Saturday, 19 April 2008
Bar Salon, Bruges
Rock-Fort and Bar Salon are congenitally conjoined at the kitchen and came with a hefty recommendation from our hosts, Freida and Benno at Absolut Verhlust - our BnB around the corner. Rockf-Fort is a contemporary, trendy restaurant with modern styling and a very hip menu. Unfortunately they couldn't squeeze us in so we went to Bar Salon, their high chaired bar next door. The menu is more tapas focused but you can also order from Rock-Fort's more substantial menu.
We arrived at 9 which is monumentally late by Bruges standards. In fact it compares with the Lake District in this respect. Everything shuts up shop at around 8pm. Bar Salon was buzzing and with a lively crowd sucking on cigarettes, sloshing back tall glasses of wine and wolfing back tapas tasting menus. Or more accurately the food on them.
We ordered a sharp bottle of white to cut across our beautifully marbled jamon iberico and complement our tuna tartare. My jamon was stunningly presented on a long white plate with the meat pillowing up like little waves. The fat to meat ratio was outrageously high - and good for it! The white lard was delicious and the star of the who.
Cowie's tuna tartare was delicious too- if a little healthier! It set us up perfectly for what turned out to be one of the best main courses we have had in a long time.
Cowie had an impeccably cooked fillet of sea bass which came with an assortment of foams and a vanilla cream. I had a whole pigeon cut into chunks and served with a sticky, meaty reduction. The flesh was barely cooked with wonderfully crispy skin. Perfect. It reminded us both of the Anjou Pigeon we once ate at Chez Bruce. It was so good I wanted it to carry on for ever.
We loved it and would recommend the Rock-Fort / Bar Salon combination to anyone looking for something between mussels and chips and the high end gastronomy of p(a)laces like De Karmeliet next door with its 300 Euro tasting menu!