BRUGES: If you are in Bruges on a Friday or Saturday during the pandemic, you would do well to visit BABU, the new pop-up bunner created by Gert de Mangeleer and Joachim Boudens.
On the t’Zand at L.E.S.S. Eatery, the duo behind the former three Michelin star restaurant Hertog Jan have been busy preparing a new concept that is set to open permanently in a city in Belgium when the lockdowns are over.
Despite one hand in a cast due to a mountain biking incident a few weeks ago, you can still find Gert preparing the ‘bunners’ as they are called.
It might be the first ‘bunner’ in the world to sit in a one Michelin star restaurant, at least momentarily.
“We want to learn the process, get feedback, use the data to gain insights for our permanent location.”
Babu is inspired by the creative and restless travelling mind of Gert de Mangeleer who together with Joachim Boudens are the creative minds behind the Hertog Jan *** Restaurant Group.
“We took inspiration from the steamed buns and after three years of trial and error we think that we have perfected the recipe to create these unique buns. They are a mix between the Asian steamed buns, the baked buns and the British butter like muffins.”
Gert explained that it was by mistake that they came up with the final bun. “We had been working on it, changing the recipe to have a creamy rich and flavourful taste. The result was good when it was steamed but it changed completely when we baked it by mistake. We were surprised with the result,” he said.
The bun is a soft, airy and fluffy that serves as the container for the three bunners on offer. For the time being, BABU is serving three bunners, the Brooklyn, the Brighton and the Beirut bunners. “We have got many more coming but for the time being we wanted to focus on perfecting the process,” Gert told Food and Wine Gazette.
Gert promised many more to come in future.
The Brooklyn bunner is made with grilled Angus Beef, cheddar, their secret bunner sauce, and lettuce
The Brighton bunner is made with crispy fried cod, lettuce and a green herb relish while the Beirut bunner has spicy Merguez with garlic sauce, feta cheese, young spinach and pomegranate.
They are served with triple cooked fries, stunning in their own right.
“We would have opened in February in a permanent location but hopefully we will be able to do so soon. For the moment we don’t name the location though their aim is to expand the concept across Belgium.”
Asked if he wanted to export the concept outside Belgium, Gert smiled and said “who knows what’s in store in future.”
Gert and Joachim said they wanted to create an accessible concept despite the fact that they retain focus on quality using the same suppliers as they have done for their restaurants Hertog Jan in the past and L.E.S.S. Eatery and Bar Bulot now.
The pop-up take-out store is open on Friday from 3pm till they are sold-out and on Saturday from noon till they are sold-out.
On the first Friday of the opening yesterday, many dropped in to pick up their bunners including included Belgian international and Bruges goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. By the evening all bunners were sold-out.
Joachim told Food and Wine Gazette it was good to be able to interact with customers albeit in a takeout mode. “It is a completely new experience for us. Despite the pandemic, it is good to have people walking in to order their bunners. We have also never worked with delivery platforms like Deliveroo and Uber Eats,” he said.
BABU: popping up at L.E.S.S. Eatery in T’Zand Bruges. Open on Friday from 3pm and on Saturday from 12pm.