BREAKING NEWS: Gert and Joachim of Hertog Jan which closed its doors a few years ago, in the Bruges area, are returning to the fine dining scene in Belgium. They are opening a 12 seat restaurant which will be called “Hertog Jan at Botanic Antwerp” in the brand new 5 hotel “Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp”, in Antwerp (obviously). Exciting news and best of luck to them! Opening in May 2021.
Except for London, it’s always a challenge to find proper Japanese fine dining in Europe. Luxembourg has had to live with mediocre sushi restaurants, often prepared by non-Japanese chefs and with Western styled flavours. This has finally changed with the opening of Ryodo by chef Ryodo Kajiwara.
Ryodo used to work at the 1* French restaurant Clairefontaine in Luxembourg before setting up his own place in the quiet and residential area of Merl (Luxembourg City). The restaurant interior has been beautifully refurbished with extreme attention to detail, transforming it into a cosy fine dining temple, offering place to some 30 guests. There is also a counter where Ryodo San prepares the sushis and sashimis, with a limited number of counterseats, currently unavailable due to Corona restrictions.
There is a choice of à la Carte and set menus, including a tasting menu, an all sushi menu and a vegeterian menu, ranging from 59 EUR to 87 EUR. For lunch there is a really nice Bentobox option at 37 EUR. On the wine and saké list, there’s a nice selection of beverages to accompany your meal. Needless to say that the carefully chosen sakés are the best match here.
Ryodo San is not only a highly skilled chef, he is also obsessed by the quality of his ingredients. Always looking for the best, he just will not settle for anything less. A5 Wagyu, beautiful fish and seafood…what else could one wish for? Ryodo San transforms all these top notch ingredients in absolutely delicious dishes, based on the highest standards and traditions of Japanese cooking.
In the pastry section, we are treated to highly refined desserts, elegantly combining Japanese and French influences.
Needless to say that this restaurant has quickly become a new hotspot in Luxembourg. I am convinced that this will also be like this for a very long time to come. Ryodo San has just started his promising culinary journey with his restaurant and no doubt that the future looks very bright for this talented chef!https://ryodoes.com
Pierre Gagnaire nails it… about the ever present risk of losing a star…and about how it’s part of the deal…
Not really a surprise…and yes, even the biggest monuments can crumble down…yes, it’s an epic place but well past it’s summit for sure. Paul Bocuse demoted from 3* to 2*
I had hope. I saw (again) the pure emotion and joy of some of the chefs who genuinely expressed pride and gratitude for the recognition they got for their hard work and dedication in their own little restaurant. And then we came to 2* and 3* and then they fu@ing ruined the whole bloody thing!!!!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭
Fox Flambé is the new concept by Tom Devos. Tom is a foodie who likes to cook and he had the idea to set up a place in the heart of Bruges to organize workshops around specific cooking subject. Here’s a series of pics of the first edition featuring 1* Chef Timothy Goffin, one of the most talented chefs of Belgium.
What we liked:
* small scale of the city center, you can walk to most places
* amazing offering of small bars and restaurants, great design and very well kept
* proximity of the sea
* very convenient public transport
* proximity of the airport
* lots of bakeries and pastry shops
What we missed:
* a city supermarket, there were only very little ones with a very limites offer of (fresh) products
What not to miss:
*a trip to Cascais, cute seaside village. Approx. 35 mins from Lisbon trainstation. Walk to the natural reserve Boca Inferno, beautiful rocky coastline. Eat at Mar do Inferno, delicious sea food on top of the cliffs.
*a trip to Belèm: by bus, train or tram. Not far from Lisbon. Historical starting point of the boats that sailed out to discover and conquer the world, during the glory days of Portugal as a naval superpower.
* Castelo de São Jorge: overlooking the city, this castle was home to the Moorish occupants (pre 12th century)
*El Corte Inglès: for shopping (not in the least food shopping), on top of the metro station Sao Sebastiau.
*Time Out Food Market opposite the Central Station
So, it’s the end of another epic 3* restaurant…Hertog Jan, better known as HJ, near Bruges (B) closed its doors yesterday…or not?
Indeed, every end is a new beginning and HJ will rise again, like a Phoenix from the flames, adapted to what fine dining seems to become more and more, conceptual in some cases, downscaled and more focussed on an intimate, high end experience in others…like here…
Gert and Joachim have had the perfect journey, from the simple, cosy restaurant with traditional dishes on the menu, they have lifted their restaurant to the highest level, with years and years of hard work and dedication. The ultimate reward being the 3* and the move to their new restaurant in Zedelgem, just outside of Bruges, becoming a worldwide culinary reference when it comes to fine dining.
Gert became an authority in the 3* world, especially in Japan, and foodies from all over the world made their way to the beautiful farmrestaurant in Zedelgem….
The last time I saw these two best friends at work, they delivered a totally brilliant performance, serving genuine 3* food to over 500 guests at a dinner hosted by Michelin in Ghent….worldclass these boys, no doubt about it.
Gert and Joachim, a big thank you for what has been…and so looking forward to what will be…your stars will never fade… Proud of what you have achieved and of how you contributed to the reputation of Belgian gastronomy and Bruges.
« I believe in the team, the team is what I protect, not the individual. In fact, I think that they are giving a little too much voice to chefs. Shut up and work…It is a formula that has always worked very well for me.” Albert Adrià, Chef’s Table, season 5… Wise words…what do you guys think about super star status for the chefs? Can it be the start of the end of the creative process when chefs become rockstars, travelling from one award ceremony to the other…going to media events inbetween?
Dear friends, I have always feared the prospect of travelling to Venice, Italy, because of horror stories of tourist traps charging ridiculous amounts of money for average food and bad wines. So, to my great surprise, I had a fantastic experience there last week… possibly THE greatest experience so far in Italy. Valentino on the Lido island was fab for traditional, simple Italian with a wine list that blew me away…including beautiful, older Barolo’s….and at super cheap prices (for the wines we had) Dinner at Belmond Hotel Cipriani was excellent, easily exceeding their current 1* status… Do you have similar experiences with other places where you feared bad quality and ridiculous prices but where you had pleasant surprises?