Antwerp was cold with intermittent rain the day we arrived. We managed a little exploration of the city by foot (including a brief visit to The Chocolate Line shop) but, after a bit of walking, we were happy to find a warm, dry taxi, even if it was driven by a fellow who seemed to have a personal antipathy toward bathing.
The stinky driver let us off a couple of blocks from the restaurant, which was as close as he could get, just as the rain intensified. We sheltered under an awning for about ten minutes until the shower abated a bit and finally made it to the unmarked door of the restaurant.
Our arrival at The Jane (click here to see their web site) did not seem especially auspicious, but we were quickly seated and ordered drinks and lunch while trying to absorb the incredible decor of the restaurant.
The curse of difficult beginnings was not yet done with us, however, as the first two courses arrived almost simultaneously. A waiter said something about the courses showing good timing and pace, but obviously there were two courses on the table at once and things started off seeming a little rushed.
Fortunately, our drinks (a very dry gin martini with lemon, served extremely cold with a small piece of dry ice bubbling in the bottle, and a delicious gin and tonic) were very relaxing. I am happy to report, the service was flawless from that point on. Glancing at the kitchen area showed the wait staff hustling but, around the table, they created a zone of serenity that let us focus on the food. The first course, or maybe I should say course 1a, was a sardine in an escabeche.
There were two wine pairings offered to accompany the tasting menu. We chose what was represented as the better of the two because, honestly, who is going to cavil at an additional 20 euros when one is already spending so much on what will very likely be a once in a lifetime lunch.
Presentation tended to focus attention on the food. The dishes were very attractively shown, but were not over the top, which I appreciated. Sauces were generally added at the table, which seemed to give a heightened appreciation.
Service, as noted above, was excellent aside from a minor hiccup at the start. The numerous staff who took turns serving us maintained (with arguably one exception) a good balance between professional service and friendliness.
Overall, we had a wonderful lunch. It was an experience I would gladly repeat.
The Jane has been awarded a second Michelin star. The World’s 50 Best 2017 restaurant list places The Jane at number 74 world wide. (Curiously, the 2016 list had it at 54. I don’t know the reason for the precipitous drop.) The Jane was not listed in the top 100 on either the Elite Traveler or La Liste top 2017 world restaurant compilations.
There are two other blog posts about dining at The Jane. If you are interested in reading more or seeing more pictures, you may do so by clicking either here, or here. These are the two blog posts I have found. If you have a post about this restaurant, please let me know. I would love to read it!