I would like to share with you some of my favorite restaurants on this travel blog. Belgium is littered with cafés, bars, restaurants, bistros, and of course the (in)famous friteries. I often turn to Yelp or TripAdvisor for help when looking for a good place to eat in a foreign country, but I mostly rely on word to mouth of friends who enjoy quality cuisine like I do for finding something here in Belgium. And in return, I can give you some pretty good advice on where to eat in West and East Flanders. By the way, I’m trying to expand my knowledge to Antwerp and Brussels too, so don’t hesitate to share the tips 🙂
So here’s my first restaurant tip and it’s immediately one of my personal favorites, in Ostend: Bentley’s.
Recognize the guy in the picture? Then you’re a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s Hells Kitchen like I am. Bentley’s is the restaurant of Jean-Philippe, the former maître d’ of Gordon and you might have seen him several times in the first few seasons of Hells Kitchen. He’s originally from Ostend, Belgium and he decided to start up his own restaurant a couple of years ago. And boy, am I glad he did.
Having worked in several restaurants around the world, often ones with Michelin stars, Jean-Philippe knows what good food tastes like. At first, I was a bit worried about the possible prices that he was going to put on the menu or maybe the possibility that the plates were going to be huge and the food on it leaving me hungry. Thank god my fears turned out to be pointless. What Jean-Philippe brings to the table at Bentley’s is a knowledge about etiquette, good food, fresh local products and great combinations. Plus, he knows a fair bit about wines so he always gets carte blanche from me when choosing an appropriate wine with each dish. By the way, the white house wine is a fresh, nice Chilean wine that always gets my vote.
New this year is a weekly lunch that will only set you back 14,9€ per person! For that small amount you get a starter and a main course. So far, it’s left me drooling every time I check the website for the new update of the week. But for me, the main feature on the menu will remain the vol au vent. It’s a typical Belgian dish (yes, another one!) and they serve it close to perfection in Bentley’s. Vol au vent is a dish with slow cooked chicken and small meatballs served in a puff pastry with sauce and french fries. At Bentley’s they serve it with a puff pastry waffle and add some mousseline to the sauce that gives it an extra depth in flavor. And they always find something that gives that extra “je ne sais quoi” to each dish.
To me, desserts are very important. Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants only serve the basic desserts like dame blanche, a slice of apple pie, chocolate mousse, … At Bentley’s they also serve the classic desserts, but with a twist! I’ll try to describe it for you, because pictures don’t do it justice. When you order the dame blanche, Jean-Philippe serves you a bowl covered in a chocolate lid. Then he just pours over the warm chocolate sauce and the lid melts only to uncover the lovely scoops of vanilla ice-cream. The same goes for the sabayon. You get a huge glass filled with lots of yummy ice-cream and the chef comes down the stairs (the kitchen is upstairs) still whizzing in the pan with freshly made sabayon which he then pours over your ice-cream. It’s really really good.
Go over to the website and reserve your table now: http://bentleysoostende.be/index.php