Finally, my first visit to the culinary wizzkid of Ghent, Marcelo Ballardin…. He started professional cooking only four years ago and opened Oak in Ghent in October 2014, obtaining a 14/20 in GaultMillau’s 2015 guide one month later. Oak seats some 20 people for lunch and dinner in the heart of the historical center of the Flemish town of Ghent.

Having worked at prestigious restaurants like Pure C, Marcelo is not only being a creative mastermind in his own restaurant, he also takes every single opportunity he can come across to learn from fellow chefs all over Europe….remarkable… He’s like a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge he can, continuously improving and fine tuning his cooking style, relentlessly thinking about taking things to the next level.

So what kind of food can you expect when visiting Oak? Marcelo cooks with seasonal, fresh ingredients and has developed a very personal style, excelling in combining flavors and textures in an impressive way…common denominator throughout the meal was also a very precise use of acidity, both in the deliciously fresh non-alcoholic cocktail and in the dishes, including the desserts. Eating at Oak, takes you around the world but without ever becoming eclectic or sloppy, well on the contrary…it’s all about balance and clever pairings.

To me, Oak could very well be one of the best restaurants of Ghent and certainly a visit…if you manage to get in….

I rated my visit 16/20


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