Restaurant Vrijmoed is a one michelin star restaurant in Ghent that gets a Gault Millau score of 16/20. I must say, walking into this place I didn’t really get that “star quality” first impression. The restaurant is quite small and the interior is rather simple. The tables were also situated close together, we sat in between two other couples which made intimate conversation a little bit difficult.
That being said, service is very responsive and friendly. Empty glasses and plates are taken away quickly. If you like to open doors, you’re out of luck since their staff will always do it for you. At the end of your dinner experience, you’ll know you’ve been to a Michelin star rated restaurant.
The menu we ordered (6 courses) was accompanied with some great and some very surprising wines. It was a mix of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. If you are a vegetarian, this place is a must visit. Vrijmoed also offers a full selection of vegetarian menus. Prices range from 64EUR for a four course menu and you’ll be 89 euros lighter for the full six course experience.
We started off with a glass of champagne. Can’t go wrong with that. The amuses that came along with the aperitief were very refreshing. Three little dishes based around cucumber. The amuses were kept simple but the tastes are very pure. Definitely respectable!
The first starter was “anchovy salad” with peaches. Tastes were well balanced. Mr Eggplant said it was the best salad he ever had (I must admit, he never orders a salad). The presentation of their dishes is superb. Here’s a picture that makes your mouth water.
Next we had “pickled sepia” with tomatoes and tarragon. This was very tasty as well. The last starter was “lacquered eggplant” with dashi and lime. We had this with a supplement of seared duck liver (10EUR extra per person).
I felt like if you took away the duck liver, this dish was a little bit sad. Two very thinly sliced pieces of eggplant… In the end, the customer gets the choice and we understand that someone might have ethical reasons to take the dish without the foie gras.
The main was “beef BBQ” with artichoke and beets. This was certainly my favorite dish of the evening. I’m happy someone finally used red beet in a recipe, and it was outstandingly delicious. Again, portion size for the meat could have been a little bit bigger but the chef should feel flattered when a food critic just wanted more. Again the whole dish was well balanced and not a single ingredient on the plate felt out of place.
First dessert was “parmesan sorbet” … Me and Mr Eggplant both had a problem with this dish. Parmesan is a great ingredient but making a sorbet out of it doesn’t really do it much justice.
Chef Massimo Bottura, currently running the second best restaurant in the world serves a dish called “five ages of parmigiano” where he creates different textures, a demi souffle, a galette, foam and of course the sauce.
This was kind of inspired on this famous dish (maybe unknowingly). But it didn’t really pop out. It might work very well as a small amuse, not so much as a dessert. I wasn’t bad, it just felt out of place.
The last dish was “caramelised corn” with honey. If you’ve read our other reviews you’ll know that we visited volta’s popcorn concept and this dish was missing on their menu. The texture of the dish (kind of moussey) was really nice and the chunks of corn kept you in touch with the ingredient in its pure form. Although I must say, after this I still ended up craving another real dessert…
We also took a cappuccino and a green tea (fresh) and this was accompanied by fresh made marshmallows, macrons and cakes.
Overall I’d say this is a great restaurant, one of Ghent’s best for sure. Vrijmoed is ran by a chef who thinks out of the box and dares to experiment. He took time to talk to his diners and ask their honest opinion. Top notch place.
Some Food Photography by: Heikki Verdurme.
Total: +/- 340 EUR
This was for six courses including wines, champagne and coffee/tea.
Vrijmoed is just 'vréé goed'.Book your table!
9000 Gent (Belgium)
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