Passion & C-Jean, Ghent
May 16, 2011
On May 9, 2011, Linda and I returned to Flanders, staying the first two nights in Ghent. We had big meals at important restaurants coming up the next two evenings, so we thought we should just have traditional Flemish specialties the first evening. We went to Passion, a small restaurant looking out over the tram tracks onto the square between the St Bavon cathedral and the St Nicholas Church.
We started with glasses of the house champagne. Nice. The amuse-gueule was a little spoon with smoked trout.
We ordered a bottle of 2009 Silverlining South African Merlot Cinsaut. It was robust and went well with my carbonnade. To start, we both ordered a seasonal specialty offered that evening,
The peeled white asparagus were topped with hard boiled egg mashed with butter, parsley and lemon juice.
Linda’s main course was
Gentse waterzooi van kip
Waterzooi was originally made with fish, but nowadays it is usually made with chicken. It is based on an egg yolk and cream thickened broth of leeks, carrots, potatoes and the chicken. This one had a lovely flavor. The photo shows only half the serving; the other half was being kept warm in a cassarole alongside.
My main course was
Gentse rundsstoverij in bruin bier “Keizer Karel”, appelcompote en verse frietjes
This carbonade, or stew, of beef is prepared with the excellent local dark beer, which gives the sauce a rich, slightly caramelized, sweet and sour flavor. The fried potatoes, which are better in Belgium than anywhere else, were an excellent crispy counterpoint. The warm apple sauce, served alongside added a softer touch. As with the waterzooi, half the serving was still in the casserole. I did manage to eat it all, but we had no room for dessert.
We enjoyed our meal; it seemed quite authentic and was just right for the occasion. The flavors came through very nicely.
The following day we had the small lunch menu at C-Jean.
I had glasses of very good Chilean sauvignon blanc and merlot with the meal.
The first course was
aubergine, amandel, koolrabi
Rabbit was enclosed in eggplant rolls. There were garnishes of fresh peas and pea pods, almonds, a shredded cabbage ball, kohlrabi cubes and hazelnuts. Light and good.
The second course was
A piece of perfectly cooked fresh cod was topped with razor clams with foam in a big razor clam shell. The patty pan squash was stuffed with anchovy. Underneath was shredded fennel and a green herb puree. Very good.
Suberb mignardises were served with the coffee.
C-Jean is obviously an excellent restaurant. We regretted that we could only have a small lunch, but we were looking forward to a big, excellent dinner at nearby Hof van Cleve that evening.
We stayed at the Ghent Marriott Hotel. It is built around a modern atrium hidden behind old facades along the Leie river. This is the view across the river from in front of the hotel.
This is the view from across the river back to the hotel, which is behind the reddish facades in the center left.