Liefmans beer and bites evening at The Jane in Antwerp

Last week we were invited by brewery Liefmans and The Jane restaurant in Antwerp for an evening of beer and bites tasting. The event took place in the Upperroom Bar of The Jane in the presence of the chef-owners Sergio Herman and Nick Bril, their topbarman Paul Morel, the beer sommelier Nicolas Soenen and Marc Coussens of brewery Liefmans. Special guest of the evening was the 90-year old Rosa Merckx who outshone us all in glamour and style. I had already had the honour of meeting this grande dame of the Belgian beer world earlier this year at the 'women and beer' event in Brussels and was again so impressed by her. Rosa Merckx is Belgium's first female beermaster and introduced the famous cherry beer on the market. Our first beer of the evening was the Liefmans Kriek, how special was it to drink this in her presence.

photographer Rob Mitchell

photographer Rob Mitchell
photographer Rob Mitchell

The design of The Jane is one of the coolest I have ever seen. They have managed to renovate an old chapel into a cosy, loungy, hip hotel style place with a 12-meter wide majestic chandelier as eye-catcher. The Jane has been a great success from the day it opened in March this year and to make a reservation you need to book your visit three months in advance. I can only say it is more than worth the wait! The Michelin star they received this week is the proof of the pudding
The restaurant also has an Upperroom bar, with live dj sets on weekends and here comes the great news: in the evenings you can pop in the bar without reservations for drinks and cocktails with some delish bites. The cocktail list is one of the best you find in Belgium and the wine list can impress any wine lover. The beer list has a touch of exclusivity that we tasted that evening: the Liefmans Kriek 2005 and Liefmans Goudenband 2004 are specially kept in the basement of Brewery Liefmans and exclusively served at The Jane. As for the bites, wow, Nick Bril and Sergio Herman showed us again what kitchen wizards they are. 

photographer Rob Mitchell
We kicked off with a mackerel and fresh veggies bite. The mackerel melted on the tongue and was accompanied by the exceptional Liefmans Kriek 2005.

This was soon followed by the caramel flavours of the Winterkoninck - a beer that arrives on the same day as Winter Time . The ruby red beer was perfectly complemented with homemade paté and pickled beets. 

The Vedett IPA (Indian Pale Ale, but not really from India and not really a Pale Ale) has only been on the market since March this year. The fruity undertone of the beer worked well with the delicate curry-flavoured cockle bite.

The Liefmans Goudenband 2004 is served exclusively at the Jane and proved us that beer can age beautifully too. 
The next bite just made us all speechless: Chinese Bak Kut Teh, crispy pork belly in a spiced broth. Surrounded by food critics and beer journalists, who had been giving their honest opinion on the tasting the whole evening, we all fell silent by such magnificent flavours. Something moved on my 'best food ever' list that evening and the Bak Kut Teh from The Jane made its heavenly entrance. I must, must, must go back and try it again, it is one of the most out of worldly dishes I ever had.

Still a bit dazed by this flavour experience we were handed the dessert and 'dessert' beer cocktail, a special creation by head barman Paul Morel. A mix of Duvel Triple Hop beer, Middle Eastern spices and passion fruit juice, decorated with delicate flowers in a crystal 'coupe' galss. How gracious beer can be!

photographer Rob Mitchell
photographer Rob Mitchell
photographer Rob Mitchell
photographer Rob Mitchell
photographer Rob Mitchell

The Jane 
Restaurant and Upperroom Bar
Site 't Groen Kwartier
Paradeplein 1
2018 Antwerp
website
Closed on Sun and Mon

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