Friday, 22 October 2010

Amadeus, Ghent (BE)

This is one of these places where you mainly go to for the atmosphere. That doesn't mean that the food's not good, it really is, but the decor and the ambiance are even better, and quite unique.

First of all, Amadeus is specialised in spare ribs, all you can eat, with a jacked potato topped with their special herbal butter and a mixed salad. They do offer a few other options, like a local chicken and potato stew called "waterzooi", a mixed grill, gamba's, etc., but you'll see that most people go there for the ribs, and come back for more. 

The interior puts you right back in the 1930s, and every room throughout the restaurant has its own feel: some of them are decorated with art deco wall mirrors, others with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and the whole place bathes in warm, cosy light. The background music fits the decor perfectly, and adds to the feeling that you've stepped back in time and ended up in someone's living room, be it with a whole lot of other people. It's usually quite crowded, which I generally don't like in restaurants, but in Amadeus it's okay.

Another eccentricity is the way they serve their wine. It comes in 1,5 liter bottles that are set on the table, and afterwards they'll charge you by the centimeter, which more or less corresponds with the number of glasses.
We go there regularly, sometimes just with 2 or 3 people, sometimes with a bigger group, and the bill has always been fair and correct.

If you have a bit of space left in your stomach after one of their lavish meals, they serve a few typical desserts that are worth trying, like rice pudding with caster sugar or chocolate mousse. Their irish coffee is supposed to be good, be it of course not very local, but I've never tried that myself so I can't testify to that.

By now there are four Amadeus restaurants in total, of which two in Ghent, one in Brussels and one in Antwerp. The one I'm focusing on is the oldest one, located in the quaint quarter of the city, called "Patershol", an area very close to the centre that is packed with restaurants and bars and has a really authentic historic feel. It's a bit of a labyrinth with old narrow streets, cobblestones and gorgeous historic houses testifying to different building styles throughout the ages, but you always end up somewhere interesting. Definitely a must-see!

Amadeus is located at walking distance from the main sights in the city centre (only a few minutes from Vrijdagsmarkt - Friday's Market).
Main courses go from +-13 euro (if you don't count the vegetarian salad for 7,5) to around 17€, with their specialty: spare ribs à volonté at 14€.

Contact details:
Amadeus I
Plotersgracht 8/10
9000 Gent
Tel. +32 09 225 13 85

Open 7 days a week from 18:30 till 23:00, and from 18:00 till 23:30 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Mr. Krock, Ghent (BE)

UPDATE (2013): Mr. Krock has closed as a restaurant and re-opened as a takeaway, with the same cook and the same delicious dishes. More info on their Facebook page.

The first restaurant I wanted to feature here is one of my absolute favourites: Mr. Krock.

It is a small Thai restaurant that looks a bit run down and inconspicuous on the outside, but serves the most amazing and authentic Thai food, with a perfect balance of flavours and textures.

The restaurant is called after the mortar and pestle the chef uses to grind the herbs and spices to make his curry pastes, and you can actually hear him use it while you're sitting there waiting for your food to arrive.

In all honesty, don't go when you're in a hurry. Because everything is cooked from fresh and there is only one chef in the (open) kitchen, it often takes a while before you get your food, but it's worth every single minute.

The staff are incredibly and genuinely friendly, the menus have English translations, there are plenty of vegetarian options, and the dishes are reasonably priced.

The restaurant is located at walking distance (about 10 minutes) from the main railway station (Gent-Sint-Pieters).

Main dishes go from +- 12 to 18€, and they're lavish. House wines are around 16€ per bottle.

Contact details:
Mr. Krock
Kortrijksesteenweg 590
B-9000 GENT.

Open Tuesday to Sunday: 11:30 - 14:00 and 18:00 - 22:30.
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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Hello world!

Every city in the world has its gems: restaurants, bars, hotels or B&Bs, tiny cafés, beautiful corners and sights that are truly unique.
For visitors to the city, these are often hard to find.

Now, while many people seem happy to just visit the standard and well-known attractions you find in any travel guide, some of us are looking for something special, wherever we go.

I love places that are original and inspiring, with a great atmosphere or a peculiar decor, where you can meet interesting people, sample honest food and scrumptious drinks, discover authentic local dishes or wonderfully exotic cooking. Likewise, every city has a number of hotels or B&Bs that spark our imagination, guarantee a unique experience and leave lasting memories. 

This blog is about those places. I will mainly focus on my home town Ghent, with regular excursions when I'm travelling. And who knows to what other adventures this might lead...

Feel free to email me with suggestions, or to share experiences or pictures of your own.

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