The Jane

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  • Visit Date: 15th July 2022
  • Restaurant: The Jane
  • Address: Paradeplein 1, 2018, Antwerp
  • Telephone: +32 38 08 44 65

From the moment I stood in front of this astonishingly gorgeous building, I knew that I was about to embark on a pretty special time ahead. The building used to be a military hospital and the restaurant is set in what would have been the former chapel. Upon my entering The Jane, there are terrace areas to the left and right which must be so very lovely to enjoy a pre-dinner drink at, rain or shine. I ventured upstairs to where there is a bar area too, in order to look out and over into the restaurant and achieve these shots below.

Wow. The most breathtaking building inside as well. The gorgeous stained glass windows, which I am sure have plenty of meaning behind each image, and just all of the layout and design are stunning. A glass box kitchen is at one end of the dining area, and another for service at the other. It’s different and beautiful.

Every dish was just excellent. So much flavour, incredible ingredients, and a very good wine pairing. The service is flawless. Much like my visit to Frantzén, it was like watching a ballet, everyone working in perfect synchronicity in such a natural way.

No stone was left unturned here. Every little detail thought of. From ‘The Jane’ branded trainers the girls wore; as part of their gorgeous uniforms, to the herbs grown in their rooftop garden, to the focus on sustainability which is abundantly clear throughout each dish, and even the lemon and hot water bowl provided for the pigeon dish, giving you permission to go for it, and use your hands to enjoy the leg, which of course I did.

The sauces were banging, I don’t think I have ever said that about a sauce ever before, and most of the time I am not a huge sauce fan, I find many of them too rich. Not here. Three sauces stood out in a league of their own, a rhubarb and vanilla one with the langoustine, an insane dashi butter one with the hamachi, and then with the sea bass, a sesame sauce with black sepia ink. Oh my God. Each one was just as delicious as the next. I then fully understood why they brought out a gravy boat with extra sauce for each dish, because I am sure everyone must always ask for more. The sea bass dish was immense, the fish cooked on charcoal, yakitori style, on a bed of a tagliatelle of sepia, with white miso, and of course that insane sauce. I found myself taking spoonfuls of the sesame and sepia ink sauce to enjoy on its own and had to force myself to stop.

I loved every dish. A stand out was the mackerel, pickled in yuzu and salt, with its play on sushi vibes and fresh wasabi, it was just perfect. The hamachi, which had dry aged for three weeks at The Jane,  I adored this so much, it has made it to my top ten favourite dishes list of this year for sure, that sauce…..blew my mind. I also really enjoyed the pigeon dish, and a nice touch with the knife that was attached to a magnetised block too.

Others I loved were the smoked butter with beer bread, so very good, and the oyster with tuna tartar, caviar and bread miso. Just unreal.

Everything was just so light and every ingredient speaking for itself and working in harmony, much like the service and team. The wines were equally beautiful and as always I have to pace myself with a pairing otherwise my photography starts to wane the more I drink. It’s also become a signature of mine over the years to end up with my wine glass semi circle, to go back and enjoy the ones I love most at the end.

The downstairs bathrooms deserve a mention for the Japanese toilets alone, which are always a lot of fun.

I absolutely adored my time at The Jane and will most certainly return. The soundtrack playing of course is all Nick Bril and although I wanted so badly to see him do a set when he then came to London, I just didn’t get a chance but it’s on my list to make sure that happens at a later date.

I also interviewed Nick when there, for our all new mymuybueno Chefs Get Personal podcast which launches this autumn, and when broadcast, it will be linked in with this visit too.

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