Nonam Restaurant (Ghent)

© Heikki Verdurme

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Ah, the Patershol neighborhood, with its colorful, brick facades, its ankle-twisting cobblestones and its abundance of culinary temptations! And if we had to pick only one, our answer, without hesita-tion, would be Karel Van Oyen’s Nonam. After working in the kitchens of the prestigious Hertog Jan, the chef already scored points with Vinto, in Kruisem. His latest work? A restaurant, wine bar and boutique hotel, all rolled into one inside a building dating back to 1739, refurbished to suit the taste of the times (bare bricks walls here, dark wood there). In a somewhat chaotic atmosphere, which con-trasted with the solemnity of the place and the panache of the dishes: sleek cuttlefish with a zing of passion fruit, atop pearly-white sushi rice; amberjack sashimi, passion fruit juice, tonic and sea buckthorn; North Sea cod cooked at a low temperature in clarified butter, with a tangle of spinach doused in seaweed butter; a potent smoked eel mousse with herring roe, kohlrabi, cucumber mari-nated in rice vinegar and a mussel broth and champagne sauce; don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover cauliflower, simple in appearance, but served with shimeji escabèche and a poached free-range egg, cauliflower and burnt onion cream, topped with mimolette shavings and a sesame-kimchi crumble; before grilled duck that packed a punch with braised white cabbage and a bacon and burnt onion sauce. And things were brought to an end with a tangy mix of blood orange, Greek yogurt and hibiscus, before the coffee, served with crispy Dutch donuts – just like at the fair! // Casimir

FEELING THIRSTY? Bottles popping all over the shop, with a dozen wines served by the glass, like the Vom Kalkstein, a German blanc de noir from Weingut Claus Schneider (€8), or by the bottle, like the Salangues, a Catalan red from Bodegas Mas Doix (€74), and Clandestino, a Castilian Viog-nier from Bodegas Menade (€70).
PRICE: Menus €45 (lunch) and €65-85.

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