Sud-Food of Italy, Brugge

It has been a while since we tried a new restaurant in Bruges, so today we headed to the city centre to have lunch. We had booked a table for two in the small but cosy deli annex restaurant Sud (they only have 6 tables), with an Italian chef from Puglia in the kitchen. We chose the table in the back with a view of the garden and of the kitchen. The table was a bit wobbly, and the noises of the kitchen were a bit disturbing but not too much. They serve a daily changing set lunch menu: one starter and one main course, following the seasons, with mostly organic ingredients straight from Puglia, and home-made pastas. The menu costs 26 euro for both courses or 18 euro if you only take the main course. We took an excellent white wine by the glass from Puglia and some sparkling water. We received some small paprika’s stuffed with olives and anchovy, and small taralli with white wine as appetizers. Taralli’s look like mini bagels but with a whole different taste. I think I will look up the recipe and try to make them at home.

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As a first course we recieved seabass in pork bacon, in a sauce of potatoes and lemon, with fresh mozzarella from Puglia. It looked great and tasted just as good. They use fresh wholesome ingredients, and the appetizer was really original, a refreshing change from the usual standards served in most restaurants. The main course was home-made paccheri pasta, with pancetta and pork sausage, with fennel seeds, slightly spicy, but certainly not too much.

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We asked for a coffee to round it off, but were disappointed with the low quality of the coffee and the cappuccino that in this age of baristas did not even come close to a standard cappuccino, and would certainly not be served in Italy like that.

Restaurant Sud is definitely a very cosy place to spend lunch time. The owners are very friendly  and the food is definitely fresh and tasty, but I am afraid that 26 euro is overpriced for what you get. Or they have to upscale a bit on the decor and food, or lower the prices in accordance with what they serve.

Sud-Food of Italy, Mallebergplaats 5, Bruges 8000, Belgium, +32 50 344562

The House of Eliott is now Maison Elza – Ghent

‘The House of Eliott’ is now ‘Maison Elza‘. No more dinners but breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea with homemade scones instead! Open from 9 AM to 5:30 PM. Same cosy interior but a different approach! We haven’t tried it yet, but if we do, we will surely write about it!

Aaaah Happy places. Yes this time we definitely visited a happy place, it made us smile and happy anyway. It was a surprise, since this time Neil had made the reservation for a restaurant, and I was smart enough not to ask any questions. ( Yes I managed to suppress my curiosity!) We walked from our hotel in Ghent towards the Gravensteen. We took a drink in the bar next to the restaurant since we were a bit early. The bar ‘Club Reserva’ is also a music bar with daily live music in the cellar. Some people having a drink in the bar were waiting for the live performance downstairs. The bar is in a brown jazzy style, but seems to miss a bit in atmosphere. But it was good enough to have a drink and talk a little. At 8 PM we entered  ‘The House of Eliott’, which Neil offered as an early birthday dinner (one month in advance, but this also meant I was having a very prolonged birthday party this year, so no complaints!)

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We could choose between a table already free downstairs or wait five minutes for a table upstairs. The upstairs seemed lighter and a bit more attractive, so we decided to wait five minutes in the ‘Salon’ in front of the bar when you enter. We took the time to take in the surroundings, which are lavishly decorated in a nostalgic twenties style, a bit bohemian and burlesque, with a fascination for Chanel (so pearls everywhere). After five minutes we were taken to a romantic table with leopard seats. A lot of lobster on the menu, and I love lobster, so no worries there. There were two menus (Menu Eliott and market Menu) and we chose the shorter one (market Menu), with half a lobster as starter and half a lobster as a main course, and a dessert after. And half a bottle of white wine. We received bread while waiting, together with pepper, salt, oil and butter and a small pot with fresh herbs with some scissors to cut onto the bread. Really cute and delicious, especially the virgin olive oil was of very good quality. (and you can really win me over with these kind of original and tasty ideas ). We were also brought an appetizer with fresh grey shrimp and cauliflower cappuccino. The hosts are hip, charming and very friendly. They obviously love their job and the restaurant they are running. The music is in the same twenties style and ads to the warm atmosphere.

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The first lobster was very succulent and the combination with green asparagus, rucola and Italian cheese original and refreshing, without drowning out the tasty lobster. We ate the lobster till there was nothing to suck out anymore! We got some cucumber sorbet in between and after that our second half lobster with white asparagus Flemish style, on sea lavender ( a vegetable that looks a bit like spinach). It was Flemish style with a twist and with a poached egg on top! Besides lobster I also adore white asparagus, and again the cook really knows what he is doing. The lobsters are really fresh, combined with high quality ingredients and prepared with love for the product.

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We went for the favourite dessert of chef Tom, based on strawberries in different preparations, I believe there was white chocolate mousse and some strawberry sponge cake, and a lot of fresh strawberries. I think I should remember this meal for my last supper (should I ever have to choose one, god forbid!), since it includes most of my favourite ingredients: lobster, white asparagus and strawberries. We combined it with a coffee to end in style. This restaurant takes the coveted first place on Tripadvisor for restaurants Ghent, and they more than deserve it! Go and feel happy!

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Address:
Jan Breydelstraat 36, 9000 Gent
09 225 21 28

Open
Thursday from 6 pm, Friday to Monday from 12 to 2 pm and 18pm to…. Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday

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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