This mini Belgium blog series idea all started a few months ago following my time at Luke and Wendy’s wedding in the Netherlands. I loved every minute of the wedding , especially the reception. It was like Britains got talent meets xfactor meets celebrity dancing on ice in dutch. Totally loved every minute of it.
Wedding over, seeing as we stopped over at Dunkirk on the first leg of the trip, we decided to spend a few hours in any beautiful city on our way back to London. After a while on google , Gent seemed to stand out quite a bit from the rest. Walking around Gent was like being transported into a magical disney town. Tons of little streets, canals, medieval architectures, coloured buildings, beer houses, basically it was like being in a painting at times.
|Gent boat rides|
|I wouldn’t mind this castle|
|Dave on the lash|
Wish we had more time in Gent. So with all that in mind, when it came to choosing a place to visit this Christmas, Gent won yet again. My sole job on this trip was to book restaurants.The pressure was intense as you can imagine. As a food blogger I always tend to put pressure on myself when it comes to picking places to eat because I assume people expect quite a bit from someone who eats out as much as I. Tons of time was spent googling Michelin guides and Tripadvisors for good restaurants . Do you know how many restaurant websites lack dutch to english translations?. Well more than I thought. I spent hours copying and pasting menus and information from the sites into google translate. I thought I was doing a great job until it turned out I booked a closed ballroom in a restaurant that wasnt open on Christmas day. Finding very good restaurants was tough indeed. While searching however a few places deemed to cook good dishes on the Michelin websites were open and all I can say is that I was soo glad Naturell restaurant was the first on my list.
Naturell was just a few yards from the design museum, so locating it wasnt a problem. On entering the restaurant you are surrounded by wooden decor and some green plant decorations. It wasnt ostantatious in the slightest.It was just……natural ( you see what i did there ). We checked out the menu and the prices were definitely unatural to say the least. 75 Euros for a five course with 15 euros each for extra dishes. All that money and no expensive rugs , chandeliers or waiters that wipe your chin when you dribble from having soo rich a food, you have visions of gout as you stuff your face with pan fried foie gras and a delicate glass of italian merlot. Well all I can say is that the money went into the most important thing of all…the wonderfully crafted dishes they fashioned out of the well sourced fresh organic produce. The dishes were basically like tapas, however dont be fooled by the size. I couldnt breathe by the end of the evening and 2 days later am still struggling to digest it all. It was my fault though. The waiter asked if we wanted the extras and the other half told him I wanted everything. Everything includes 2 – 3 extra suppliments on top of the five course. I thought about this waist altering decision for a few seconds and gathered I had to do it for my lovely readers. Yes, am soo thoughtful right? . Well I think the waiter thought I was nuts when I ordered all those dishes. A slight gasp of ” are you sure ” should have caused me to just stick with the five course, but alas we responded with ” and add bottle of wine to the list please”.
When the dishes arrived ,they all packed soo much flavour I wouldnt even know how to start describing each. So here goes everything I had. Ps there might be some translation issues, so dont be surprised if I call the chicken wings..an oyster for example. Just admire the pictures and visit the place.
|Marinated chicken wing, spring onions and popcorn|
|Scallops , miso , hazelnuts . It also had some lemon|
|Baked scallops with celeriac, celeriac foam and hazelnuts|
|Oysters , Sesame seeds, mushrooms, ham : a real delight|
|Turbot , leeks, eucalyptus smoke and some herbs : The fish was perfection|
Lentils, mushrooms and argan oil
|One of the extras : first foie gras dish. Very smooth and tasty|
|Pan fried foie gras , baked pear and chestnuts : a star dish. Rich, fatty , slightly sweet pear and earthy chestnuts|
|Use the force|
By this stage I was struggling a little. The food tasted good, but alas I heard my fans scream : one more dish…one more dish. Thinking I was on the home run, finished it, some saw steak knives and at that point knew…we hadnt even had our mains yet. My food partner leaned back on her seat and gazed at the celings for a few minutes. Maybe it was regret on her face because she knew she was eating a years worth of food in one seating or she just saw something in the heavens calling out to her, I dont know. Either way she snapped out of her food coma and we soldiered on steadfast in the belief that good food’s worth dying for.
|Soft veal, carrots and sprouts|
|Citrus delight dessert|
|Chocolate and pistachios dessert : a very moorish dessert with delicious citrus gels|
3.5 hours later, we looked at each other and marveled at our accomplishment. We came, fought and conquered all dishes on the menu. This was very good cooking at its best and there was no doubt about that. All dishes were different and you felt very close to nature with every bite. You can taste each ingredient in the dishes, all perfectly balanced. The bill came up to a hefty £200 or thereabouts ( I hate Brexit ). It may seem a lot,but I think it’s worth it.
I give this restaurant, a healthy Makele 4.3 out of 5 stars . It’s worth a visit if you are in these parts