Publiek – Gent

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Yes, we did it again, we ate at a restaurant just before they where assigned a Michelin star, and on their way to stardom! We were spending a night in Gent again, and looking for a new place to eat. We wanted to try one of the new promising  restaurants with young chefs trained in three Michelin star restaurants. But as usual we only booked a few days in advance and most restaurants, especially the trending ones, were already fully booked. On the website of one of them I read that they always kept some tables for late deciders (like us), which could be booked by phone on the days itself from 10 AM on. Neil took responsibility for the reservation, so around 11 AM I received a text message that he had booked a table at Publiek in Gent, yes! Publiek is run by Olly Ceulenaere in the kitchen, one of the Flemish foodies. I find it a great idea to keep some tables that can be booked on the day itself. It gives everyone the possibility to try these restaurants, as many people cannot book very far in advance, and therefore miss out on some restaurants who are always fully booked months in advance. I hope they keep this policy as a Michelin star restaurant.

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We had booked quite early in the evening, and when we arrived were told that we could take a table instead of the seats at the bar, which are I guess the seats often set aside for the late bookers. We were very happy, and sat down next to the wall adjacent the open kitchen. The restaurant, though very sober in decoration, had a very warm  and relaxed atmosphere. I think the lightning, the natural wooden touches and the open space are responsible for the ambiance. The personnel is very young and casually dressed.

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We both chose the menu made up of five dishes (55 euro). You can opt for an extra dish, but we declined. We started with a glass of of Vouvray bubbles (8 euro/glass) followed two glasses of white Croatian wine, recommended by the hostess. The wine was really very good.

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You first get some homemade bread with butter with herbs and nuts, beautifully served, and a real treat. Each dish looks really beautiful, is well balanced in its aromas, pure and honest in taste, with original sauces and a lot of fresh herbs. It is a blend of the pure authentic taste of quality ingredients and the flair of good combinations spiced up with fresh herbs.

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You can choose between two deserts or a cheese platter. We each chose a different desert. I took a carrot cake which was delicious, Neil was a bit less pleased with his granité, which seemed to miss taste. He better go for the cheese platter next time.

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It was a great dinner, worthy of the first Michelin star they received last month. Congratulations Publiek!

Publiek, Ham 39 – 9000 Gent +32 9 330 04 86

Le Jardin Bohémien – Ghent

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The best spots are stumbled upon by accident, and they give you the feeling of discovering something unique. We were looking for a coffee around the Gravensteen in Ghent. We had heard many good things about „Julie’s House”, had even tried to have breakfast there, but since it was fully booked at the time, and 11 o’clock sounded more as lunch than breakfast, we decided to keep it in mind for next time.

So this was next time. It was Saturday afternoon and when we arrived the queue for „take away” and the one for „eat in” were both too long. We had just passed a cofeehouse in de Burgstraat and decided to go back on our steps.

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Le Jardin Bohémien” has two huge windows (that go with the elevated ceilings of the beautiful old building), and when we stepped through the entrance door we immediately felt welcome. We found a table for two, just next to the glass fridge full of mouth watering, decidedly home made „gateau’s”. The place is quite big, with small as well as big tables (where you just join others), and some corners with sofas. There is a homy counter where you order and pay, and a beautiful wooden winding stairway that leads to a b&b which I am sure has to be good. The place is decorated quite eclectic, and it seems from the website there is a interior designer on the team. We chose from the menu and ultimately went for the home made ginger chai (de GingerLove you find in most places is far too sweet for my taste). We couldn’t resist the pastries, I went for the lemon meringue, Neil for the cheese cake and we made a deal to share.

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The menu serves breakfast (yes, next time for breakfast!), light lunches, coffee, tea and tarts, and healthy drinks. There is free wifi! We just came from a live jazz café performance (café „Het Onverwacht Geluk” just a bit further down the street) and the music here was in the same jazzy style, perfect. The pastries were simply delicious, homemade, and served generously. The home made ginger chai, tasted pure and natural, the sugar can be added to your own taste.

Le Jardin Bohémien” is open every day except on Tuesdays from 8:30 am to 6 pm, and on Thursdays stays open till 10 pm when they serve cocktails, while you can listen to, what I understood from the blackboard, live music.

Conclusions: all the way for authenticity, honesty, originality and homy experience

Address: Burgstraat 19, 9000 Gent

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