It was with mixed emotions that we ventured into Brasserie Raymond in Brugge on a recent business trip. I say mixed as we had read some rather disparaging reviews in which the service and staff were described in less than stellar terms. However, since Raymond was recommended by the receptionist at our hotel, the Crowne Plaza, and the actual food reviews we had read were ‘excellent’, we figured, when in
Located just around the corner from the dreadful restaurants of The Markt, Brasserie Raymond is a welcome delight. With a true Brasserie feel to it, wonderful décor and an atmosphere to match, the restaurant is just what we’ve been looking for. It’s already bustling with early diners who have no doubt spent their day wandering around this beautiful and historic city.
Décor & attention to detail
Tables are beautifully set with simple white tablecloths, napkins, silver tableware and glassware, as well as tiny little pots filled with Rillettes, and butter. You definitely feel you’re walking into a restaurant with style and elegance when you walk into Raymond. Especially when compared to the majority of mediocre eateries of the surrounding area.
We are seated almost immediately and though I admit at first I found the waiter to be a little indifferent towards us, once we showed our passion for the contents of the menu and requested his expertise with regard to the wine list, things started to ‘warm-up’ nicely. ‘A very good choice sir’, says our waiter, speaking of the Château Labégorce Zédé Cru Bourgeois Margaux 2010 that we order, ‘a very good wine’, he enthuses!
Already we can see the deliciousness that’s being served up to guests either side of us and feel we’ve quite possibly found what will become one of the favourite restaurants in Brugge.
Brasserie Raymond menu
To accompany the wine we select the following from the appetiser menu: Tomato salad for me, something light so I can delve into something heavier for my main course, and Burgundian Escargot for my partner. There’s no choice for us when it comes to the main course, it simply has to be the Chateaubriand that’s accompanied by seasonal vegetables, and French fries. To accompany the meat, we select one peppercorn and one mushroom sauce!
There is a short wait for our appetisers but since we’ve tucking into the fresh and tasty bread that accompanies the Rillettes, it’s not a problem for us. It’s fun to just sit back and be waited on, enjoy the atmosphere, and watch other diners as they participate in friendly banter and indulge in some really great food!
Once they arrive there’s no holding back, the tomato salad is probably the best I’ve ever eaten. Delicate flavours accentuated with a light dressing that doesn’t overpower the sweet and fresh tomatoes. The Escargot are served with mushrooms, a fabulous combination – very tender, with a slightly earthy edge to them. Would definitely order both these flavourful dishes again. Most enjoyable.
The main course
As the main event head towards our table, I can already see that there’s just no way I am going to be able to finish it. A huge plank of Chateaubriand that’s partially sliced by our waiter once it’s placed on the table is surrounded by green and tender looking seasonal vegetables. They in fact cooked to perfection, still with that fresh bite to them, and the fries are…. well…. great French fries. Our preference for the sauce is definitely the peppercorn, but it is good to have something to compare it to. The steak is tender, juicy and cooked exactly as we like it, though for me the centre was a little too ‘blue’, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. We are joyfully stuffed to the gills by meals end, and actually don’t manage to finish the last few pieces of meat as it’s just too much! Though somehow we do manage to squeeze in a small dessert of homemade vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce and cream…. between us of course! You can really taste the vanilla in the ice cream, vanilla beans and all!
Gin & tonic
My partner ends the evening with a gin & tonic and some dessert biscuits. He is fairly fussy when it comes to a good G&T and well, quite critical! Apparently, this was an easy challenge for the bartender at Brasserie Raymond, in no time at all a gin and tonic made from Copperhead gin, and Fevertree tonic with a zest of lime arrives at the table with a large chunk of ice that seems to be fused to the bottom of the glass. My partner believes this is one of the best gin and tonics he has tasted.
So, what’s our take on Brasserie Raymond? We give it 4 ½ stars. They offer a variety of traditional and unique French dishes made from quality produce, and cooked beautifully. The wine list, especially the selection of reds, is extensive, and from the choice we made, it really was a very good one, so much so that the waiter gave us the address of the wine cellar they buy from and we popped along the next morning to purchase a few bottles before heading back home.
We’ll definitely be adding Brasserie Raymond to our list of Top 10 restaurants to visit in Brugge next time we’re in town.
How to find Brasserie Raymond
Brasserie Raymond is located in the heart of Brugge just of the main market square (The Markt) with the famous belfry of Bruges (Belfort). The address is:
Tel: +32 50 33 78 48