During the last fragile hours of my holidays I made a resolution: the best way of not falling back into boring work routine is through very consciously enjoying every minute of every day and turning each minute into an extension of my holidays.
From now on I make it a point of honour to not let stress and workload spoil my precious time. Don’t laugh! This time I mean it!
And the same goes for eating. Life is too short for bad food, so the quest for exquisite fine dining at affordable prices is on. We just returned from a month travelling through Asia, so our palates are ready for some good old Belgian cuisine again.
And this time we discovered a new spot in our home city. “Bistro De Eetkamer” (Eekhoutstraat 6, Bruges) simple Flemish for “The dining room”. But don’t let the name of this restaurant fool you, the plates leaving from their kitchen are anything but simple. Pretty refined, on the contrary.
But before we discuss the food, let’s discuss the atmosphere. I am repeating myself, but I insist: eating out is an experience that starts at the door. Our experience in ‘Pomperlut‘, where they basically threw us out because we had arrived 15 minutes late, was still fresh in my mind. Luckily, here they got it right; the host was friendly and quick to help us out of our coats and into our chair. We were early but before long most tables were occupied. Still, to my surprise, the room remained remarkably quiet, and almost reminded me of my childhood, when, at primary school, we were not allowed to speak at the table, until we had finished off our plates. Another surprise, when a group of Russian customers – without prior reservation- came asking for a table, they were politely refused, even if a large table was still free. I wondered if the table was booked and the hosts were stood up, or whether they just didn’t want to risk having noisy customers in the room? Or that, unlikely yet possible, they were happy with the attendance and didn’t want to have more customers. Bottom line, we, the guests, felt a little privileged in our quiet private corners.
OK, about the food then: we opted for the menu of the week because it looked very appetizing and because the à la carte choices were rather pricey in comparison. Red Mulet on a ratatouille for starters. The red Mulet is a delicate and tasty little fish and it was prepared with much attention to detail. The same could be said for the duck breast and little potato rosti’s, prepared with a very refreshing Banyuls sauce with slices of pink and white peach.
The trio of ice cream, chocolate mousse and panna cotta and a perfectly selected glass of Merlot made this dinner a well rounded and much appreciated experience.
At 109 euro, it had not been a cheap evening out, and maybe we would have enjoyed it more if the ambiance had been just a tad more lively, but then again, sometimes a quiet night out, with within sight and earshot nothing more than only the tinkling of cutlery on your plate, sweet words whispered from lips to lips and the smile on the lovely face in front of you, is all there is to desire and these precious minutes culminated in another evening well spent during my everlasting extended holidays back home.