The last of our eating places of a very high quality weekend was the surprise package. To borrow from Rumsfeld (who seems strangely less crazy than once he did, that’s the power of 2016) Mort Subite was a known known, Belga Queen was a known unknown and Den Turk was an unknown known. Mub’Art, however, was an unknown unknown since we hadn’t even known it was there before we went to the fine art museum in Ghent.
Well, the museum set us up for a fine lunch. I’m a pretty seasoned gallery goer but out of all the cities I’ve been to over the last few years Ghent has one of the finest. It has just the right amount of world class things (Bosch, Breughel, Rubens being the obvious ones) mixed with famous locals (Ensor, Spillaert) and then a whole raft of new to me things like the Belgian impressionists (on whom Seurat seems to have been a tremendous influence, among others).
Added to this you have an expertly curated room on the Dutch golden age which mixes championship quality painters (Hals and Maes apart) with period objects to contextualise the art that they produced.
And then the star of the piece, but catch it while you can, restoration of two panels from the van Eycks’ Ghent Altarpiece happening right before your very eyes. We had visited the original in situ in St. Bavo’s but had to rub up along people with audio guides and little genuine interest in the work beyond ticking off a list of things to do in Ghent. So finding an empty corridor from which to watch the craftspeople at work on sprucing up the knights was an unexpected treat.
So I was already well disposed to the museum when we took a punt on the restaurant. Museum restos are always a risk – too formal and they don’t work for the cross section of galley visitors. Too canteeny and you feel that you might as well have taken your own grub and eaten on a bench.
Mub’Art gets it just right. The food is seriously good cooking but with a popular price, while the service is friendly yet consistent with giving you the feeling that you’re definitely out for a meal. Attention to detail on the design of the room was also noticeable, in fact that was something that was true in most of the places we visited.
We took the set menu. Soup to start was a warm, thick chicory broth – quite filling! But not as filling as the chicken vol-au-vent which was a chicken on chicken attack of meatballs and stew with a dainty piece of pastry perched on top. Salad and chips alongside were beyond my compass but I manfully consumed the main event with relish.
A Rothschild Sauvignon at €27 was a bargain and the whole lot came in at under forty quid each, which isn’t cheap if you’re on a budget but is good value if you want a treat. It was the perfect end to an excellent trip.
#Food #Gent #Ghent
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2017 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).