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Gent March 2005 - Part 1

Posted by Thom Aikman on 04/03/2005 12:37:47 PM

Spent a superb 4 days in Gent just before Easter ... and now finally got round to updating my notes after spending the Easter holiday in Scotland.

Food was a special feature this time with meals at the new Pakhuis brasserie, the superb Belga Queen, Aba-jour, A Capella and two visits to Deus brasserie.

The Friday was spent covering the majority of the Bob H Bars in town (10 to cover); the Velootje having been covered on a previous visit. Over the weekend, we got round all of the Gent bars except the Hopduvel (shut at 1pm on the Sunday) and De Tempelier. However, we added A Capella and Brouwzaele (thanks to the Hopduvel's closure). A special day trip was made out to the De Bierkamer in Kluizen on the Saturday afternoon for a great afternoon in the almost sunshine.

Friday 18.03.2005

Friday was not such an early start as the ZBF weekend. We departed Waterloo on the 7:43 train to Brussels getting there on time at 10:58. And in Gent by Midday. This Eurostar service is a direct service, not stopping at Lille or Ashford. The difference in the weather from two weeks ago was very noticeable, although Belgium did not have as nice a weekend as London, and the sun did not really shine until the Monday.

We decided to get our orientation and started to follow our old tourist map two-hour walk round Gent, which conveniently passed or went very close to a number of Bob H bars. An enjoyable day was started with drinks at Het Galgenhuisje. We started the day with a Tongerlo blond and a Galgenbier in an empty bar. A Troubadour Blond was an excellent free BOBH drink to follow. The route then passed our next stop, the Pakhuis. Nothing to do with the brewery in Antwerp, but a magnificent restored warehouse in the centre of the city with great food with lots of oysters, shellfish and seafood. The beer list is limited; we had an Ename and Westmalle Tripel, but the food was excellent although pricier than we would normally spend at lunchtime.

We continued our walk with stops in Den Turk and De Onzerke Tijd. We finished our afternoon near the hotel as De Muze opened at 4pm and I had a Slaapmutske Tripel and a stamp before going back to the hotel to rest before tonight’s meal at the Belga Queen.

All the superlatives regarding the Belga Queen are justified. The setting, ambience and the food are all first class, and it helps to book at weekends. We booked online about a week before and all tables were full by 8pm. We ate in the first floor restaurant and you can eat in either of two sittings although we felt no pressure to complete our meals. The service was friendly and helpful without being intrusive For the record we had three Palm Ungefiltered between us.

Starters - Fresh scallops pan-fried in Ardennes butter and served in a Duvel sauce and 6 Oysters

Main courses - Belgian Charolais sirloin steak with old mustard from Ghent and Rodenbach (Belgian beer), braised endives and hand cut fries AND Sole meunière with fresh vegetables

Desserts - Peche Mignon AND Speculaasijs Framboos

I do not normally enjoy steaks that often but that steak normally offered on the menu for two was available for one. That was one special steak. That was a meal that I paid more for than the room rate at the Erasmus and was worth every cent. An excellent meal was completed with coffees taken in the third floor Cigar Lounge. Although no one was actually smoking...

After the meal, we chilled out at the genever bar Dreupelkot and enjoyed some fruit genevers. A final Bob H tick at Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant with a Chimay Tripel and an Augsitijn completed 5 BOBH bars in day 1.

Saturday 19.03.2005

After breakfast, a slow start to Saturday was spent checking out the market at St Jacobs and window-shopping. We also looked at the bus stands at Bij St Jacobs as a possible alternative start point to our trip to De Bierkamer. The 52 and 55 buses stop at the same stop and can be used to get to Kluizen, albeit by differing routes. As we had planned to get out to Kluizen for after opening at 3pm, we wandered down towards the Zuid bus station.

We checked out the bus stands for later and decided on the 14:56 service. Luckily after a coffee in the Zuid shopping centre, Deus had the boards outside by 12 noon and in we went. We had a nice lunch time session of Westmalle Dubbel and Moinette Blond and Gueze Hanssens, Maredsous 8, and Braven Apostel Kerstbier. We enjoyed lunch of shrimp croquettes and Gentse stoverij, which was very good. This encouraged us to visit on the Sunday night as well.

A judicious use of the 52 and 55 buses can give you more flexibility at the weekend, despite both being an hourly service. The 55 takes 25 minutes and the 52 takes 33 minutes and follows a more scenic route. We returned from De Bierkamer on the 18:03 52 to Merelbeke. We were the first in the café that afternoon, although the tables filled up as the afternoon prgoressed. We enjoyed a superb beer selection of Uitzet 1730, Alvinne Blond, Urthel Novicius Vertus and Achel Extra 75cl.

This is a superb beer list, quite different in many ways from the Het Waterhuis selection.

Highlights and rarities such as 4 Blaugues, 3 Silenrieux, 9 Regenboog, 4 Alvinne beers, and full range of geuezes.

Also beers from Rulles, Den Hopperd, De Dolle and Urthel. A list of around 100 and Gert plans for it to remain around that level.

The limitation of our digital camera’s battery power was exposed, as we ran out of power in De Bierkamer with no replacement and with Belgium being shut on a Sunday for any commercial activity, no chance of a replacement.

On our return to Gent, we ate at the Aba-Jour and had an Entrecote pepper steak and Scampi washed down with a Rochefort 6 and 3 Fonteinen Geueze.

We had planned to spend some time in the Hotsy Totsy jazz bar, as it was close to our hotel. The place was mobbed but we managed to grab and seat, an Orval and a tick and then head back to the hotel for a well-earned rest.

End of another superb day. More to come on the next two days.

Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - Thom Aikman, 04/03/05 12:37:47 PM
        Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - Jeremy Gray, 04/03/05 02:56:04 PM
                Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - Thom Aikman, 04/03/05 05:08:25 PM
                        Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - podge, 04/04/05 01:04:43 PM
                                Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - Thom Aikman, 04/05/05 03:00:29 AM
                                        Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - podge, 04/05/05 07:55:58 PM
                                                Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - Thom Aikman, 04/06/05 03:28:30 AM
                        Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - Jeremy Gray, 04/04/05 04:04:10 AM
                                Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - Thom Aikman, 04/04/05 04:38:06 AM
                                        Re: Gent March 2005 - Part 1 - Jeremy Gray, 04/04/05 06:57:32 AM

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