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 🙂 🙂 ).

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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??

Wraps

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

Falafel

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…

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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!

Ruffus

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.

Ott

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 😉

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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!!

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dessert 2

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

A must have in your book collection

Sepideh

As some of you might have seen on my facebook, twitter and/or Instagram account, I relaxed during my holidays by reading Sepideh Sedaghatnia’s recently published book about everything that one should know about wine aka ’69 things you always wanted to know about wine’. Sepideh’s aim of the book is to teach people in a pleasant non-boring way everything about wine, from the moment the seeds get planted until it becomes the finished product we all drink and love. I know most books about wine that you see in bookshops are very technical and already by looking at them they don’t really seem like swimming pool/seaside reading material :-). Sepi’s book however attracted me somehow (and not only because of the stunning picture of Sepideh on the cover). It attracted me because after reading the back cover it was clear the book would be strait to the point and everything explained in human language (with only using terminology when needed). In this book you’ll learn about how wines are made, which grape varieties there are (the main ones) and how their variants are called in different countries (you would be surprised how many wines you thought were different grapes that actually aren’t) ,  and even how best to pair wine with certain dishes where in between all the explanation she also gives 69 tips. Tips like to try instead of a classical French blend, to try maybe the South-African or Italian variant… basically to spice up your life. Although I think there is 1 specific chapter I believe is special for women :-). In this chapter she divides your drinking style according to the type of person you are 🙂  So for example if you are a rock chick or a high end upper East side lady what you’ll be wearing and drinking (so if doesn’t stop with the wine tips 😉 )  I’m not gonna give away everything, but I’m sure the ladies will love this part of the book (on top of all the other great stuff that is 🙂

The only ‘minor’ point is that there isn’t a pocket version the book or at from the tips, because they might come in handy next time I’m in a restaurant to decide what to drink 🙂  But besides that I’m a big fan of the book and I can only advice everybody to read it and learn that wine is FUN in every sense of the word.

For the moment the book is only available in Dutch, but I’m sure the book will sell that well they’ll have to publish translations 🙂 (available in the better bookshops or via Sepideh’s website Sepideh

Cheers!