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,
Vlaamse asperges

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Waterzooi was originally made with fish, but nowadays it is usually made with chicken.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.

The amuse-gueule was a cumin flatbread with sesame.

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
courgette, scheermes
ansjovis, venkel

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.

2 Responses to “Passion & C-Jean, Ghent”

  1. Nancy Says:

    I’m happy to hear that you had a good meal at C-Jean. We were there in 2008 and it enjoyed it. We were planning to return this year, since we are returning to In de Wulf in July, but Kobe told us that Jason will be leaving C-Jean before July to start his own restaurant.

  2. George Rusznak Says:

    Michael, loved to see the familiar dishes of Passion. The pictures of the area, the hotel, the facade and the setting of Passion are a nice added touch. While I realize that the blog is not a general travelogue, the pictures do expand the context of your meals and remind us that the places you visit have more to them than the restaurant you visit and its offerings that you so well describe, George

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