Outside, the window was full of TripAdvisor and travel awards. But it wasn’t the boastful stickers that convinced us to step inside – it was the reputation.
Amadeus is the place to go for ribs – if the reviewers are to be believed. So much so that Belgium and in particular Ghent, have several of the restaurants in their vicinity. We were standing in front of the one in the Patershol – a quiet tangle of cobblestone streets by day and a trendy, foodie paradise by night.
The Patershol quarter is the medieval heart of the city of Ghent. Over the years, it has gone from off-limits to unattractive and most recently has become one of the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods.
The first thing we noticed as we pushed the door forward was how full the restaurant was and not just with people. A restaurant full of people is usually a good sign. A restaurant full of knickknacks has you chanting ‘you break it, you buy it’ under your breath.
“You break it, you buy it.”
We scooted to our chairs, without breaking anything but invading our neighbour’s dinner and prepared to order. We looked expectedly at the waiter when he arrived and he blinked back at us.
“Can we have the menu please?”
“There isn’t a menu. Well you can look at the display over there”, he retorted while gesturing off to the right.
If you have ever tried to untangle yourself from an economy airplane seat with the table down, then you can imagine what it was like getting out to look at the display that was made up of a selection of meat – ribs, steak and shrimp.
“We’ll take the ribs.”
There was no need for the waiter to write that part of our order down, nor the drinks part either as the selection that was rattled off at a fast pace was only slightly more extensive than the dinner options. The litre-and-a-half bottles of wine on the table are in fact for drinking, the contents of which are sold by the centimetre.
As I watched a huge plate of ribs complete with a baked potato and salad be thumped down on the table to my right, the person sitting across from me – the only one who had dared to try and make it to that side of the table – whispered in a voice 50% shock and 50% horror, “I think it is unlimited. That man is on his third portion and they are going around asking if anyone wants refills.”
It wasn’t long after that that our plates were also thumped down on the table. The baked potato covered in a nuclear orange herb butter topping clearly wasn’t the reason Amadeus receives awards, and the customer service is also probably not the deciding factor. But the soft and juicy ribs, with their ever present top up, make it well worth the effort of folding yourself up and sliding into the cramped restaurant – just make sure you know what you want before you arrive.
Address: Patershol-Plotersgracht 8/10, 9000, Ghent, Belgium
Telephone: +32 09 225 1385
Opening Times: Monday – Thursday: 6:30pm to 11pm; Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 6pm to 11:30pm