella Gin Tonics, unusual combinations and a lot of colour.

It's an amazing journey filled with surprises and gastronomic delight. Highly recommended!


7. Volta (Gent)

Top gastronomy in an old power plant. An amazing setting and spectacular interior design. Every bite is a sensation. It doesn't get any better than this.

Highlight of the evening was the sashimi/sushi creation that was served. Absolutely to die for. The wine pairing was pretty awesome too. You will definitely taste flavours you never tasted before. 

Staff is professional and fun. Don't come here when you're on a budget. It's not cheap, but you won't feel cheated. Highly recommended!


8. Citroen

Now if you're in for a surprise then you need to dine at Citroen. The location is perfect, it's on the second floor of the old Citroen garage and car dealership at Stadionplein in Oud Zuid. Don't forget to check out the garden/green house where the delicious veggies are grown. 
The setting is minimal, unused pink tables are removed, pink lighting and an open kitchen. Good staff and an amazing chef (ex Hotel Goudfazant) who knows what he's doing. Sustainable, unique, clever, delicous.

On top of all my restaurant lists! Highly highly recommended.


9. J.E.F

J.E.F. was on my 'to go' list for quite some time. Soon after moving back to Gent we decided to give it a try. Trying being the key word here. The place looks good, the vibe is good. The food is good, and maybe that's the thing that is off. The food is good, but not mind blowing. There's no spectacular journey. It's good food, that is it. It's not cheap. That's another thing. Highlight of our meal: the bone marrow.

Should you go? yes.
Should you go twice? nah.

A little bit recommended.


10. Revue (Gent)

This is probably one of the places I am most grateful for for just being in Gent. Why? It looks good. There's good food. Service is cosmopolitan. They're open 7/7. They don't close down between Xmas and new years. Good stuff in my book. You can share, you can eat tapas, there are Belgian classic dishes on the menu brought to you in a modern way. Decent plates, not too fussy. Is there a downside? Maybe, it might attract the wrong crowd. Should you care? No way josé!

Must tries: Pork belly lollypops and the meatballs. If you wish to feel like anywhere in the world: Revue.


11. Graceland Bar-B-Q

Whenever I'm craving good meat, Graceland pops into my head. So yes, I often go there. The explenation is not so hard. There's a Texan, a Texan barbecue installation and IPA's. The meat has been barbecued and smoked for hours and hours. You need to order the baby back ribs and pulled pork AND the refried black beans. Look around. I might be sitting at the table next to you.

Oh yes, it's very reasonably priced. You can't go wrong! Southern comfort on a plate.
A visit is in fact mandatory! (unless you're booking a flight to San Antonio TX as we speak)


12. Chix (Gent)

So yes Gent also hopped on the rotisserie train, new trends arrive in Belgium with a long lag time, but at least it's good Gent is the place to actually pick up this trend. Eat Love Tastings (with the amazing Nicholas Decloedt in charge of the kitchen) moved way for Belgium's first rotisserie restaurant and (also thanks to Nicholas) it's a good thing it did. The atmosphere is hip, casual, fun. The wines are absolutely fabulous. You need to get the Hungarian wine. I know, Hungarians are now making awesome wine... progress right. 

And the chicken. Succulent, tasty, plenty. Good side dishes, and the carrots for a starter are highly recommended.
Highly recommended.


13. Bar Breitner

Traditional fuss free French food in Amsterdam.
Good venue. Interesting location.
Tourist free.
Have the confit de canard, the way it should be done.

Highly recommended.


14. Morgan & Mees

My prefered hotel in Amsterdam at the moment. But they serve good food as well! Hip and suave interior, sexy hip succesful people, cosmopolitan vibe, good service, good food? Yes it's all there. Is the food mind blowing. Is it a good place to go and have dinner? Totally. It's a great night out! 

You can sip excellent cocktails with other cool people at the adjacent cocktail bar.



15. Michel-Inn

It was raining, played the bass all night, we were hungry, we passed Michel-Inn, pizzas came to mind, we parked our bikes. The welcome was memorable. Very enjoyable. Really great service. Rediscovered stout. And since we were being adventurous we decided to go for the tapas. We were/are so grateful we did. The food was totally amazing. On a surprise scale from 1 to 10 -> 10!

Michel-Inn isn't no where near fancy, hip, cool, look-how-sustainable-we-are...it's artisanal and there's love on your plate. It's a local spot. A hidden gem.


Worth your while in Amsterdam and elsewhere:

16. Rauw (Amersfoort)
17. A little of what you fancy (London)
18. Viet View (De Foodhallen Amsterdam)
19. Q Grill (London)
20. Balls & Glory
21. De Hoftuin
22. Andrew Edmunds (London)
23. Cafe Panache
24. De Superette (Gent

- Clochard de luxe (Gent)
- Rokkebolle (Gent)
- De Raadkamer (Gent)

Smokin' Barrels
Americano Bar & Kitchen
Carter Bar & Kitchen
George Bistro
De Plantage
O Mai
Jacques Jour
Paper Planes
Van 't Spit
Mossel & Gin
Buurman & Buurman
Van de buurt
Hotel not hotel
Waldorf Astoria
Meat West
Halte 3
Eddy Spaghetti
Vrijmoed (Gent)
Publiek (Gent)
Oak (Gent)
Naturell (Gent)
Bodo (Gent)
Lof (Gent)
Het Gouden Hoofd (Gent)
Domestica (Gent)
Brasserie Ha (Gent)
Jour de fete (Gent)

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