Last week I thought it was time for some bounding time with my future brother in law (hope he doesn’t freek out me calling him this) and what better way than with food (knowing he’s a big food lover). Deciding where to go was not too difficult; the name of restaurant Ardent came pretty quick as I already wanted to eat here for a while now! Especially after reading a lot of positive comments. Knowing that he had worked a while at “De schone van boskoop” (a restaurant I’ve already been quite a few times with my family when I was younger and I’ve always liked) and learned from a chef like Wouter Keersmaekers I already had a small suspicion that he would also be a lover of local products and forgotten vegetables….And I was right, I could see the hand of the master in the “pupil’s” dishes and I’m pretty sure the pupil will soon be a master himself! All dishes were (for me) perfectly seasoned. I’m a bread lover (guilty as charged) , spreading real butter on it is like being in heaven. So trying something else when they serve butter is unlikely to happen, but I have to admit the little cup with a butternut “cream” with parmesan cheese on our table looked tempting… to make a long story short we were almost scraping the glazing off of the cup 🙂 (Need I say more?)
Deciding what to eat was again (like every time) the most difficult part of the evening as again (like every time) everything on the menu look and sounds tasty… so best alternative just taking the tasting menu. We took the 4 course menu (a 5 course menu is also available) with the matching wines.
Before we started our trip through Ardent’s menu they served us an “amuse” which was crispy pork with smoked duck breast which (after we had eaten shamefully emptied the butternut cup) was a great way to prepare and open our taste buds for all the delights still to come…
The first stop of our trip was spicy Simmental tartar and fried langoustine with sourdough toast and horseradish cream. Correctly prepared (Langoustine also fried as it should) and too spicy and a balanced out dish if you ask me. It accompanied by a white German wine “S cuvee” that had a typical Mosel wine smell and taste which I love so much and which went very good with the subtle taste of the dish.
The next stop shortly fried scallops with cauliflower in 3 modes, hand peeled grey north sea shrimps (so much better than the packages you buy in the shop) and parmesan sauce paired with this time a white Austrian wine called ‘Austrian Pepper. This paired wine was a bit more subtle then the previous one.
Our last stop before my sweet tooth would get spoiled brought us braised pork cheek with truffle gravy and “macedoine” of parsley root and lentils. For people who are scared to order dishes like this, pork cheek is not fat, but rather subtle and tender meat! Definitely one of my favorites of the night together with maybe also my favorite wine of the night a red Portuguese wine called “dill” (like the herb), I unfortunately can’t remember the vineyard anymore 😦 (I’d suggest to go to Ardent and try it)
As dessert they brought us a Vacharin which is freshly prepared vanilla ice cream with meringue, whipped cream, chocolate crumble and chocolate mousse… I honestly was afraid the portion would be too big, but lucky me it was just the right size and accompanied by a lovely Don PX Jerez wine that went really well with the chocolate flavor of the dish.
I can only compliment the young chef on his talent (and his team).I’m a fan! It is true that there were a few minor things or points that would need some attention during our dinner, but I’m 100% that they only need some extra time to make a visit to this restaurant a perfect and even better experience! (not even open for 6 months I think). One last quick word (I promise) about the Ardent’s sommelier, he reminded me of Steven Wullaert (from restaurant NUANCE **). as he had the same sparkle and passion when talking about wine. (maybe even his way of talking, but then without the Ghent accent)
Keep up the good job! I will definitely be back at Ardent! (Not sure yet when,as too many restaurants still to try)
P.S: A message to my tableguest: we’ll be having some new “bounding time” very soon and I have a feeling it’ll be at Wouter Keersmaekers’ place 🙂 just to show you where Ardent’s chef got his magic.
Address: Dageraadplaats 3, 2018 Antwerp – Belgium
Phone n°: +32 (0)3 336 32 99