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“Second visit syndrome”
Review of In de Wulf - CLOSED

In de Wulf
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $146 - $293
Cuisines: French, Belgian, European, International, Fusion
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Business meetings, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Validated Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
272 reviews
199 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 225 helpful votes
“Second visit syndrome”
Reviewed April 4, 2014

Having a dinner comprising 22 dishes is one thing, having those 22 dishes served by the chefs themselves is something else and speaks of kitchen confidence and an understanding of showmanship. The theatricality was carried over to the presentation of the food, which meant that in some cases the appearance dominated and outweighed the value of the ingredients. If most of the 22 are imaginative and possibly ground-breaking you would reckon on leaving the dining room on a real high. That we didn't was something of a shame. Kobe Desmaraults was not present, but his excellent sous-chef, Rose Greene, was clearly capable of handling the cooking, so why did we not find ourselves submerged in a sea of wows? Perhaps it was something to do with the small plates philosophy being taken to the extreme, so that one or two mouthfuls twenty times over became unsatisfying and because somehow the balance and coherence of the whole meal was lacking. The outstanding plates were definitely those that had the most content and our least favourites were mainly the on-trend deconstructions and those with over-emphasis on local seasonal and foraged ingredients all pared downto a minimum, with infusions that would possibly have been unidentifiable without the detailed explanation from a chef which we requested more than once. Perhaps this indicates that we are behind the times. However, a single whelk infused in its own stock with a bay leaf vinaigrette for dipping is surely unlikely to have most punters raving despite the artistic presentation of the dish. The seven starters provided a couple of winners, namely the lightest porkskin with a creamy mustard filling and the baby kohlrabi cooked with vinegar on a cream purée with chervil. The rest, including fermented carrot, smoky crispy potato, broccoli shoots with "farmer's cream" (i.e. with mustard), and mackerel à la plancha with brown miso, made more of a visual impression than anything. We were mildly amused when a chef brought what he described as the first main course. In fact it was not a great deal bigger than any of the starters. Once again, certain dishes were works of art on a plate but not on the palate, for example crab with pickled salsify and a chilled dashi made from mackerel bones, fresh sabayon poured over cooked down hop shoots, two types of potato served with potato in a salt crust and dipped in a potato mousse, salted and pickled black squid ink with wild garlic, zander with roe and spring onion and seared endive, 60-day matured beef with belly pork and soy, none of which were in large enough portions to leave a lasting impression. The wow-factor dishes comprised brilliantly tender oyster chilled down in an unripened mustard whey sauce, superb bisque-like clam in a jellified but warm reduction and young brassica with sorrel, amazing pork jowl bacon dried and served like pasta with ground elder plant and parsnip blanched with cream, an absolutely wonderful combination of perfect lobster poached in its own stock and with meadowsweet which actually had a sweet effect to provide a delicious match with the decent portion of lobster, and these nearly, but not quite, made up for the other lesser plates. The desserts were reasonable, using fashionable ingredients such as sloeberries, sorrel and sea buckthorn, and the best one being an amusing take on rhubarb and custard, the custard made from goose egg and the rhubarb boosted with juniper berries. The wine flight had been well-chosen and mostly matched the food perfectly. However, we found the wine waiter stiff and rather uncommunicative, but at least he accepted that we preferred not to have the beer which figured in the wine flight. This could have been a strenuous marathon if the dishes had been any larger, but it is safe to say that more ample portions of the seven that we enjoyed most would have sufficed, provided us with a top-class meal and resulted in a more positive review.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank acko_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

282 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
158 reviews
135 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Revisited”
Reviewed February 23, 2014 via mobile

We returned after six months or so .The wine list has really improved and there' s more choice now ( but within a rather limited range).The sommelier still has his own style,I preferred to order by the bottle.

But much more important: the food.
Still a very dedicated,youthful international team of cooks,bubbling with enthousiasm.Very complicated and excellent tastes and flavours.The concept works out very well,a number of great " bites" ,served at a good tempo.Locally sourced top-ingredients,great dishes with a green footprint.Looking forward to come back.
Tip: do not be seated too close to the ( burning) fireplace.It gets very warm there,as ( in season?) they actually use it to roast meat.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Remco D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghent, Belgium
Level Contributor
400 reviews
261 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 433 helpful votes
“Not as good as previous visit”
Reviewed November 15, 2013

Still excellent but the young chef goes over the top a bit as far as acidity is concerned. We realize that it is now very fashionable to make every dish 'fresh' with acidity but like everything it should be done in a measured way. We feel that like before when the chef had his 'espuma period' he now has his vinegar and again exaggerates a bit. We've there 8 times and have seen the prices rise steadily but now we feel it was a bit too steep especially because the chefs present their own plates so he saves on waiting staff. Also 5 euro for half a liter of water is a bit over the top considering the price for the menu and the fact that the first two times we were asked if we wanted water but after that they just kept the bottles coming. Maybe the aperitif and coffee should be included in the price? The slow coffee was really awful ...maybe we should have said...
This might all sound a bit negative but we had an excellent evening with great wines and some fantastic dishes.
We're already saving to go back but hopefully chef holds back a bit on acidity and serves proper coffee by then. And no more expensive water for us!

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank markhebbelinck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arendonk, Belgium
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“magic”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

magic moment
magic place
don't miss it when visiting the west hoek of flanders
for us it was en will be unforgettable

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank paklons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
65 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Formidable”
Reviewed October 13, 2013

On the same evening that the Red Devils earned their place amongst the best footbal nations in the world, we were able to enjoy another Belgian in the highest league. Set to the beautiful backdrop of the Heuvelland, Kobe's kitchen is all about passion for his terroir. The dishes pay tribute to his youth, his skill showing in every plate. Not every plate hit target, but when they did it was spectacular in simplicity, flavour and texture. This is a chef with both vision and style. We will be back for more. For sure.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank GeertAt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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