Journal

Ossip, Antwerp

Last Wednesday, myself and Louise (fellow graphic designer from my course, and fellow foreigner–she’s French) took the train to Antwerp to meet our friend Eva (Dutch) who lives and works in Antwerp. She works in a special restaurant called Ossip which is all about intense flavours and quality–sometimes obscure–ingredients paired with natural wines. We opted for the six course tasting menu. Each course was incredibly well considered, full of fascinating flavours, some familiar, some wholly unfamilar.

The meal consisted of three starters, a main dish, a cheese plate and finally dessert. As I’ve mentioned, I eat mostly, but not entirely, vegan food. My visit to Ossip was an occasion when I ate pescatarian rather than vegan.

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We spent more than four hours dining, drinking and chatting (mostly in French on this occasion). Wine seems to help my French somewhat… It was an incredible evening with two fellow food-lovers that I will treasure. There was a distinct flow to the service. It was relaxed, the atmosphere was mellow and cosy and every bite we ate was full of flavour. By the time it came to leave, we had to rush to make the last train back to Brussels. Louise and I ran to the station with six courses and several wines in our tummies, clutching little heart-shaped waffles that the owner had given us after the meal and we simply could not eat.

It’s been some time since I’ve eaten in such a nice restaurant, or since I’ve taken so much time over a meal. I couldn’t have appreciated it more. Ossip was due to close last Friday, which is why we went last Wednesday. The owner, a talented and charming woman is expecting a baby soon. It’s closed for the foreseeable future.

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image from www.bistronomie.be

During the meal I found myself eating two foods that I typically refuse to eat; mushrooms and black olive. I also tasted chestnut for the first time. There was parsley root for the second course, a parnsip-like vegetable I’d never before encountered. In the main course, there was bonito, a tuna-like fish which tasted divine. The dessert was a spiced cake with an Italian meringue. The wines tasted different from the conventional wines that I’m used to but given that I had an early start for a class in Technique Culinaire Salé the following morning, I was thankful for the lack of sulfites in the wine. No sulfites = no hangover. Natural wines are the way forward!

And Antwerp is beautiful!

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