For our last night in Bruges, we asked the hotel concierge to show us a fine restaurant. Hidden behind a wooden door, far from the middle of town, we wouldn't have ever have found it ourselves, but here we are.
Ring on the old style bell and wait for the door to open. As soon as you cross the threshold you enter the art history of Bruges. The house is first mentioned in documents dating from 1261. A welcoming area, the closet to hang your jackets before another door opens for the restaurant. The saloon for a drink before moving forward to the dining space. A high ceiling, round and square tables in a well lit space looking like a medieval castle. Wood and stones cover the walls with beautiful backlit rosone.
Tables are set perfectly well offering a certain class. A full set of cutlery Schott Zwhesel glasses and a red rose decorates the center.
Alliance or vegetarian menu, you can choose between a three, four or six course menu, prices ranging between €40 and €85.
Service is a bit slow and the restaurant is taken care of by two people. A lady, maybe the chef's wife, and a waiter who doesn't seem to know much about the business, a certain confidence is missing.
The place is small, very small, so you feel like you're sitting with the neighbors. You can't help but listen to entire conversations. The amuse bouche were served and no water was offered until we asked.
We were offered a selection of mise en bouche. Chips covered with pickles, tomato and mustard seeds, with a pata negra ham on top. Crunchy and fresh, but a bit too sweet. The other bite was an eggplant purée on a carrot meringue set on a bed of seeds. Bizarre to say the least. The third one was a mini cup of shrimps. The flavors are a bit complicated.
Bread: Seaweed, olives and tomatoes, plain and brown. Balls of fresh bread served with olive oil from Cafalunia. The bread was good, but a bit flaky.
Diner was served:
- Baked Norwegian lobster with mixture of vegetables, risotto of parsley and curry sauce. Crunchy vegetables alongside a risotto that's a bit dry, with tasty lobsters. A beautiful and generous plate, but I found the vegetables to be too crunchy in a plate filled with tender ingredients. I've had better, or at least expected better.
- Grilled presa Iberico, spinach, cannelloni of apricot, cannelloni of cauliflower, béarnaise sauce of herbs. Chewy meat, undercooked and red, crunchy cannelloni, large chunks of spinach... Didn't like it at all.
- Fried scallops with purée of Jerusalem artichokes, bacon brasvar: Three grilled scallops topped with slices of black truffles alongside a purée and fingers of pork grilled and served with their fat. A very good and flavorful plate rich in textures and different tastes. A tender pork, a rich purée and superb scallops.
- Sea bass with butternut, roasted hazelnut, quinoa, sauce of buttermilk. A bit oily, the fish tasted average, but wait until you have the quinoa... I'll say no.
- Our friends took the three course menu and regretted it. None of the plates were finished.
Now for dessert. Flavorful desserts served on large square plates. Bites of different possibilities on a single plate without any correlation between one or the other. A bit stingy and not exceptional. What a deception! I'm sorry, but the plates are nonsense.
- Service is way too slow.
- Shouting in the kitchen is clearly heard in the restaurant.
- The waiter is rarely seen in the dining area. Was he hiding in the kitchen?
- The plates are not very attractive.
- Prices were high for tonight's experience.
- Olive oil from Catalunia; I've had better.
- The chairs are not relaxing at all.
- We were not asked why the plates went back to the kitchen almost full.
Excuse my language... I've rarely written such bad reviews, I've rarely used such words, but tonight's dinner was too deceiving.
On the table a guide mentions the restaurant as one of Belgium's favorites. Guide Alliance lists more than a hundred restaurants in the area and to tell you the truth I don't know why Patrick Devos has a page or two. An old house? Beautiful cutlery? But the food was way below fine dining standards. Excuse my harshness but tonight's experience was very disappointing.