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 🙂 )

Chickenlivers_blackpudding_hazelnut_cherries

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 🙂

piscosour

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

A million reasons to go to the Taste of Antwerp

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Not that I need that much convincing to go to the “Taste of Antwerp”, but maybe you guys do? So let me give you a looooooooot of reasons why shouldn’t miss this year’s edition that will take place from May 9th to 12th.

The first reason would already be the fact that some friends and acquaintances of mine are participating at this year’s edition, like 12 place du marché, Comocomo, mamakookt, De Schone van Boskoop (Michelin awarded), restaurant Ardent , ‘t Leeuwekopke and also Cheese masters Van Tricht… and if those names are not enough do check the rest of the list of participating restaurants and get blown away!! There are even some restaurants on it that I have on my wish list (some got added during the press conference 🙂 ) and I’m not only talking about the still to open “La Chapelle” 🙂

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This year’s edition has changed a bit according to last editions. First of all “Taste of Antwerp” changed the location from the Vlaamse/ Waalsekaai to Waagnatie (in Navigation system you need to enter Rijnkaai 150). Secondly, and I know it might seem like bad news at first, but since this year an entrance fee of 5 EUR will be asked… but in exchange and in addition to your “entrance ticket” they give you 2 beverage vouchers… so the entrance fee is more a symbolic fee if you ask me.

Cheese masters van tricht

Something else that is new on this year edition is the “Bowers & Wilkins Theater”. At this theater you’ll be able to follow master classes and cooking demonstrations from participating chefs, Beer & wine tastings, Autographing sessions, etc… The full schedule will soon come online.

I hear you think, this all sounds nice, but will the actual food cost me? Well the dishes will be costing between 4 and 7 EUR, which is a very reasonable price considering you’ll be able to try dishes from 3, 2 and 1 Michelin star awarded restaurants, explore new types of cuisines like Peruvian, Nepalees or Ethiopian. If you are as greedy as me and feel like trying everything from every restaurant, it might indeed get more expensive than imagined, but you guys won’t worry that is just very greedy me talking 😉

In case you feel like lifting it up a notch, you might consider taking the VIP-arrangement? This arrangement costs 99,99 EUR and has to be booked online via following link . But what do you get for this price? A very important question, I’ve listed it up for you:

1 + Entrance to Taste of Antwerp and the Bowers & Wilkins Theater (valid whole day)
2 + Access to the luxurious VIP pavilion.
3 + Reception by a hostess
4 + A glass of Perrier-Jouët champagne at arrival
5 + Coupons for Taste of Antwerp dishes with a value of 40 EUR
6 + Beer and cheese pairing with the Cheese masters Michel Van Tricht & Son and the Duvel Moortgat  Brewsery
7 + Beverage à volonté
8 + Goodie bag

You can check the Taste of Antwerp website for more details.

It doesn’t matter which formula you choose to come to the Taste of Antwerp, the most important of it all is that you can enjoy some of the best food Antwerp has to offer! Nothing better than friend, family and great food all in 1 spot! FYI I have already tried some of dishes that will be served and I can say for a fact they are tasty!

Anyway I could keep naming reason why to come, but I have to stop somewhere

I do hope to see you guys at the Taste of Antwerp!

Thursday May 9th between 14.00 – 24.00 u
Friday May 10th between 14.00 – 24.00 u
Saturday May 11th between 14.00 – 24.00 u
Sunday May 12th between 14.00 – 22.00 u

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Taste of Antwerp: News flash

Taste of Antwerp

The list of chefs that will be present at “taste of Antwerp” next month just keeps getting better and better! They already had an impressive list (including some friends of mine) with cheese maturers Michel & Frederick Van Tricht, Thomas Coenen with his team of 12 Place du marché, the lovely ladies of Mama kookt and a bunch of Michelin star awarded chefs, restaurant Ardent, ‘t leeuwekopke, etc…. but the cherry on the cake for me is without any doubt that Sergio Herman and Nick Bril (Sergio’s sous-chef) will be presenting some of “La Chapelle’s” dishes. For you who don’t know “La Chapelle” yet, this is the new restaurant project of Sergio Herman in Antwerp on which they have already been working for 2 years and will finally be opening January 2014 (I’m counting the days for it to open!!). The executive chef in this restaurant will be Nick Bril who has already been for a while at Sergio’s side. So if you already want a sneak peak of what “La Chapelle” will be offering on their menu! (Although I think you’ll have to wait in line for a bit).

La Chapelle

Hope to see you there!

You can find the list of restaurant that already confirmed their participation on the following link

Taste of Antwerp

9 – 12 May at “Waagnatie”

Rijnkaai 150, 2000 Antwerp