One of the best meals in Barcelona ever.
3 Michelin starred Hertog Jan, located 20 minutes drive from the medieval Belgian town Bruges, is one of the most memorable restaurants I’ve been to over the last years. 8 months ago, it has relocated from Bruges to the 19th-century farm, which had taken 4 years to renovate. Everything here is all about peace of mind and harmony with nature and seasonality, starting with clean lines of the building, finishing with the lovely view of the garden, where herbs and vegetables are grown for the restaurant use. And, one shouldn’t forget the smell of the cows, as it’s the countryside after all!
The restaurant is run by chef Gert de Mangeleer and former superstar sommelier Joachim Boudens, whose aim was to create a “zen like” experience, something much more than just serving delicious and creative food to their guests. Although Gert likes to describe his style of cooking as minimal (indeed, one can see some parallels with the new Scandinavian type of cooking), the main focus here is not only the aesthetics but the flavour of the dish. Often extremely beautiful dishes can be disappointing in their taste. Not in the case of Hertog Jan, where the beauty of a dish goes hand in hand with its deliciousness. “Avocado with tomato and olive oil”, one of the most ingenious Gert’s creations, was the simplest of all. Perfectly ripe avocado was covered with tomato powder and drizzled with some olive oil. I love how more and more Michelin starred chefs are focusing on emphasizing the quality of the products. Only truly gifted ones though, likes Gert de Mangeleer, are capable of bringing simplicity to the next level. “Caviar with watermelon and mozzarella”, “bone marrow with scallop and black radish”, decadent and rich “oxtail with polder potato, black truffle and some lemon zest” – these were incredibly delicious dishes, definitely worth the long trip. In fact, Hertog Jan has so inspired me, that I am already thinking of returning there later this year.
Here are some of the most important highlights of the meal…