Zaiyu Hasegawa and his team from Jimbocho Den in Tokyo were in Brugge as guests of Gert de Mangeleer and Joachim Boudens for two four hands dinners between the teams of Den and Bistro L.E.S.S., the second restaurant of the successful Belgian duo of 3 Michelin star restaurant Hertog Jan.
Last year, Zaiyu Hasegawa had cooked at Hertog Jan in Zedelgem together with Hiroyasu Kawate chef of Florilège as well as Yusuke Takada from La Cime in Osaka while Gert de Mangeleer has often cooked in Japan including as guest of Zaiyu at his restaurant Den in Tokyo.
Gert de Mangeleer and Joachim Boudens returned back to the place where it all started in the former location of their three Michelin star restaurant which now houses their bistro L.E.S.S. operated by young chef Ruige Vermeire. For two evenings, Gert and Joachim cooked and led the front of house respectively together with the teams of L.E.S.S. and Den.
The restaurant will move to the centre of Brugge early next year. Joachim Boudens told Food and Wine Gazette that if all goes to plan, they should be able to open the new spot for Bistro L.E.S.S. in the centre of this idyllic Flemish city by February.
In December, their flagship restaurant Hertog Jan will close for good as they intend to focus on new concepts including a traditional Flemish restaurant. They will also open ‘Hertog Jan’ a few times during the year for very limited dinners serving around 12 guests.
Zaiyu Hasegawa is the chef of Restaurant Den which won bet restaurant in Japan this year. It is second in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list and 17th in the World’s 50 Best restaurants list. He loves to travel particularly to restaurants which focus on pure ingredients because he can learn to understand these ingredients that he might not have used before and learn from different chefs on how to cook and use these ingredients.
At Bistro L.E.S.S. he prepared a delightful Den Monaka (waffle) which was stuffed by the team at LESS and then created a Croquette Iberico with Kuzu. For his tapas, he made wrapped mackarel in beetroot and topped it with Hertog Jan garden flowers. He also brought his signature dish, the Dentucky Fried chicken which he served in a box on a bed of rosemary. A fun dish which packed lots of flavours.
After going foraging with Gert for porcini mushrooms a day earlier, the Japanese chef and his team prepared a Porcini soup with sauted mushrooms that was topped with an intense dashi that they prepared.
His Unagi or eel dish with rice was sensational. A take on the Belgian dish eel with green herbs, he cooked the eel in tempura before cooking it in a dashi and then served it on a bed of rice with green herbs. It was topped with a smoked radish which the DEN team brought with them. The radish had been smoked for 6 months.
Gert and the team at LESS served an Air Pistolet which was followed by Salmon to share, a porc and shrimp Dim Sum as well as the LESS Burger Marrakech Style which was served with hummus and pomegranate.
To accompany Zaiyu’s eel dish, Gert prepared grilled and glazed pork short rib with potatoes.
Zaiyu made a herbal dessert with red beans while to finish off the pastry team at LESS made a creamy chocolate tart with vanilla ice-cream.