Rizoom Restaurant (Ghent)

© Rizoom

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From inside his kitchen overlooking the dining room with hardwood floors, wood, concrete and black furniture, Yves Kerckhoffs sends out sleek, well-made plates with Nordic-Nipponese twists, after the success of his pop-up ramen bar Shibui. The day we went for lunch, it was a festival of flavor! Fried kale chips in spicy oil and preserved lemon; bass crudo hiding under a shiso leaf; semi-dehydrated beets in a scallop coral jus dotted with Sichuan pepper oil; a dazzling Ostra Régal oyster braised over the fire in its shell, seasoned with trout roe, pale-leaf woodland sunflower root purée and oyster jus; an impressive surf ’n’ turf combo of pearly halibut dry-aged for seven days, cut into thin strips and served over grilled eringi and maitake mushroom tapenade, all drizzled in chicken jus; head-spinningly good Duke of Berkshire pork loin dry-aged in koji and cooked over the embers, paired with yuzu jelly and a warm endive salad, intensified by a stunning pork jus and smoked haddock sauce; and a gentle landing to the meal with kombu ice cream, celeriac caramel and white chocolate crumble. We’re practically speechless! // Alba Nebbioli

FEELING THIRSTY? Over a hundred clean European bottles to pop open in house (including a dozen served by the glass) or take home with you: Hey Mate!, a sparkling Slovakian Pinot noir from Domin & Kušický (€9 a glass, €44 a bottle), Bonsaï, an Austrian red from Claus Preisinger (€56), or Rami, a volcanic Sicilian white from Cos (€70). Unless you’d rather opt for a glass of sake (€6.50 to €12 for 70ml) or homemade kombucha (€6).
PRICE: Tasting menus €52, extra dishes €15, drink pairings (with or without alcohol) €32-42 (lunch), €70 and €115 (dinner, €95 Friday and Saturdays), pairings €42-50.

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