Me versus 117 by Wout Bru

117 by Wout Bru

You guys can’t believe how happy I was when I first heard that Wout Bru was opening a “pop-up” restaurant in Antwerp. In the past I tried a few times to get to his restaurant in France, but something always came in-between. So knowing that he would bring his whole kitchen crew from “Chez Bru” with him made it even better, as this way I just knew the level of cooking would be star level, even though you could read in most newspapers that this was not Wout’s aim in Antwerp (but let’s call a cat a cat, even when relocated a Michelin star teams stays a Michelin star team).  So you can imagine that my expectations were high about the food and Wout or shall I say Mr. Bru didn’t disappoint me as I can really give no comments on the food (also not on the quality).  All dishes we got were nice looking dishes that tasted the way they looked.

117 by wout bru

But, yes unfortunately there is also a “but”, it wasn’t the “total experience” one expects to have especially when paying over 100EUR per person (the min. budget you to count at this restaurant is 100EUR, unless you don’t drink). If I think back at my dinners at restaurants like Pure C or even Nuance  where I paid more or less the same price (around 130EUR per person drinks included) I got spoiled from the moment I came in until I stepped outside. This was the thing I was missing at “117” I know they are only open for 5 days and that this is just a “pop-up” and not yet oiled machine (which is logical after 5 days). It were not the big things, but the little things that ‘bothered” (maybe not the correct word to use) me. For example not getting amuses or some “special kind of cookies” with our coffee or when my friend booked the table they asked to make sure we were there punctual at 6 pm (which we were), but they only let us in at 6:10pm….

It was also a shame to see that the serving staff was far from being at the same top level as the kitchen staff. It felt a bit like sitting in an old rusty car that has a Rolls Royce engine, it drives ok but you just know something missing.  Don’t get me wrong it were all friendly (I admit cute) young ladies, but you just missed that “sparkle” that separates the good from the best. Again, it were the small things like refilling the glasses of wine, not that I’m too lazy me to do it myself, but you know what I mean… especially when you pay 130EUR per person it are just these little things that make it worth going to restaurants like this instead of a regular restaurant.

I think if they do a few small adjustments in the serving area they will make this “pop-up” experience a trip the wonderful world of gastronomy for everybody. It would be a loss if Wout’s impeccable reputation as chef and restaurateur would become less (in the eyes of lots of people) after this “pop-up” adventure. Because I know they are the best and that’s where they should always belong!

Ok, enough of the “bad” comments, back to the good part of the night (besides my wonderful table guests!)! The food was without any doubt very good and did indeed pet my taste buds! (for a correct price to my opinion).

Feast your eyes on some of the Njammy dishes we were fortunate enough to try! I have to be honest that I don’t remember in which order I got them (besides the desserts), so I’ll just show them in the order I think it was 🙂

FYI, I didn’t eat all these dishes myself 🙂 we had 5 courses per person. Just move your scroll over the picture, this will bring up the hoover text specifying which dish it was.

117_Vitello Tonnato

117_veal sweetbreads

117_belgian endive with ham

117_veal cutlet   117_king crab 117_milk pig  117_porc legg with truffle 117_seabass

117_ lobster lasagna


117_tarte citron

My personal favorite dishes were the Milk porc and the lobster lasagna.

To accompany our wonderful food three of us first took a glass of Jané Ventura cava (the 4th person took a Hendrick’s Fever tree Gin and Tonic) after that we had a white Italian Gavi di Gavi followed by  a 2009 red Gevrey-Chambertin from Domaine Marchand –Grillot. The red wine was slightly young, but after it got some air it opened up nicely.

117_Gevrey Chambertin

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I’ll try Wout’s food, next time i’ll go to to Chez Bru to get Bru-anized. One thing is sure, the good food made me happy and I have the picture to proof it.

117 happy me

FYI: A great surprise yesterday evening was to see Dagny Ross enter the restaurant to have dinner. To all the men reading my blog, she even looks better than on TV (or is this inappropriate to say now that I’m engaged? :-))

If you are lucky you might still be able to find a free spot at this restaurant, check for it.