It’s always fun when an impulse lunch booking turns out to be a 2 Michelin star place when you investigate further. Such was the case with my last minute decision to check out Vrijmoed which was handily close to my hotel.
Having managed not to kill myself on the icy journey there, I crossed the threshold and found a full dining room for lunch service which is always nice to see.
I was warmly welcomed and looked after in very fine style throughout by a knowledgeable and friendly front of house team.
Before menus even came into view there was quite the jamboree of introductory snacks to go with my obligatory glass of bubbles.
Four fairly substantial snacks arrived in two pairs. First we had crunchy cabbage with jalapeno, and a crisp taco of ricotta and corn. These were imaginative and very well executed.
We then moved on to a dish of beetroot, pomegrante and horseradish cream, and an array of wild mushrooms textutes. Again, these were strong on flavour and creativity.
There were two tempting tasting menu options across a range of different course combos from four to seven, but I stuck with their lunch deal which gave you a starter, main and dessert for €55.
The starter was a seasonal textures of Jerusalem artichoke with a soup topped with crisps and a little pizza bite on the side. The soup also featured a veloute of fermented black garlic. It was all really accomplished stuff.
The main course was glazed carrots with grated macadamia topped at the table with a curry broth. It was served with a little side dish of bulgur and pomegranate. This was bright and fresh with a harmonious balance to the flavours.
Dessert was cedrat – the big, pithy lemon I’d been introduced to at Les Apothicaires – with white chocolate, herb granita, and a Moscato syrup. It was beautifully light, airy and refresing.
Chef Michael Vrijmoed came to say hello at the very end after he’d sent me a little gift of second dessert featuring chocolate emulsion, arabica coffee and caramelized endive, all topped with gold biscuit. It was a richly satisfying note on which to end.
I sipped a coffee along with a little parade of petit fours of vanilla cake with pumpkin and finger lime, truffles of shittake, sesame biscuit, and chocolate cream pie. They were excellent.
Wines had been well-considered, high quality pairings throughout with the delicate Sicilian frappato particularly good.
Overall, Vrijmoed served me an outstanding lunch, launching my Gent dining experiences in fine style. Everything was delivered with assurance and aplomb with dishes raidiating an understated beauty. Their lunch deal is very good value for this level of cooking so it’s one to consider when next you are in this fabulous city.
Blythe scores Vrijmoed
4.5/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 18/20
I ate: sunchoke soup, glazed carrot, cedrat and white chocolate, bonus chocolate dessert
I drank: bubbles, Alscace pinot blanc, Sicilian frappato, sweet grenache, water, espresso
I wore: chamois shirt
Total bill: €112.50