Heavenly delights white truffles and Barolo wine

That I’m a fan of the Nebbiolo grape is clear by now I think? For the last few posts I’ve been talking to you about the Valtellina variant. This time however  I’ll be talking about its more famous brother from the neighboring region Piemonte  (Alba/Asti). I know it seemed that I don’t like Alba/Asti  or Barolo variant, but I do without any doubt like them. It is just that as my roots are in Vatellina it has a special place in my heart… but I wouldn’t call drinking a Barolo a big sacrifice 😉 It is just like Luciano Taliano (owner of the Montaribaldi vineyard) said during the meal we had a couple of days ago at Spiga d’oro:  he is fan of all his wines, but the Barbaresco is the apple of his eye… why? Because his family roots are in Barbaresco….


The older a Nebbiolo wine get the “easier” it gets to recognize them, because as they age the wines take on a ‘brick-orange’ shade at the rim of the glass. I know it might sound strange but you should just try it once putting an older Nebbiolo wine next to for example an older Sangiovese wine… The difference in color couldn’t be bigger. Next to its ‘characteristic’ color the Nebbiolo wine comes with fragrances of violets, tar, wild herbs, cherries, raspberries, truffles and tobacco. The most ideal location is at an elevation between 150 and 300 meter. What is special about the nebbiolo grape is that it usually only gets harvested in October, sometimes even at towards the end of the month. This is ‘special’ if you know most grapes in other regions get picked at the end of august or the latest at the end of September… then again the climate and hours of sun during the year obviously decides this … I know the Nebbiolo grape might seem like an easy grape to grow, but it isn’t as it does not adapt particularly well to various vineyard soil types. It prefers soils with high concentration of calcareous marl.


Just like in many other regions there are multiple approaches on making wine, a ‘traditional’ way and a ‘modern’ way. Both have their pro’s and contra’s. A contra of the traditional way or at least how it used to be done many years ago was the ‘lack’ of taking hygiene in consideration that would lead to the a bacterial infection and in the end development of off flavors and potential wine faults that would require at least 24 hours decanting to alleviate . Nowadays winemaking for both traditionalists and modernists include strict hygiene controls and the use of some modern winemaking equipment… so if you no worries anymore 🙂

The most famous wines from Piemonte made with the Nebbiolo grape are without doubt Barolo and Barbaresco. The way to distinguish the 2 wines was very well described by Giorgia Tontodonati from the Montaribaldi vineyard. Barbaresco is the ‘queen’ elegant, ‘softer’ and aromatic, Barolo is the ‘King’ very complex and strong.

I’ve already had the pleasure to have travelled many times to Piemonte to discover the many wonderful things this region has to offer. Next to their wonderful wines they  also have a very refined cuisine with evergreens like ravioli del plin, Tajarin al sugo, vitel tonné (vitello tonnato), Agnolotti, carne cruda alla piemontese, etc… BUT the other world famous trademark product of the of Piemonte is the one and only white truffle! Earlier this week all these wonderful things got combined at one of my preferred Italian restaurants in Belgium Spiga d’oro by my dear friend Franco Di Taranto… As tip of the iceberg he had invited Luciano Taliano from the Montaribaldi winery and trifolau Ezio who brought white truffles he had found the day before… only when in Alba itself you’ll get them on the day itself 🙂 To describe the evening in 1 word “Mythical”!! As I’m not really the man who sticks to one word (sorry for that)  I’ll tell you more about this wonderful evening that made me feel in Piemonte all over again!!


Montaribaldi is a quite young vineyard as the brothers Roberto and Luciano Taliano only opened it around 1994. Technically speaking the vineyard already existed earlier, but in 1994 as after he acquired the vineyards from his father Guiseppe aka ‘Pino’ who had founded it in 1968. The vineyard was named Montaribaldi after the old Roman roads that link the winery to the vineyards. Luciano’s goal was and still is to create a diverse selection of holdings that highlights the different wines of the region.


What I think is the reason for success of Montaribaldi wines is the accurate selection of grapes (the wine gets made on the land) and careful vinification. They also are very fortunate to have vines located in between the ones from their renowned neighbor Angelo Gaja. After having tasted their wines I can only come to the following conclusion their balance, length, intensity and concentration of flavors are all right how they supposed to be! Combine these wines with a meal by Franco and you have a feast… We were served the following menu with paired wines:


A secret celery and truffle salad ‘Arte e Querce’ prepared by Ezio’s wife Clelia. The salad got served with a 2015 Roero Arneis (white). I never saw a man so proud!! You could really tell truffles are Ezio’s passion as he was flaking it so proudly… very endearing to see 🙂

Celery truffle saladRoero Arneis


Vitel Tonné & Carne cruda a l’Albese con tartufo bianco paired with a 2012 Barbera

Barbera Vitel tonné

Robbilo tre latte with blac truffle, leek from Cervere, pears, beetroot and cugnamust from Nebbiolo. This dish got paired with a refreshing 2010 Langhe


“Cocotte” (cheese fondu) from Fontina cheese with fennel sausage and white truffle flakes. Served with 2 Barbaresco’s from different pieces of land aka Palazzina and Sori. Both wines were from 2011.

Barbaresco Cocotte

The main course of the evening was venison with a Barolo reduction with white truffle that got paired with the wine everybody was looking forward to drink the 2012 Barolo.

Main course SVI


To end our meal we got served a chocolate dessert together with a Moscato d’asti. We did also get some white truffle flakes on our chocolate dessert, I didn’t refuse it but if it wouldn’t have been there the dessert would have equally been good 🙂


For me when you prepare a dish with truffles, it should be the truffles playing the main role!! Here again the key word ‘simplicity’ is important to make sure the truffle gets the justice it supposed to get. That’s exactly what my dear friend Franco did. My first words after my meal (and you can check with the people at my table) were “I feel like going to Piemonte now”!! So I guess a trip to Piemonte won’t be far off 😉 😉

I’m not sure why I always have to say which wine I prefer as I like all of them and I don’t want you guys to think that because I prefer one over the other it means the other wines were bad… as they weren’t  🙂  But just to keep everybody happy I admit that the Barbaresco’s charmed me most with on the first place the Sori. On the nose sweet and penetrating notes of licorice and chocolate, firmer and more sustained on the palate but with the roundness and solidity of a high quality extraction. Maybe the fact Luciano talked with so much love about it had an influence ooooooooor that Giorgia compared it with a queen 😉 😉 who knows?! One thing is for sure once again I’ll need to expand my wine cellar and definitely have another winetrip to Piemonte 🙂


Many thanks to Franco,  Aline, Toni, Luciano, Giorgia, Ezio and his wife for making this an unforgettable evening (and of course also my table guests 🙂 )

For more info on Montaribaldi wines in Belgium please contact SVI.

Time to put the finalists for Best Sommelier of Belgium 2016 in the spotlight: Gianluca Di Taranto

Now we know who the  finalists for the title of Best Sommelier of Belgium are  it is time to get to know them better and have a sneak peak in their life as sommelier. The second semi finalist I want to put in the spotlight is my dear friend Gianluca Di Taranto. I met Gianluca a few years (I think about 5 years) ago during Apéro Vintage Leuven an event from Bordeaux wines and we’ve had lots of meals together ever since 🙂 :-).
At that time Gianluca still worked at his dad’s restaurant. Which I think that  was one of the reasons (next to our love for good food and wine and the fact that we’re both Italian 😉 ) why it connected between us…my dad also used to have a restaurant where I worked every weekend. After having gotten a good base at his dad’s restaurant (Spiga d’oro aka one of my preferred Italian restaurants in Belgium) for a few years it was time for a new challenge . This new challenge brought Gianluca to the 2 Michelin starred ‘t Zilte where under the leading hand of Sepideh Sedaghatnia that knowledge he gained at his dad’s restaurant was taken up to the next level. I personally think that ‘t Zilte brought lots of great opportunities to Gianluca (visits to great wineries, new styles of food, etc…)
Nowadays Gianluca is the head-sommelier of Sergio Herman’s Antwerp 2Michelin starred restaurant The Jane. Something I admire about Gianluca is motivation and dedication of wanting to achieve the maximum by giving the maximum. While other people go on holiday, Gianluca has done internships at top restaurants like Piazza Duomo ***,  Osteria Francescana *** or visit vineyards or give wine courses at his dad’s restaurant… basically everything is related to his work with maybe sometimes 1 or 2 days to rest…. then again if you do something with passion I’m sure it doesn’t always feel like work.
I wish Gianluca (just like all other 2 contestants) the best of luck on 16/10/2016 during the finals.
Let’s see what Gianluca answered at the 10 questions:
What is your favorite wine region to work with?
Immediately a difficult question! The answer really depends on my “mood” and on the season. My favorite region could very well be Piedmont (for both emotional and qualitative reasons) but I find it really, really harsh to not mention the incredible versatility of the Loire (my fav. region of the moment), the thirst-quenching whites of the Mosel, the fragrant reds of Beaujolais or the complexity of Burgundy..
What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?
A combination of passion, knowledge and understanding the guest you’re serving. The way you communicate and “feel” your guests is nothing to be underestimated, especially today. On the other hand, the financial side of our job and managing the stock in a successful way is no less important.
Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?
Perhaps it used to be but I think times have changed, or at least they are changing. The sommelier-scene in the USA is on fire (thanks to Somm the movie) and sommeliers are becoming as important as chefs and rock stars over there. We’re still some way from that here in Europe but I clearly feel sommeliers are being appreciated more and more since a few years. 
When and how did you get the passion for wine?
My father is a sommelier and he’s the one who took me to several wine regions and winery visits since I was little. He’s the one who pushed me to the studies of sommelier when I was 19, albeit involuntary back then.
Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?
Obviously a very special mention goes to my father. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Nationally I have a whole lot of respect for Steven Wullaert, one of the most talented people in our scenery here in Belgium. Internationally I’ve been following Arvid Rosengren both on Twitter and on his blog since 2012 now, even before he became the Best Sommelier of Europe in 2013. His talent is unparalleled and even while he’s on top of the world, he’s still very humble. I’d love to see him at work on the floor one day!
What is your approach for pairing wines(or other beverages) with dishes?
I don’t like making things too complicated. Usually the most traditional combo’s are unbeatable. When people have been serving a certain wine with a certain product in a certain region for decades, there must be a certain logic behind that.. But besides that I try to work without blinders and to be open to everything. Going wild and contrasting can be fun at times but I still prefer the old-school way of harmonizing wine and food. Or food and wine!
Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?
Piedmont, in autumn. A myriad of colors, vineyards and hills combined with countless aromas which prickle your senses. You have to experience at least once. Unforgettable.
For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?
The 1982 Monfortino from Giacomo Conterno. The Barolo which put Barolo on the world wine map.
What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school?
Hotel management school? Which hotel management school? 🙂
A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop, winery, etc..?
The Etna. It’s a mysterious and dramatic place with a landscape which resembles to the moon. Even though it used to be a very important wine region in the 19th century it is now reinventing itself. We are witnessing a rebirth. Think of a cross à la Piedmont x Burgundy with a dash of the New California! The viticulturists/oenologist are only now starting to discover the huge potential all the different Contrada have to offer. Tons of vineyards which are more than 120 years old combined with uncountable different soil compositions and structures. It’s a region buzzing with life. Visit it now while it’s still “underground” and practically undiscovered. 20 years from now you’ll tell your friends that you knew that exciting DOC long before them..

Patience gets rewarded

After 3 months of impatient waiting it was finally my turn to try The Jane’s ‘regular’ restaurant.. For my friends reading this and don’t know The Jane:The Jane is one of the 2 restaurants from master chef Sergio Herman a former 3 Michelin Star restaurant owner(Oud Sluis)… although former??  If you make the sum of the Michelin stars from his 2 restaurants you also get 3, so technically speaking he still owns 3 Michelin stars 🙂 . Besides being a gastronomical temple The Jane is also known for its location in an old chapel that has been redesigned in a splendid way (for sure something to see for architectural fans)

The Jane 1

The Jane 5

Sergio Herman and executive chef Nick Bril by audiomediainternational.com

The last time I set foot in this restaurant it was to experience the Upper room bar that, to just say it with one word, was ‘excellent’!! Overtopping that last experience would seem difficult… or so I thought!! In their ‘regular’ restaurant they have, next to their great food, an extra secret weapon called ‘Gianluca di Taranto’ aka The Jane’s sommelier who’s enthusiasm about wine/drinks is contagious 🙂 (for as far I wasn’t enthusiastic ).  Gianluca knows I’m a big wine lover and he also knew that one of my table guests is a professional sommelier… So I think his enthusiasm must have gone in overdrive to have us taste more special things 🙂  Don’t worry my dear readers, at The Jane everybody gives and gets the same dedication at their table!

Gianluca di taranto by sternefresser.de

I think the key of The Jane‘s success is ‘enthusiasm/passion’. Every staff member seems to have that same drive/enthusiasm for the part he/she does and they all seem to seek the same goal, reaching the top and giving every person  that walks in for a meal the same unbelievable experience (no matter if they are eating a few dishes at the upper bar room or a 9 course meal, if they only drink water or they empty their whole winecellar) I know, that’s what most restaurants aim, but in this case every staff member seems to want the same thing or at least that’s my impression of the 2 times I’ve been at The Jane!! Two thumbs up for The Jane‘s team!!

The Jane Personnel by BE_Gusto

The big difference to me between the Upper room bar and The Jane is the kind of food they serve. The upper room bar serves more ‘comfort food’ served in a refined way, whereas ‘The Jane‘ serves gastronomical food… At the upper room bar you can choose your dishes ‘à la carte’, making the Upper Room bar more accessible for everybody and for everybody’s taste pallet (which is also the purpose from what I understood when talking with Nick Bril (executive chef) ). At the ‘regular’ restaurant you can choose between a fix 7, 8 or 9 course menu paired with the perfect wine, cocktail, beer or other drink.

The golden mean to my friends and me seemed to be the 8 course meal paired with whatever our friend Gianluca wanted us to try to get the ultimate The Jane experience!! A pairing journey taking us all over the world from the Champagne region in France through The Jane’s own Champagne blend… to the Andalusian coast with a glass of Equipo Navazos Fino Sherry as a perfect match with the North Sea Oyster. To bring us back to Belgium with a glass of Belgian pride aka a Triple Beer from a small brewery near Arlon called La Rulles


Just FYI, all dishes are served per 2 courses with little time between after every pair of dishes you get some extra time to enjoy, relax and look forward to what is about to follow 🙂

We started our evening with a nice selection of ‘amuses’ or ‘appetizers’ that were a feast for both the eyes as the taste buds!

Humus dav dav mde

We continued with 6 ‘first’ courses, as they were served per pair I display the pictures per pair :-). The first  served  dish was the Salmon with parsnip, buttermilk and mandarin with the mandarin being served as small balls in nitrogen… making the dish mystical :-). Immediately followed by a North sea oyster with Soy, JusJus and Yuzu

Salmon, parsnip, buttermilk and manderine

North sea oyster with Soy, JusJus and Yuzu

The dishes to follow were on the spot made ‘steak tartare’ (that was simply exquisite!!) and Mediterranean scallops with celeriac, Iberico and potato skin.

Steak Tartare 'Before'

Steak Tartare After

scallops with celeriac, Iberico and potato skin

Our journey continued with BBQ cabbage, mussels and bottarga.(Italian style, they made a small cannelloni :-)) Followed by cod fish, brandade and North Sea grey shrimps that look pretty simple to the eye, but it’s not 🙂 .

BBQ cabbage, mussels and bottarga

cod fish, brandade and North Sea grey shrimps

I must admit that vegetarians wouldn’t even be able to look at the main course because of the toes still being on the leg  , luckily I’m not vegetarian 🙂 As main course we were served pigeon with black salsify, beetroot and black pudding.

pigeon with black salsify, beetroot and black pudding

Just to give you an idea how much work and thought is put into each and every dish served at The Jane, it took over 3 months for Jaclyn (person responsible for dessert) to perfection the dessert we were served!! 3 months for only 1 dish!! Yet another example of enthusiasm/passion for what you do, if you don’t have it you wouldn’t put as much effort in it!!  Jaclyn’s effort definitely paid off as it was one very nice dessert 🙂 Only for my friend working at Huawei (previously at Samsung) wasn’t 100% convinced 😉 😉

When Adam meets Jaclyn

After this there still followed a load of sweets to fill the last empty spots in our stomachs..





Impressed that I remember all dishes 😉 I’ll have to admit that if it weren’t for the picture I had taken of the menu I wouldn’t have remembered as much… as I was too busy with enjoying my meal,company and the moment 🙂 Form all the dishes we were served the whole evening  only 1 small amuse was less our thing (for everybody)…

Guys, I’m sure that by now you know the reason behind my loooong long blogpost… the more enthusiastic I am about something, the more I want to share and the longer my posts become!! So I’m not gonna bug you with much more words besides the first ones that pop in my mind after this experience: perfect, full of flavor, very nice staff and an evening to remember!!

Hope to be back soon

The Jane:

Website: www.thejaneantwerp.com

Address: Paradeplein 1, 2000 Antwerp – Belgium

reservations online

Sherry with capital S

Ever since my wife and I visited the bodega of Tio Pepe a few years ago we became huge Sherry Jerez) fans. Lots of people know this and started giving bottles of Sherry as a gift  and  whenever I walk into a shop where they sell sherry’s the meat is weak and I end up buying a bottle :-)… basically this results in having quit a few bottles of Sherry and funny enough 90% from  Lustau  🙂  We occasionally  do enjoy drinking it in the evening in front of TV to accompany some dessert. I say occasionally as we mostly only open bottles of wine when we have company… we just don’t have the need for it on other days… So the best thing to do is to find some friends who want to sacrifice themselves and organize a get together/tasting to open all of them ;-).

19-10-2015 16-38-20

That’s exactly what I did, I organized myself a Lustau Sherry tasting at home!! Coincidentally the friends I invited and that sacrificed themselves are some of the best sommeliers in Belgium and far beyond the country borders.  Gianluca di Taranto (The Jane) who is always keen to learn more about wines and Cesar Roman (Le chalet de la Forêt) who is the biggest Sherry fan I know. I know how to pick my friends 🙂 :-). Not only did they bring themselves, they also brought a few bottles and some food 🙂 so basically extra bottles to taste…

Just like in my blog post a few years ago I’m still of the opinion that wines like Sherry, Porto, Madeira and Marsala are under valuated for an unknown reason… although I just think the problem is that those people never tried a good Sherry, Porto, etc… Otherwise they would be a big fan just like me! Unlike what they know or think there are many different kinds of these wines (as that’s what they are in fact), a flavor for everybody and for every occasion. In the Sherry world for example you have Fino, Palo Cortado, Amontillado, Manzanilla, Oloroso, PX (Pedro Ximénez), etc… There is a bigger difference than only the name. They have different smells, tastes, color, etc… Me personally I am an Oloroso fan as it always leaves a nice I would say nutty caramel (not sweet, unless they blended it with PX) kind taste in your mouth. If you are more into very sweet wines, you’d be better to go for a PX or an Oloroso Dulce… If you like more refined taste a Palo Cortado or Amontillado…

Like I mentioned before I had a Lustau Sherry Tasting with a few friends, and below you’ll find the bottles we tasted:


  • ‘3 en Rama’ collection: existing out of a Fino from Jerez de la Frontera, another from El Puerto de Santa María and a Manzanilla from Sanlúcar de Barrameda

I was told to better understand/appreciate the difference from the ‘En Rama’ collection is putting them next to the ‘familiar’ aka classic Fino and Manzanilla collection. We did as told 🙂  En Rama style basically means that the Sherry has been bottled straight from the cask with no additional treatment. What they try to do is to make a product as biological as possible. In reality the en rama’ sherries still undergoes minimal clarification,  as a 100% raw wine, bottled without any filtering would go bad after a one or two weeks and has a non appetizing color. So they do filter it the ‘en rama’  but only taking away the largest, solid particles.

En rama

Time to put all the theory in practice and start opening bottles. As the best to enjoy a drink is with food, we filled the table with Iberic ham, cheeses, freshly made hummus, home made porcini under oil to mention a few :-). The most special piece on the table was the ‘Manteca colora’ which is a kind of pâté that tastes a bit like chorizo which in this case looked a bit like a heart but was surprisingly good. According to my dear friend Cesar this is something that farmers eat before going on the land… so you can imagine it is not a cholesterol friendly piece of meat 😉




We started our tasting by comparing the 2 Manzanilla’s. Manzanilla is the same wine as a Fino, but it just aged in a different place closer to the sea (in a particular area near San Lucar) resulting in a product tasting very differently than a Fino. The first thing that we notice is the difference in color as the ‘En Rama’ is much more yellow than the Papirusa (probably due to the less filtering). When you smell and taste the ‘En rama’ you notice that it is much more complex and contains more acidity… I find it very fascinating that nature can do such wonderful things when letting it do its thing without helping (to much)


When putting the 3 Fino’s (Regular, En Rama Puerto and En Rama Jerez) next to each other the differences are even more striking!! Especially the 2 En Rama’s where the ‘En Rama Fino El Puerto Santa maria’has a much saltier taste to it because of the influence the sea had (a as you might have understood by the ‘El Puerto’ part that it is near the sea)… Whereas the ‘En rama from Jerez de la Frontera’ has notes from apples that reminded us of Calvados (the smell). Normally I’m not really a Fino fan as I remembered it being very sharp both in taste and smell… but maybe that’s the house style of Tio Pepe as the Lustau Fino’s were much less ‘aggressive’… I would even say that the regular/familiar Fino was soft and smokey 🙂



If I would have to make a choice between the Manzanilla’s and Fino’s above the one that I would most probably be tempted to drink again would be the “En Rama” from Jerez de la Frontera… I think because of its complexity and something unexplainable that attracts me more to it 🙂 It was indeed a very good suggestion to put the ‘En Rama’ next to the Familiar collection.

The Oloroso’s were and are still my favorites and were exactly how I expected them to be 🙂 Although both oloroso’s serve for a different purpose, the Don Nuño is more for with meat I might even say game meat and the Añada being a blend from Oloroso and PX would be more appropriate with a dessert. The Añada was definitly the favorite from the ladies at the table (So we are now sure they have a sweet tooth 🙂 )

The stars of the evening were without any doubt the Palo Cortado VORS  and the 47 La bota de Palo Cortado by Equipo Navazos. It might be strange to put them next to eachother as the VORS is around 30 years old and the 47 La Bota is around 80 years old, but they competed really well next to each other. I don’t know what it is, but the is always a mistery around Palo Cortado, such a mistery that there was even made a documentary about it that was presented on the Berlin Film Festival!? Palo Cortado is a wine that “occurs”, rather by accident – you can’t actively produce it and I think that this is the big reason for all the legacy and mistery around it 🙂 That, and the fact that the taste of these product is a combo from all the best from Oloroso and Fino and Amontillado in 1 wine but with more complexity and interesting flavors to discover 🙂 So what’s not to love ?? My personal preference went to the VORS, but the sparkle in the eyes of Gianluca and especially Cesar when sipping of the ’47 bota’ I guess that was their favorite… maybe that it is the difference between pro sommeliers and me an ‘amateur’… I think the 47 bota was to complex and to special for my taste buts… maybe I’ll have to train them some more to refine them like a pro sommelier!


I had a wonderful evening with my 2 dear friend Cesar and Gianluca (and their wives and the little Ignacio (Cesar’s son) who was extreeeeeeemly cute 🙂 ) I learned a lot tonight from you guys and can’t for the next ‘tasting’ event. I became an even bigger Sherry fan as I was before (or maybe I should thank Lustau for that 😉 )

In case you want to know more about sherry in general, as very good website to look on would be sherrynotes. In case you want to know more about Lustau Sherry in Belgium (like where to purchase, etc..) you can contact or pass by my friend of Young Charly as they do the import of Lustau. For the other countries check the Lustau website

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.

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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

Website: www.thejaneantwerp.com

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