Our party of five has a birthday to celebrate, so they’ve reserved a table for us on one of the three indoor levels (there’s also seating on a front as well as a back terrace). Feeling immediately festive at our big round wooden table under dim lighting, we start off with a chilled bottle of cava. It goes quickly, and we’re able to put in our orders: two times Gentse stoverij (Ghent-style beef stew) and three times steak and fries. Other choices include spaghetti, elaborate salads, baked sole, americain, shrimp croquettes and more.
The service is like a well-oiled machine and not once do we need to get our server’s attention. She has enlisted the help of two more servers for the simultaneous delivery of the dishes, which makes for quite a good impression, not to mention five piping hot meals.
The first round of reactions comes in praise of the stew. The chunks of beef are perfectly soft and falling apart in the dark beer-infused, full-flavour sauce. It’s made with Ghent Tierentyn mustard for just the right amount of kick. A side salad, some crisp fries and homemade mayo are all it takes to round off this dish for our happy stew-eaters.
The steaks on my friends’ plates are just as thick and juicy as mine. The outside has been seared shut in melted butter, leaving the inside incredibly soft and pinkish-red. On top is a sprinkling of chunky herbs, sea salt and black pepper. Mine comes with a rich cream-and-mushroom archiduc sauce; my friends enjoy theirs with a lovely fresh tarragon béarnaise. We also have light side salads and heaps of fries, albeit not the freshest fries I’ve eaten.
Fully satisfied but not yet ready to leave, we order a round of beers: pils and Orval. The bill comes to €140; very reasonable considering €40 of it was for drinks.
Vrijdagmarkt 47, Ghent; 09.223.44.46
Tue-Sat, 12.00-14.30 & 18.00-23.30
One of the better brasseries in
Flanders, specialising in steak, stew
and other classic dishes