Let’s go for lunch at JEF Ghent, Belgium today! Are you looking for a lunch bargain around noon in Ghent? Then you will find it at this fab restaurant: lovely flavors for little money.
So here is the thing.
We are invited over at my hubby’s colleague’s for dinner, and he lives in Ghent.
Well that sounds like a good opportunity to roam the Ghent streets again! It has been what, 3 years since we have visited this vibrant student city since the last time.
The Flemish Foodies
So first things first: where will we go for lunch?
The Flemish Foodies are the talk of the town these days: 3 young chefs who already have pocketed some Michelin stars in the past.
All 3 have a popular restaurant in Ghent: Kobe’s De Vitrine, Jason’s JEF Ghent and Olly’s Volta.
Well you certainly know the drill: visit the restaurant’s website, leaf through their menus, also scroll through some reviews on Tripadvisor to see how the plates look like.
And it seems like Jason’s in poll position in the end.
His creations and flavor palate also looks a wee bit more exciting to us from behind our lazy laptops. But you know what, we will see tomorrow where the day (and the weather) leads us to.
We decide not to make any reservations for lunch and just try our luck.
So we hop on the train in the morning.
Grey sky, rainy and wet landscapes. Nothing new. This sounds like it is going to be another lovely Belgian day!
We arrive in Ghent 90 minutes later, drop off a piece of luggage at our hotel and then hit the streets. It has stopped raining and the weather is surprisingly sweet.
After a cup of coffee somewhere our stroll takes us closer to the Patershol neighborhood.
We find JEF Ghent (that stands for ‘Jason en Famke’) on our way around noon and walk right in. Also FYI: tram 4 stops right in front of the door.
Jason Blanckaert & Famke Dequidt
The JEF Ghent staff behind the wooden counter shows us to the last table available.
We are lucky because 5 minutes later 2 women come in and ask the same but have to leave.
We get a lunch menu (€25) you can choose from: 2 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts. Plain and simple, I like that.
We quickly decide to go for both starters (pickled herring and ham) and mains (pan seared beef tartare and skate).
The waitress – chef Jason’s girlfriend Famke we realised later on – says that we are absolutely right to taste all of the dishes, writes down our orders, brings us freshly baked bread (yum!) and 2 beers.
How I love popular restaurants that put a fine selection of beers next to their wine list!
We browse through the 16 Belgian beers of which 6 are served in small 33 cl bottles (Vedett, Duvel, Orval, Chimay…) with a price range between €2,5 and €4.
The other 10 come in large 75 cl bottles: Rodenbach Vintage, kriek De Ranke, Augustijn… (€8 to €16). The wine list contains 20 bottles between €28 and €38 but most of these wines are also available per glass (€5,5 to €8).
We go for an unknown Belgian ale De Ryck. Dry and pretty bitter we find out, perfect start for our light lunch!
A small appetizer is put on the table: fresh goat’s cheese with raw beetroot, croutons and lovage oil. We get 2 tablespoons and don’t mind the sharing. Creamy, crunchy, peppery because of the lovage.
Pure and simple.
The small place is packed now and the wine flows generously. Everyone seems to enjoy the food.
I like the cozy atmosphere.
The starters arrive.
My hubby gets 5 huge artichoke leaves topped with a mixture of diced pickled herring, apple, shallots. Well balanced, cool presentation.
My starter consists of sliced juicy ham, mustard, egg yolk cream and a vinegary flat bean salad. The flavors and textures work wonderfully well together.
Not long after our table is cleared our mains arrive.
And here is what my hubby gets: 2 generous tablespoons of the smoothest and most flavorful skate I have ever eaten.
The skate meat is scraped from the cartilage and accompanied by blanched strips of zucchini, silky and buttery potato mash and a little pool of velvety mousseline sauce. The salted caper crumble on top is a great find!
A very delicate dish and fragile flavors but again prepared with a lot of care.
I sip my glass of Orval beer and see what’s on the other side of the table: a lukewarm tartare of pan seared ground beef.
Now this is interesting!
The mixture of ground raw and baked beef is quite fascinating. Absolutely great! Also on this plate: shaved black radish, smokey grilled spring onion, pickled gherkin and 3 potato croquettes.
Light and delicious.
We lean back in our chairs with a smile on our faces. The waiter asks what we would like: a sweet dessert or cheese.
Dessert @ JEF Ghent
We both go for the sweet dessert and decide to go for a cup of coffee in town.
Dessert is rice pudding.
The pudding is surprisingly cold, that is interesting! We can also taste a flavorful apricot coulis, creamy apricot ice cream, almond croutons and a sprinkle of grated almonds.
A great ending for an even greater lunch menu.
Thumbs up for JEF Ghent.
What a culinary hattrick! €25?
That is a bloody bargain.
JEF Ghent is closed now.
Chef Jason Blanckaert has opened Aroy Aroy at the same address, which serves Thai inspired dishes.
Lange Steenstraat 10