Oak restaurant (Ghent)

© Oak

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The US, Italy, England, and now Ghent… The Belgian Marcelo Ballardin with Italian-Brazilian origins is a real globetrotter! These days you’ll find him showcasing his foodie travels in a building that ap-pears slightly austere from the outside (hello imposing mailboxes that welcome you in!), and equally sober inside (dark walls, brown parquet floors, tablecloths). So, what did the chef, who dreamed of being a musician and has ambitions to one day become a fashion designer, send out from the open kitchen? The irresistible signature blue cheese ice cream topped with caviar and fennel pollen; cut-tlefish ceviche to whet the appetite, with a zingy gariguette strawberry vinaigrette and fresh berries; the first white asparagus of the season, perfectly cooked and accompanied by risotto, fermented asparagus jus and “turf” caviar (cypress nuts); divine langoustine paired with tomato and sambal; chic skrei served with mussels and poor man’s truffle – or belper-knolle, a hard Swiss cheese; and moqueca (Brazilian stew), not really like it’s made over there, with squid tagliatelle and fermented white beans. // Casimir

FEELING THIRSTY? A list of rather pricey wines that have traveled the world: Grande Réserve, a Lebanese white from Domaine Ixsir (€87 a bottle); Rocca de Piro, a cool Lombard red by Ar.Pe.Pe (€84); and Ried Kirchensteig 1ÖTW 2015, an Austrian Riesling from Weingut Geyerhof (€114).
PRICE: Menus €109-139 (dinner and lunch from five people, €139 only).

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