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More often than not great restaurants are assumed to be overindulgent. Although I do enjoy such meals every now and then, I believe there’s something to be said about simplicity. A few weeks back I discovered Jef, a hidden gem restaurant in Brussels that manages to strike the balance between delicious flavours and simple ingredients in a brilliant way.

Hidden in the quiet part of the Marolles and just below the beautiful Sablon, Jef opened its doors back in November 2013 and has remained a well-kept secret amongst local foodies. My partner in crime and I arrived for dinner on a particularly quiet Friday evening and were in for a treat!

Our meal started off with an amuse bouche and a glass of rose from the wine list which comprises only natural wines, i.e. without chemicals, sourced from Titulus. Our very kind waiter explained that there’s a set dinner menu (starter, main course and dessert at €31) and a small list of à la carte dishes that change regularly according to the season. The cuisine is mostly Belgian and follows a simple recipe: fresh ingredients bought directly from small, local producers and cooked with care.

Since we wanted to try as many different things as possible, we went for the set menu (crayfish salad, onglet steak and chocolate mousse) and two options from the big blackboard, i.e. crayfish risotto with green asparagus and chicken with veggies and broth. Dish after dish it became clear that Jef is all about unpretentious, tasty food. The decor and whole ambiance is along the same lines: open kitchen, old floor tiles, wooden tables, a whole wall made of corks and a passionate chef sharing his love for food with his guests. Having said all that, quality comes at a price, so expect to pay around 60€ per person for a full meal, including a bottle of wine.

Address: Rue Haute 20, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 4373573

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Sandy (@smarksthespots)