Hertog Jan

I first read about Hertog Jan a few years ago when their chef was named “Most Inventive Chef in Belgium”. I added it to my list of restaurants to visit, and this past weekend, on the occasion of our fifth wedding anniversary (well, technically that’s this coming weekend, but my wife’s parents were over this past week and could baby-sit, so we pulled it forward a week) we headed up to Brugge for a celebratory dinner.

The company was stimulating, the surroundings classy and refined, and I had just enough (i.e. slightly too much) wine. No more waffle needed from me, I think; from here on it’s just photos with brief descriptions of the dishes. We took the “surprise” menu, so we never knew what was coming next, and I had to try and remember what was in the dishes based mainly on the photos.

A glass of prosecco as apéritif.


The three amuse-bouches came served on slates, rather than plates. First, a cream of parmesan sandwiched between light, crispy wafers dusted with something spicy and tomatoey.


Marinated bread topped with crab meat and sesame seeds.


Razor clam with cucumber and puffed rice.


A crunchy fruit tube filled with fruits of the forest cream, topped with beetroot and grated pineapple.


Rolled sardines with onion, olives, grated cheese, and I think the yellow blobs in the front were some kind of mango sauce.


This rioja was three years older than me…


My first ever caviar. I think the white sails are slices of radish, and the base is potato purée, with a layer of crab gelatine underneath.


The one time I forgot to take the photo until after I’d already started eating. Lobster with a spicy tomato broth.


A roll of foie gras with two types of mushrooms (the black blobs and the white discs) and a pea purée.


Pigeon with almonds, marinated cherries and dark chocolate. I call this “Black Forest Pigeon”. The sweet elements also provided a neat segue into the desserts.


A yoghurt sorbet and a crunchy tube filled with a cream made from Werther’s Originals (no, really).


Various types of chocolate and caramel. The sweetness was offset by the saltiness of the crushed peanuts and the acidity of the lemon discs.


A fruits of the forest disc covers a milky mousse. The powder on the left is, of course, Space Dust. This is the second time that I’ve been served a dessert containing Space Dust in a Michelin-starred restaurant, the first time being in Pinchiorri in Florence. I do hope this idea catches on…


Happy anniversary, Paola.