If you are a Belgian gastronomy connoisseur, then this name will immediately ring a bell.
And rightfully so.
This place is epic.
Epic for serving impeccable classic Belgian food for decades.
And its specialty: fresh eel.
The best eel in Belgium perhaps?
Last year, we had friends from France visiting Belgium.
And they definitely want to see Bruges.
We decide to stay there for 3 days, but it’s been a while since we were there ourselves.
So we need to go check it out first.
We hop into our car one fine morning.
Bruges is a one hour drive away from Antwerp.
Let’s grab a bite to eat somewhere before we get there.
We paid for our lunch in Siphon Damme and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.
We booked a table here online the day before.
Glad we did because the place is packed, as usual.
It is mid July, the weather is lush so we pick a table outside in the shade.
The waitress brings us bread and butter, 2 heavy menus and takes our orders for drinks.
Bruges is still a 15 minute drive away, I decide to stick to a 1 litre bottle of water (6,6 euros). Luc goes for a refreshing beer, the Blinker saison (3,80 euros). Siphon Damme brews his own beers here in its very own microbrewery called Siphon Brewing.
Siphon Damme works in shifts.
Two lunch shifts from 11:30am until 1pm and from 1pm until 14:30pm.
We got here at 11:30am sharp, let’s see if service and kitchen can do this in 90 minutes!
Buckle up, we are starving.
We already know what we want for lunch, we looked at the menu online the day before.
But reading it is just such a pleasure.
Just things you don’t see on a menu that often nowadays.
Classics, old fashioned delicacies, we can’t get enough of it.
Cold and warm starters from 6 to 20 euros, such as smoked eel on toast, brown shrimp salad, cheese croquettes, shrimp croquettes, homemade paté, ham omelet, lobster bisque…
Fish and meat mains cost between 14 and 45 euros and they sound just as exciting: classic roast chicken with lettuce and fries, steak tartare, pork entrecote grilled over a wood fire, sole meunière, eel, fresh brown shrimp.
The wine list is a mixture of very affordable to very expensive wines.
You already have a bunch of wine bottles between 20 and 30 euros.
Starters are on our table not even 10 minutes later.
Omelet with fresh brown shrimp (11 euros) and jellied eel (8,9 euros).
Gooey fresh omelet topped off with a handful of freshly peeled brown shrimp.
Tell us where you can still find this classic around here, we have no idea.
The omelet is perfect, creamy and rich. The shrimp are so delicate, so crisp and meaty and juicy. Sweet and salty at the same time.
What an elegant starter.
Let’s move on to the jellied eels.
The wobbly timbale in the middle of the plate looks intriguing. You can clearly see big chunks of fish in the brownish jelly. And yes, that portion of eel is quite copious we realise in the end!
The eel is soft and meaty, the jelly is full of flavor. We taste a strong broth, lemon juice, thyme and coriander seeds.
Another old fashioned starter that we highly recommend!
Main course: eel in green sauce
Siphon Damme is a family owned restaurant that serves fresh eel for over 4 generations now.
So why come here if you don’t choose the eel, right?
We both order eel, prepared in a different way.
I picked the eel in green sauce (29,50 euros), also known as paling in ‘t groen in Flemish or aiguilles au vert in French.
You just can’t get more classic that this.
The waitress ladles a portion of eel in green sauce on my plate, the rest of the bowl is put on our table.
If we thought that the jellied eel was copious, what should we call this then?
The eel is succulent, tender, so soft and silky.
Traditionally in this green sauce go fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, sorrel and chervil just to name a few. This green sauce is again very well seasoned, backed up by a good broth.
It has been thickened very lightly with some type of starch.
With the eel comes a large portion of freshly baked golden Belgian fries.
Main course: eel meunière
So what type of eel main did Luc choose earlier on?
The eel meunière (28,50 euros), lightly floured fresh eel pan fried in butter.
With it comes a wedge of lemon and a small bowl of tartar sauce.
Same for Luc here: the waitress scoops a portion of the eel onto his plates, the rest of the eel meunière stays on a serving plate on our table.
What can we say?
This eel meunière is again perfection.
Just the way we like it.
And no, it doesn’t need a drizzle of lemon juice on top. That would kill the delicate eel flavor.
Super fresh eel, perfectly seasoned. The tartar sauce is delicious as well, chunky and zippy. Is it homemade? We think so, Luc says this tartar sauce reminds him of his grandmother who used to make it exactly like this one here in Siphon Damme. With crumbled hard boiled egg in it!
Lip smacking eel meunière, what a feast!
Would we go back to restaurant Siphon Damme?
Is that even a question?
Of course we will be going back to Siphon Damme, the pleasure’s all ours!
Our lunch was impeccable, generous portions, perfect execution, the freshest ingredients.
And yes, the kitchen and waiting staff was definitely able to deliver this all in under 90 minutes.
The place was absolutely packed.
We sat outside and saw a constant stream of posh cars and oldtimers drive by. People trying their luck and ask if there was still a free table, to no avail. Book in advance, you really have to here.
In the end the owners’ son came over to every table for a quick chat to see if everything was fine. Over half of the people were clearly returning customers. And that doesn’t surprise us in the least.
We were so stuffed that we didn’t go for dessert, a cup of very good coffee is what we ended this fabulous lunch with.
We paid a total of 93,10 euros in the end.
Every euro well spent and worth it.
Would we recommend restaurant Siphon Damme?
Without a doubt.
If you are in the Bruges area, Siphon Damme is worth a detour.
Keep in mind that Siphon Damme is open for lunch, afternoon coffee and dinner on weekdays and is unfortunately closed on weekends.
Damse Vaart-Oost 1
T. +32 50 62 02 02
Open for lunch, afternoon coffee and dinner on weekdays, closed on weekends.
Reservation is highly recommended.
We paid for this lunch in Siphon Damme and didn’t get or ask anything in return for this review.