Like coming home

I get red cheeks of shame when I think that after all the times I have eaten at Brasserie Lids, I have never written about it!! Brasserie Lids is a lovely neighborhood restaurant in the heart of the old part of Antwerp city where I always like to go with my family (My wife, my baby girl and me (and sometimes our moms)). It is one of those places where I don’t have to worry if my baby girl makes a bit more noise…sometimes when she does make a bit more noise, Raïssa (owner) picks her up and does a little tour with her in the restaurant (FYI, my daughter always likes to see everything) after which she calms down and falls asleep.

Elo & Raïssa

We also like to come here because Raïssa, the owner and cook, studied together with my wife at University and is a friend of hers 🙂  It’s surprising though the career switch Raïssa has made from communication science to cooking in her own restaurant. One thing I’m sure about is that she is happy about the switch because you can really tell she is in her element in the kitchen and she brightens up the restaurant with her big smile and man does she like to laugh 🙂 :-). Because of all the things I said before eating at Brasserie lids feels like coming home. You also be surprised how peaceful it is at Brasserie lids considering it is in the city center 🙂 like an oasis of peace in the city

Brasserie lids

Brasserie lids 2

brasserie lids 3

You don’t need to expect molecule or Michelin star food, but just good homemade classic Belgian/French dishes like Vol-au-vent (that has won a few awards for best of Antwerp), steak,etc… and weekly changing suggestions depending on what the market offers. Dishes (good portions) that you enjoy with a good glass of wine of local Belgian beer and for an affordable price. She even makes her own mayonnaise, which is something you don’t see that much anymore…

Salmon burger


caprese grey shrimp avocado salad smoked duke breast salad seabass

So next time you don’t feel like cooking and feel like a home cooked meal and you are in Antwerp … do try Brasserie Lids and hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much I always do!

Brasserie Lids

Address: Veemarkt 4, 2000 Antwerp – Belgium


And a chick chick here and a chickpea there

Eating complicated dishes can be nice, but you won’t be tempted eating it every day. A simple dish however you are able to eat over and over again… a great example of a dish like this is hummus. I could eat hummus every day all the time, and if it weren’t for my wife stopping me I would 🙂 (so when she’s not there I do, I know I’m a rebel 😉 ) . I know I say simple which it is, but making a good hummus isn’t as simple as it might look. It does only contain a few ingredients, but still you will never be able to make it taste like the real Middle Eastern hummus. An option would indeed be buying it in the supermarket, but there again it still doesn’t taste the same. For me the spots to buy it is in a real Lebanese restaurant/shop, Israelian eatery or at an open air market at a Middle Eastern shop …In Antwerp the perfect place to get it (and even eat it) is at ‘Chickpea’  a so called hummus bar :-).

11911418_10153040152521766_47141469_n 11938973_10153040152481766_159426524_n


The story behind this place is quite unique, the owner/cook (aka Yossi Israël) is a former jeweler who decided a year ago to  leave gold and diamonds for what they are and have a little career change and start working with another kind of jewel aka chickpea 🙂 Using old family recipes that have been used for generations and generations you can only imagine how wonderful this hummus tastes. If he made his jewels like he now makes hummus, those must have been some beautiful jewels 🙂


Chickpea is without any doubt THE best place to have hummus, pimped hummus (with lam stew, shrimps…) or hummus related dishes like falafel in Antwerp. Their eatery might be small, but the taste of their food makes  it big… it may have been the hot temperatures, but I felt on holiday sitting on their terrace, sipping from my home-made lemonade and making my plate of hummus emptier with the help of a warm pita bread 🙂 (am I making you picture it 😉 ) Once you tried their hummus you won’t want anything else anymore. Thank god for Take away 🙂





Address: Oudaan 4, 2000 Antwerp – Belgium


Fucking perfect

It took me a long time but I finally found my way to The Jane. For most people it is the name Sergio Herman (owner) that makes them go, for me the trigger was Gianluca Di Taranto aka The Jane’s sommelier!! He doesn’t believe me when I say it, but it is true (he was also the trigger bringing me to‘t Zilte a few years ago when he used to work there). It was not the long waiting time for a free table (about 3 months) that made me wait so long, but rather the hype around The Jane. I had already been lots of times to Pure C (Sergio’s other restaurant), so I knew the food would be great… I just had experiences in the past with restaurants being hyped so much, but when you actually went it didn’t meet up with the high expectation/idolization and the fuzz made around it (Dinner by Heston for me is one of those, that’s why I didn’t write anything about it).  So I basically was a bit afraid I would be the same with The Jane. The second trigger (and in the end decisive trigger) was the fact that my wife told me out of the blue she wanted to go there 🙂 🙂 I was so surprised as she never comes up with stuff like this, usually it is me pushing restaurants 🙂  Strike while the iron is still hot was first thing that came in mind. The gods must have agreed with me, as the still had some free spots for the day we wanted to go… In the upper room bar that is, not in the actually restaurant. The big difference between both (in same building) is that in the ‘restaurant’ you sit at the table and it is executive chef Nick Bril (and Sergio Herman himself) prepares your meal. In the Upper bar room you sit a big bar and see the cooks prepare your meal right in front of you (you might call it show cooking 🙂 ). The upper room bar is also a good way to get familiarized with The Jane’s food style, but than in tapas style.

15-08-2015 10-32-44

I cannot get around it, I must mention the building The Jane is situated in as it is so special! The Jane’s first ‘project’ name when Sergio Herman started was “La Chapelle”, maybe this already reveals where I’m going? The Jane is located in an old church that has been totally redone and is a true architectural masterpiece!! The pictures below will give you an idea, but seeing it ‘live’ is even more impressive. I love the high ceilings.

The Jane 1 The Jane 6 

The Jane 5

The Jane 4

I won’t lie about it, once I made the reservation I was as excited as a puppy to go to The Jane (that’s how I become when I can try a new restaurant). I only had to be patient for 2 weeks between the reservation and the lunch itself. Which in The Jane terms is not long as sometimes it can take you months to find a free spot…

The jane 2

The jane 7 The Jane 8

The Jane Upper bar room

I cannot use another word that describes it better, ‘Perfection’. From the moment you walk in until the moment you walk out you get pampered by every single member of the staff you see during your meal. I know you might say this is normal as you pay for it… I agree, but you would be surprised how many places ask the same or more, but give less, or where the staff doesn’t feel like working and don’t give the same welcome feeling. The advantage of the upper room bar is that you can make your own menu or better choose your ‘tapas’ à la carte (between 5 and 20 EUR). So you don’t need to go for the tasting menu (basically a walk through the à la carte menu) if you don’t want to…. It was also our initial plan as after our lunch we still had to go to a wedding (you cannot go to a wedding hungry, can you?) . BUT the meat is weak and we took the tasting menu 🙂 :-).  As Gianluca had told his colleagues from the Upper bar room we had to go to a wedding… so they speeded up things for us… luckily we aren’t rookies anymore and we (yes my wife also, I thought her well :-)) can handle some food.

In the end I’m also glad I took the tasting menu as you get to eat things you maybe wouldn’t have picked yourself due to some ingredients in it…like the chickenliver’s with black pudding for example is something that would scare lots, but in fact it was one of the best dishes ever, and this was only the 1st dish we got 🙂 :-). Also remarkable that the oyster didn’t make me sick.  I like its taste, but in the past every time I had an oyster (also in very good restaurants) I was as sick as a dog afterwards… My favorites were the chickenlivers with black pudding,  the noodles, the lam stew, the sashimi, the buckwheat noodles with lacked duck, the steamed buns with pork belly … basically every dish was full of deep flavors  and had all elements in a dish you would want there to be and therefore had one or the other reason to love the dish… ok maybe the oyster wasn’t my preferred one, but again it didn’t make me sick for a change :-). FYI, I didn’t take a picture from all my dishes as I ate some to quick and only realized afterwards I didn’t take a picture 🙂 (I know I’m using this sentence a lot, but I think I’m getting more greedy by the year I get older 🙂 )


steamed bun_lacked porkbelly_peanut

sashimi maigre_jalapeño Salalmi_pâté_sausage_parsleycreme

Lamshoulder stew

It is also said a meal is only finished perfect if you get a good dessert, I can only say it was a fucking perfect ending of our lunch 🙂 my wife and I were supposed to share our desserts, but the plats were empty before we remembered we were going to share 🙂 🙂 but I was told the Raspberry with pistachio and chocolate tasted heavenly 😉

lemon_cheesecake_vanilla raspberry_pistach_chocolat

It was nice to be served cocktails, different types of sake or vermouths during my meal… Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer a good wine pairing with my food (It might also be because of the sommelier 😉 )… I liked every drink, but for me the drinks were a bit too strong to keep up the whole meal, especially knowing after this lunch I still had to go to a wedding :-). There just has to be a next time to try it all again without having some event afterwards and I think in the evening would be a better plan 🙂


vermouth Saké for with porkbelly and sashimi

The Jan 3

It became a very long blog post and lots of smiley’s again, but you know that only means I’m very excited. I also got proven wrong, sometimes the fuzz and hype is just because they are just that good!!! Thank you Sergio, Nick and their The Jane team for the great (quick) lunch. So next time I won’t only come for the sommelier or because my wife wants to, but also for the fantastic food and to get Sergio Hermanized in the way it is supposed to happen (with more time)… even if that means I have to make a reservation at 8 a.m. …my 5 month old daughter will for sure help me to be awake in time 😉 :-)) like she did at 5 a.m. today to make sure I would have time to write this blog post 🙂

Restaurant The Jane


Address: Site ‘t Groen Kwartier, Paradeplein 1, 2018 Antwerp – Belgium

Good food can be closer than you think

When I look for a restaurant I mostly look ‘far’ away, without actually realizing that on less than a 5 minute walk there is an eatery that can still my hunger as good as the restaurants far away 🙂 Although I must confess that I got to know it aka FAIM via the local Antwerp tv channel ATV, who showed it on one of their show’s called ‘hotspot’. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have known it as it is in a part of my town I never pass (until now). FAIM already exists for a while, but it was only in February this year they decided to open up for lunch. Before February their main focus was catering and private dining… This month they are also opened at night, because most of the catering and private dining events are at night time 🙂


The friend that joined me for lunch is actually an old colleague of mine who has the same weak spot as me, good food 🙂 🙂 I remember when we used to work together, the moment I walked in the office we would start talking about food and great restaurants (making other colleagues crazy)… we would talk that much (in our breaks, never during work itself 😉 )we became so hungry that 85% of the time it would result into a lunch somewhere in the area. As we are now not working together anymore, this time we just did it for old time sake 🙂 and FAIM seemed like to ideal place.

Faim picture by

FAIM does not have an enormous ‘à la carte’ menu, but they do have something for everybody…next to that they also have a lunch menu and a ‘carte blanche’ menu that changes according what was available on the markets in the morning.. As you might guess,  our interest went mostly to the ‘carte blanche menu’:-). This week’s special ingredient (when we were at Faim that is) were mussels  and therefore also part of the ‘carte blanche’ and lunch menu… when the host overheard my friend saying he didn’t like mussels  too much,  he immediately interacted suggesting they could adapt the ‘carte blanche” menu without any  problem at all and leaving mussels out of the menu … and so they did.

After finishing our refreshing aperitif (for me a glass of bubbles and my friend a glass of vermouth) and the appetizer celery soup, we were served Green asparagus with smoked salmon, scallops, little grey shrimps and a mousseline . ALL ingredients I adore in 1 plate, a win wine I’d say and a not to heavy way to start the meal.  If it was cloudy I wanted red and when sunny white wine, it was sunny making we went for a white wine… the host suggested the Grüner Veltliner by Weingut Rabl. Summarized, SUMMER

20150723_123612 20150723_125249

The mean dish that followed was a classic entrecote (which they get from a local master butcher) with a little bit of choron sauce (bearnaise with tomato). This dish can either be heavenly or hell, luckily in this case it was more leaning on the good side than the bad side 🙂


We finished off with a red berries, gin ice and a homemade sabayon (the sabayon was nearly as good as my dad’s sabayon)… I would have loved staying some more, but duty called…


Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the great company or maybe the food, but I had one great lunch that asks to be done all over again and I’m pretty sure who my ‘victim’ will be :-). FAIM is the perfect lunchspot for a good non-nonsense lunch

Restaurant FAIM


Address: Kerkplein 8, 2650 Edegem, Belgium

Summer in Antwerp

Last week Belgium was suffering from way to high temperatures (which is unusual) up to 37°C. Believe me when I say it sounds better than it actually was, when it is this hot in Belgium it is not as nice as when you are in some southern Mediterranean village, but rather as dry as a cracker 🙂

With the exception of 1 evening last week were it DID really feel like being in a small southern Mediterranean village!! ALL thanks to Sepideh Sedaghatnia and her restaurant Divin by Sepi. (FYI you might remember her from one of my last posts). Imagine a hot summer night with from time to time a little ‘refreshing’ breeze while the sun slowly goes under, sitting outside with some friends around the dinner table , glasses filled with some bubbles or rosé wine and eating fingerfood …. the definition of a night when you are on holiday right?? I also wasn’t the only one feeling it, as everybody who was at Divin by Sepi Friday night had felt it.  Difference with a southern restaurant, that in this case the service was good and very professional 🙂 🙂 , but nevertheless in a loose way.

Divin by Sepi

A very important rule for when you eat at Divin is to relax and enjoy yourself and those are also Sepi’s only rules. I mean there are no obligations ((you do have to pay the bill all you smartypants out there), for example on the menu you have fingerfood and regular dishes, if you only want to go for fingerfood (no matter how many)… you only go for fingerfood, you don’t have to worry that somebody will think lesser of you or looks to you in a strange way :-)…  We (me and my friends) are greedy people so we obviously went for both the finger food AND the regular dishes 🙂 (I just followed, I didn’t want to be rude 🙂 🙂 ).





My friends

I do like the concept of the fingerfood, which is comparable with tapas you have in Spain. What I liked about Divin’s fingerfood is that you saw influences from all over the Mediterranean that got overlapped with Middle eastern or better Iranian influences (as that is where Sepideh is from) resulting in summer on a plate (and served in a refined way). Maybe it would be easier to tell what fingerfood we didn’t take as we took 90% of the menu 😉 no no, just kidding. The first fingerfood dish was an Iranian wrap with dates, basil and feta (but the Iranian version of Feta). If a non-cheese lover (especially goat or sheep cheeses) like me liked it I mustn’t say more, do I?  It is true that the dates in it made a bit sweeter (typical Middle eastern) and maybe that’s what made me love it??


The fingerfoods that followed were Soft shell crab, Kobideh sate, Falafel with tzatziki, a selection of refined meats and as frosting on the cake a Persian Pizza with grilled vegetables and harissa. One better than the other no doubt about that!! They tasted as well as they looked


selection of refined meats Soft shell crab Persian Pizza with grilled vegetables and harissa Kobideh sate

The eyes are bigger than the stomach, especially when there is nothing in the stomach yet 🙂 I think we had overdone it with the fingerfood. When placing our order with Sepideh everybody decided to take a mean course (for after the fingerfood), the ladies at our table were intelligent enough to go for a fish dish…



When the men (including me) saw ‘black angus short rib’ they had NO eyes anymore for other dishes… Again I repeat the eyes were bigger than the stomach aka greediness 🙂  Luckily Sepideh double checked with everybody after all the finger food who still up for the main dish. Let’s just say that we men split the meat instead of eating one each 😉 with exception for my buddy Jan who had a whole one for himself.  And there’s another example of not having any obligations … in lots of other places they would have just served us everything. So we basically shortend the short rib 🙂

Black Angus short rib

You might have noticed I didn’t speak about wine yet 🙂 and no not because we didn’t have any… We started our evening in a bubbly way with some Belgian bubbles from Ruffus which tasts just like champagne. FYI the reason it tastes like it is because where the grapes are grown, the soil is the same as the one in Champagne (Champagne’s soil ends in the Belgian region where Ruffus is made). That and the knowhow from the people making it 🙂 . If you ever get the chance of drinking it, I strongly advice it!


In my article about Sepideh’s book I said it was a pity there wasn’t a pocket version of the book. Good thing at the restaurant I didn’t need the pocket version as I had the original version 🙂 🙂 Sepideh in person…. I must say that Divin by Sepi has one of the broadest selections of wine I’ve seen in a restaurant. She has great wines from every continent (besides Asia I think) with a representation of a lot of countries of these contents, including the Middle East, Greece, etc.. Probably you’re thinking ‘Freak’ 🙂 “Whatever’ would my response to that be 😉 . The list was also nice a there were lots of wines on their that I’m sure nobody knows or barely know…but that are mind blowing!! For after the bubbles to make us feel even more on holiday Sepi thought a nice rosé by domaine OTT from the Provence would set the mood for with the finger food.


Followed by a refreshing German 2011 Pinot Noire from August Kesseler. To finish with a 2007 Italian red (it just had to happen one moment or the other) Fumin from Valle d’Aosta for with our Black Angus. This was basically what the doctor ordered 🙂 🙂 We were still in the mood for something else after this, but as we were all parents with a babysitter at home… duty called. One important lesson for next time bring them to the grandparents for a sleepover 😉



I did it again, I wrote a too long article, but you all know that only means I am very very enthusiastic :-)- Oh sorry I forgot the mention the dessert   I’ll just let the picture speak for itself!!



dessert 2

Thank you Sepideh and team for everything!! See you very soon!!

They keep surprising us

I have the feeling I keep repeating myself every year when I write about the new Bistronomy guide! Everytime it is launched I say it is a very good reference if you wish to eat well and want to get NO Nonsense food in Belgium and that they improve every year! BUT IT IS JUST THE THRUTH! Who thought Steve and Johannes (founders and owners) couldn’t surprise anymore or make their guide even better, think again, they succeeded to surprise again (and I think I’m not the only one) they literally spread their horizon since the last edition, this time they went across the language and even country boarders. After being a set value in Flanders, chefs from the French speaking part of Belgium, Luxemburg and even from the Netherlands have found their way to Bistronomy and in the guide.


For who doesn’t know yet what bistronomy stands for, it basically means No Nonsense food/restaurants where they serve bistro dishes that are brought in a more refined way. Thinking back to my visits to bistronomy restaurant gives me a big smile and the taste for more… BTW it doesn’t stop with the food as most restaurants also have a very nice wine selection like Les Eleveurs in Halle or Mondevino in Borgloon to name a few… but I don’t need to re-discover America, the motto described by the Bistronomy founders (that you seen below) speak for itself and describe exactly what Bistronomy stands for… and in case you doubt restaurants can be all that, just try and be amazed! Steve and Johannes were that excited about their new guide it was already in the shops the day before the press conference 🙂



It is all about the experience

Life is all about experiences, basically trying things you have never tried before. My wife and I have already been together for 15 years (although every day still feels like the first) and have already had so many wonderful experience together that finding new isn’t always that easy. Last week, to celebrate our 15th anniversary, I arranged an experience she didn’t expect at all.   I’m sure you now are all thinking I took her to some posh restaurant or some trip abroad, but those are things she would have expected me to do… and I guess that the eating part is mostly my favorite part (I’m sure she prefers the gift receiving). I took her to a restaurant chain called Colmar. For you who don’t know Colmar, Colmar is a Belgian chain of family diners that recently renovated all their restaurants :-). I bet you didn’t expect I would ever take her to a restaurant like this? Like I said before life is all about experiences and this doesn’t mean places like this can’t be an experience?! For me it was a totally new experience as I never ate at Colmar restaurants and for my wife it would be nostalgic as she used to come here from time to time with her parents when she was still a child… (and for some reason only ate hard boiled eggs). The food being served fast is a bonus now my wife is pregnant and doesn’t feel like spending hours at a dinner table 🙂

14-10-2014 13-14-34

Something I never doubted was the quality they serve for an honest price. There are soooo many people who eat at Colmar restaurants and every time I drive by one of their restaurants they always seem to be full. This can only indicate that the price/quality is good and you can also be sure you’ll be eating fresh food…Right? After my meal I can only confirm and agree with all those people. This is of course no top gastronomy (that is also not Colmar’s ambition), but good food for a good price and nothing wrong with that at all.

colmar wezenberg

Colmar restaurant

14-10-2014 13-31-58

Colmar has 3 menu options (4 if you take into account the special for kids) with Express as the most ‘basic’ menu and Enjoyer as the most elaborate menu and lover just in between those 2.

  • Express: Main course + drinks
  • Lover: Main course + starter or dessert + drinks
  • Enjoyer: Main course + starter + dessert + drinks

My wife and I decided to take the Enjoyer formula. I was surprised though with the variety of dishes going from burgers to spare ribs to kangaroo filet to codfish, etc… to even vegetarian dishes. They have something for everybody. The starters and desserts are to be taken by yourself from the buffet, the main course you order and it prepared in the kitchen. My wife had the salmon ‘en croute’ with bearnaise sauce and french fries as main menu. I had the Gourmand burger, but like in every other restaurant it was a tough decision to make as I saw lots of dishes I wanted to try… but for some reason greasiness always wins 🙂

20141010_194237 20141010_194345

What I also enjoyed seeing is that every child I saw entering in the restaurant had a enormous smile of happiness. I also found out the reason why they have this smile, the waiters /personnel!! At one moment I even saw a little girl running to one of the waiters and jumping in his arms… if this doesn’t prove Colmar is a kid friendly environment I’m not sure what will?! I must also say that even for the grown-ups Colmar is a nice environment to sit, they did a great job with the renovation!

I do know it is in contrast with the restaurants I usually write about, but nevertheless I found it essential to write about this experience is an experience like any other experience I had so far. I am also sure this wasn’t our last time at one of the Colmar restaurant. FYI we ate at the Colmar Wezenberg.

Food & Friends at Graanmarkt 13

It might seem that I’m not writing that many restaurant blog-posts anymore lately… I just visited fewer restaurants in Belgium this last year as I’ve been more abroad and visiting vineyards. I had to choose, one or the other…

Like every year, this year I organised another dinner with a whole group of friends. What is so special about these dinners and different than other dinners we organise is that once a year the restaurant is more Gastronomical. The last few year’s we used to go to Sergio Herman’s 1 Michelin restaurant Pure C (where we have always had great meals). This year however we chose to do it closer to home as the only date we could find where most people could come was a Friday evening. This year “our” choice (or better my choice as I tend to push my choice 🙂 ) went to restaurant Graanmarkt 13 that earlier this week was elected as best Flemish vegetable restaurant of 2015. Even before they had been elected it was already known that Chef Seppe Nobles liked working with vegetables as he is one of the few (or to my knowledge the only) restaurant with a city garden on the roof of his restaurant 🙂 (including beehives to make his own honey).

Graanmarkt 13

Graanmarkt 13 (1) Graanmarkt 13 (2) Graanmarkt 13 (3)

Graanmarkt 13 rooftop garden

Graanmarkt 13 has already been in Antwerp for a few years now, but it was not until recently the restaurant came on my radar of restaurants I want(ed) to try… The dinner with friends seemed like the perfect occasion to try it and spoil my taste buds. I’m not sure when they exactly changed their concept, but until recent Graanmarkt 13 was like most gastronomical restaurants in the area with an ‘ à la carte’ menu, tasting menus, tablecloths, etc… Nowadays Graanmarkt 13 exchanged all that for a cozy and comfortable interior only serving a 2 course menu for lunch (29EUR) and a 3 course menu for dinner (39EUR), that both can be extended with a few appetizers (at normal prices), 1 extra dish or course and/or cheese (the last to either on top of or replacing dishes in the menu). Also both menus have a vegetarian alternative. So basically gastronomy that is reachable for everybody to try without the posh atmosphere around it. I’m also sure that this way of working makes it both easier on the kitchen as the customers as too much choice only complicates things.

My wife, who is pregnant for over 3 months now (you cannot believe how long I’ve wanted to say it on my blog)  and therefore has a few restrictions of things she’s allowed to eat,was happy when she found out and saw Graanmarkt 13 had alternatives for her to eat 🙂 🙂 . They also indicated that if there were still some things in the menu that had to be replaced there was no problem (we can also say for a fact they do like this). So also here size doesn’t matter, even on a small menu you’ll find something of your liking 😉 😉

Seppe Nobels by jong keukengeweld

As we were all greedy people we (not only me) choose to take some extra appetizers where fresh vegetables play a lead role. Normally a plate of appetizers is enough for 2 people. I do advice you to take “Tomatoes with black chocolate” as those were some of the best tomatoes ever!! They had so much more flavor than the regular tomatoes you buy!! Not sure though if they were from his own garden or if they came from a farmer?? Please feast your eyes on our appetizers (scroll over the picture to know what it was) I was also a big fan of the Farm egg with black summer truffle. I didn’t try the figs with goat cheese as I’m not really crazy about goat cheese … but my friends ordered 2 plates of it so I guess they liked it.

Farm egg with black summer truffle Figs with Goat Cheese Pan con tomate that came with Tomato Black chocolate Tomato Black chocolate

The menu of the night:

Meagre / sorrel / chervil / fennel / cabbage / algae / sake

Croaker with fennel, cabbage, sorrel, chervil, algae and saké

Horn of plenty / leek / monkfish / lentils / Lardo di Colonnata
Young carrot / artichoke / Holstein “Sirloin” / quinoa / pepper

Holstein sirloin with young carrots, artichoke, peppers and quinoa

Monkfish with leeks, lentils , Horn of plenty mushroom  and lardo di colonnata
Banana / butterscotch / hazelnut / chocolate / Jack Daniel’s

Chocolate, banana, butterscotch, hazelnut and Jack Daniel's

The extra course was a Barley risotto with porcini

Barley risotto with porcini

Alternative starter was Tomatoes with Burrata

Tomato with Burrata

With these dishes Seppe Nobels shows that with a few simple ingredients brought together one can make a whole celebration meal that doesn’t have to be expensive 🙂 as that is how I saw this anyway…You guys also know how I like it when a chef has the motto “Keep it simple”!! Simple is best (If the simple is well prepared that is)

My biggest “fear” for our dinner at Graanmarkt 13 was that they would only be having Organic or Bio wines. Some or of them are good but lots of them are not and have a weird taste to them… luckily they had very nice wines on wine list 🙂 🙂  and when seeing Filipa Pato wine on the menu I just felt obligated, first of all because I like her wines and because via this way I support Portuguese wine!! After that we chose to take a bit “stronger” wine, a Sancerre Rouge ( Loire Valley)by Paul Cherrier which to our opinion would match good with the Holstein sirloin.

FP wine

Ending your dinner at Graanmarkt 13 can be in no better way than with warm homemade Madeline’s with homemade honey (and on top get the recipe to try it at home). A perfect ending of a perfect time with friends paired with the perfect food.

Home made madelines with honey

For people between 18 -30 years old are lucky as Graanmarkt 13 is also participating with Jong keukengeweld you can eat a 3 course menu (drinks included) for 45 or 55 EUR. Every year the list of young chefs participating gets better and better and every year more and more restaurants come on my list to try …

Jong keukengeweld


Not even Odysseus would be able to resists this

I love and look up to Icons… An icon or iconic place is something or someone whose legacy survives time and will always exist. An example of iconic persons related to food would be Auguste Escoffier or Paul Bocuse who have changed the world of gastronomy in such a way that like in case of Auguste Escoffier almost 80 years after his dead he still influences this world every day. When thinking about iconic (local) restaurants I could name a few in Antwerp that have earned their share in the history books.  Like restaurant Sir Anthony Van Dyck for example that was one of the first restaurants in the world that gave back his Michelin stars. There are also restaurant that are iconic to and for me as after 50 years without advertising or having a flashy website or even having lots of articles written about them they are still on top of their game and have a full house almost every day (thanks to people talking them)! A restaurant like this would be restaurant La Sirena in Antwerp (something to read when you don’t know what a Sirena is). It was in 1967 that Fausto Prantoni who arrived from Genova (nowadays it is his son keeping running the restaurant) first opened the doors of restaurant La Sirena that at that time was one of Antwerp’s first pizzerias right in the heart of the Antwerp Diamond district. In 1972 they had to enlarge the restaurant due to the success and had their last change in 1988 where the restaurant got its form like it is today… but no longer as a pizzeria but a restaurant serving high quality Italian/ French cuisine and being one of the most well-reputed restaurant in Antwerp. Even-though I must confess that their interior might be a bit outdated (but still classy), once you start eating you forget ALLLL about that and just don’t care anymore about their interior being trendy or not and understand why after almost 50 years they’re still as busy as back in the 80’s.

It all comes down to the food and the impeccable service, all dishes are prepared how they should be prepared (in the classical way with real butter, cream or whatever original ingredient goes into a recipe) but keeping it simple. For example one of my friends that joined had the seafood pasta, nothing special you might thinking… but instead of the usual 1 shrimp and miniature piece of salmon you get at most restaurants, at La Sirena they give you real, good  and a correct portion of fish that will actually make your pasta taste like real fish and not to fish stock cubes :-). I started my dinner with some “king scallops” with leak.( Also great I didn’t have hunt to find a piece of scallop as they were well represented 🙂 ). I must say they lobster they had on the menu seemed tempting, but tough choices just have to be made (and I also didn’t want to seem too greedy)



For the main course I shared a Turbot that came with with a dijonaise and déarnaise  sauce ( 30EUR pp). Another Friend had the Seabass cooked in a salt crust. Both fishes were cut and filleted by the waiters in the restaurant itself, something  you don’t get to see too often anymore nowadays (to me that also shows the know-how  and professionalism of the waiters). All dishes look “simple”, but you can just taste the quality and the fact they are well prepared! With all this we drank a 2012 Chardonnay from Alto Adige by St. Michael Eppan (it went down a bit too easy if ask me 🙂 )

20140221_204526 20140221_204541





There was not too much room left anymore, but there is always room for dessert… especially when they bring the assortment on a cart and I can actually see it all 🙂 I’m not gonna tell how many pieces I had as higher forces are also reading my blog (aka my lovely fiancée)


Why you should come here? If you like good quality food, prepared how it should (classical way) and afterwards you want to go home as a satisfied person that didn’t feel ripped off 🙂

I must also add I could have been in worse company, wouldn’t you agree? Thanks ladies 😉


Thanks to Tino and his team for their good care! I will definitely be back

Restaurant La Sirena

Address: Statiestraat 7, 2018 Antwerp – Belgium

Phone n°: +32 (0) 3 233 01 02

Simple is better

Simple is better. I know with all my visits to Michelin starred restaurants this saying doesn’t seem believable… but we’ll have to be honest, no matter how great all those restaurants are the best dishes are always the classic and simple dishes.  A good example would be strawberries with a bit of sugar and lemon juice that has set a while in the fridge, it is very simple but I could keep eating it.

Fino zuid

My visit to ‘Fino zuid’ just proved simple is just so good. Fino zuid is a small shop/caterer around the corner of the ‘Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp’ where can either take some of the dishes home or just eat them there at one of the few tables in the shop (I think 5 or 6). Fino zuid is their second eatery, they also have a restaurant in the North of the city of Antwerp. I had already been to the ‘regular’ restaurant 2 weeks ago with my dad, but wanted to wait before writing something until after visiting both places… this way I could somehow compare and see what the whole Fino concept is all about. The food is in both places very nice because of the simplicity that make you feel like in Italy. (BTW the reason why food tasted great in both places is because it gets prepared by the same people 🙂 ) But my preference goes towards Fino zuid, as it is more relaxed and less fuzz… I mean at ‘regular’ Fino you have the real restaurant feel as for ‘Fino zuid’ it feels more like a trattoria where you can just take your own glass of wine (don’t worry if you want they can also serve it 😉 ) and just point at the food you feel like eating…so to my opinion more low profile. Although I’m sure all depends of the occasion for your dinner.




To decide what you want to eat at Fino zuid is very simple you can either give them the full trust and let them decide for you (fix price of 35EUR without the drinks) or you can just walk up to the counter and point to what you fancy eating 🙂  We gave them full trust and had them serve whatever they wanted to give us… this resulted in us being completely full at the end 🙂 so now I was sure it was just like in Italy as I always feel the same when I’m eating at my grandmother or aunt in Italy… I think we almost tried every single thing in their counter (ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of it)… Their melanzane alla Parmigiana was one of my favourites (I had already eaten them at the other Fino restaurant)…

20140125_195556 20140125_203154

20140125_203159 20140125_203748


20140125_212030 20140125_212039


My biggest problem is ‘l’appetito viene mangiando’ so I get more hungry while I’m eating so it could get ugly 😉 Luckily my beautiful fiancée was with me and at some point will give me a certain look that I know what she is actually trying to say is: “don’t you think you had enough?”  🙂  BUT there is still always room for dessert… I’m normally not a fan of Tiramisu, but theirs wasn’t as heavy as it is at lots of restaurants. I do realize I’m always very enthusiastic in my blogposts, but good food just makes me very happy and this happiness unleashes a enormous and unstoppable amount of enthusiasm where I want to convince everybody to try the place themselves… that’s just the way I am 🙂 🙂



A visit to Fino zuid or Fino are definitely places to do if you like good Italian food without too much fuzz…

Restaurant Fino Zuid:

Facebook page:

Address: Kasteelstraat 57, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium

Phone n°: +32 (0) 3 257 01 14

Restaurant Fino:

Facebook page:

Address: Sint-Aldegondiskaai 50, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium

Phone n°: +32 (0) 468 17 29 00