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“Foodie Heaven”
Review of HERTOG JAN

HERTOG JAN
Ranked #36 of 761 Restaurants in Bruges
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $142 - $369
Cuisines: Belgian, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Hertog Jan is a contemporary restaurant nestled in a classified monumental farm, just 15 minutes outside Bruges. The cooking style is modern, based on home grown vegetables, herbs and flowers, combined with the best seafood & meat. The drinks list includes Belgian bears and naturally made wines from all over the world. The philosophy is based on elegance, simplicity within the sustainable guidelines, in respect with all stakeholders and the surrounding nature.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Our evening at Hertog Jan was a symphony of great service, extraordinary food, and a sleekly elegant setting. One entire end of this restaurant has glass windows which allow the diners to watch everything going on in the kitchen. For this "Foodie", that was one of the most exciting parts of the dinner. We had the 4 course menu with a wine pairing, which resulted in perhaps 20 different food presentations arriving at our table, each a work of art visually. The wines were the only weak spot in our experience there. Hertog Jan grows its own vegetables and creates food without heavy sauces, concentrating instead on rich flavors extracted by technique and the quality of the food. This was a memorable experience.

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1  Thank virginia70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 3, 2013

We had a completely outstanding experience at Hertog Jan. We had the six course tasting menu, which actually was somewhere between 15 and 20 separate presentations of food, one better than the next. The setting was fascinating, with farmland scenery out to the sides. The staff was very helpful and friendly. And the food was unbelievable. Everything was very fresh, tasty and inventive, with interesting flavor combinations throughout the meal. We would very happily return.

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2  Thank Mudge828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2013

Hertog Jan is a perfect machine where all soldiers and generals know perfectly they job. They are very young top level professionals with a sense of perfection. These people work liking what they do as they understand they are exceptional and what they deliver is unique.
Food is spectacular. There is mathematics and love. It tastes marvelously. Somethings may be better than others but it is like for a sweet, you don't like all them the same.
Wines were good but it is the only wicked point. Not as much as to rate this as very good and not excellent as they are well chosen and goes very well with the meals. However, none are exceptional. You have the impression they go for the margins (money) more than for the best.
Went to Alinea, Pierre Gagnaire and many others and this restaurant almost plays in the same league.

1  Thank PabloLH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Over Easter 2013 we've had dinner at Hertog Jan. Yes, we had a nice evening, the staff was friendly, and the food was nice. But... from a 3 star restaurant (and prices!) you simply expect more than that.
You expect to be blown away by the food... From the amuses, the one that we loved and remember is the avocado with tomato powder and sea salt. The rest was either not special to remember OR simply not nice to eat: for example: coffee with cheese combination. Also quite a lot of raw onion was used that left quite a strong taste in the mouth. From our menu: the eel dish with vegetables from their garden was amazing, that one really stood out!
You expect to be blown away by perfect service... The staff were very friendly but the service is nothing like in for example Ciel Blue in Amsterdam; where simply no mistakes are made. At Hertog Jan we had a piece of cork in the wine. A new glass was brought, which had a tiny little but still visible chip in it. We decided not to say anything about this not to come across too fussy. They bring your wine before the food arrives. For our 3rd course a white wine was brought to the table but we had to wait 30 minutes and still no 3rd course. The wine wasn't cold anymore... We said something about this, but didn't get an apology, but one of the many waiters said that he would tell the kitchen that we like our food quicker. (which wasn't the point).
Overall nice food but there just was nothing with a special touch. For example in Ciel Blue you can pick your own steak knife, your own olive oil, and they have a famous desert tray, full of home made chocolates, cookies. Amazing food, faultless service... These are the little things that make a restaurant fantastic. In our opinion Hertog Jan deserves 1 or maybe 2 stars, and Ciel Blue in Amsterdam 3!

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Thank MarlonIndi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

Overall, the food, service and setting at Hertog Jan are top. That said, we were underwhelmed with too many things to say that the price/quality balance is favorable, or even acceptable.

First and foremost, the "selected wines" that accompanied our 6-course menu ranged from OK to flat-out disappointing. The Romanian "wine princess", made from the cadarca grape, for example, had more diacetyl and artificial candy flavours than a really bad immature beaujolais nouveau, and the hyped Szepsy Tokaji did not pair well with the food nor wit the first riesling that we were offered at the start. All the other wines were OK but never really good, except perhaps for the champagne, which was outstanding. In short, we have had much better (and more expensive) wines per glasses offered in restaurants that are in a very different price bracket, and that charge (much) less for a glass. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that Hertog Jan marks up its wines per glass 6 (six!) times! In other words, you pay about as much for one glass as they pay for a bottle. That might be OK for really cheap wines in a bar, but in our opinion hardly defendable for wines in the 10-15 euro/bottle category.

The food was great - fresh, perfect cuisson, no mistakes. But also never really overwhelming; except perhaps for some of the amuses ("preskop! peanut chicken!"). The curry soup with Wagyu beef in particular felt like a waste of great tasting beef, since the beef was completely overshadowed by the curry.

Another, perhaps less important gripe is the presentation. All dishes looked absolutely magnificent - but also always the same, except perhaps for our favorite dish of the night, the eel+veggies soup.

In summary, we have had better meals in several restaurants that only boast one or two Michelin stars (L'Air du temps remaining our top pick in Belgium; but even our meals at L'Usine in Leuven, which does not boast any Micehline stars, are usually better). So, perhaps 1 or 2 stars seem more appropriate for Hertog Jan, and would perhaps present of a burden for the young crew.

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1  Thank KVerstrepen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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