Following four successful years in the Dutch town of Cadzand, Sergio Herman’s celebrated restaurant concept, Blueness, has made its way to Belgium. Located in the city’s chic fashion district inside a historic 17th-century building, Blueness Antwerp is aiming to be all at once modern and traditional, with a focus on fusion cuisine in a glamorous setting.
A joint venture between Sergio Herman and the esteemed Dheedene fashion family, Blueness Antwerp is aiming to build on the reputation already garnered in Cadznad and position itself as a bridge between fine cuisine and high fashion. “We have completely redesigned the concept of Blueness,” says Herman. “It is contemporary and refined and its thoroughly cosmopolitan character expresses itself fully at this location.”
With the weight of Herman’s celebrated restaurant group behind it and an enviably cool design, there is little doubt that Blueness is on the right track to becoming a new classic in one of Europe’s chicest cities.
Sergio Herman has been credited with creating one of the most influential restaurant brands in Europe, with a host of Michelin-starred spots falling under his eponymous group. His career began in his family’s Oud Sluis restaurant, which racked up an impressive three Michelin stars under his lead. Despite the now-closed restaurant’s success, Herman eventually decided to focus on pursuing a collective of restaurants instead of focusing his efforts on just one destination; his group now has seven concepts under its name.
However, while Herman is the name behind the newest Blueness opening, he has entrusted the ruling of the kitchen to chef Jaclyn Kong, whose resume includes the likes of Oud Sluis and the two-Michelin-starred The Jane.
Having also worked under the Sergio Herman brand at his two-Michelin-starred Pure C, Kong is more than familiar with the chef’s signature brand of casual fine dining, however, Blueness Antwerp will give her the opportunity to blend her own unique style into the restaurant. Working alongside Kong will be the restaurant’s maître d’ and fellow Oud Sluis and The Jane alumni, Dorine van den Eynde.
Like its sister restaurant in the Netherlands, Blueness Antwerp specializes in Japanese-inspired flavors and dishes delivered through a classic French lens, with a focus on local ingredients.
In line with the restaurant’s casual fine dining vibe, the main focus here is on the a la carte menu, where guests can choose from one of the carefully crafted crudo appetizers paired with an aperitif, before diving into the main menu. For larger groups, there is also a fixed four-course set menu, complete with a selection of Blueness signature dishes.
Signature dishes are a combination of Blueness classics and new favorites by chef Kong. Choose between succulent Miso chicken from the Robata grill, and Langoustines with dashi beurre blanc and cauliflower, or Ikejime Hamachi with buckwheat soba and zesty seabuckthorn.
There are also some delectable larger sharing plates, including the melt-in-your-mouth seared Ito Wagyu steak. Sides are no mere afterthought either, with dishes such as Miso eggplant and Pomme Dauphine acting as perfect accompaniments.
Rounding the offering off is a selection of intriguing and creative desserts, including a Blueness favorite, the Classic Matcha Dame Blanche, featuring matcha ice cream, vanilla ice cream, chocolate feuilletine and chocolate sauce, all topped with an elegant swirl of glitzy gold leaf.
Ultra-trendy Danish design studio Space Copenhagen, which counts London’s The Stratford Hotel, Copenhagen’s incomparable Noma and 11 Howard Hotel in New York in its list of previous projects, was enlisted to imagine Blueness Antwerp’s interiors.
Aiming to create an intimate setting that still retains that all-important buzz, Space Copenhagen blended modern touches with more traditional design principles. For example, a curved metal wait station that sits in the heart of the restaurant is highlighted by a low-hanging candle-lit chandelier; sand-colored dining chairs and minimal oak tables sit alongside an ornately carved fireplace.
Art forms an integral part of Space Copenhagen’s design too, with the team working closely with celebrated artists to curate a display that matched both the cuisine and the atmosphere. Works include four custom pieces by Germans Ermičs and bespoke drapes by Mae Englegeer.
“An important driving element in the design process was the dialogue between the rich history of the 17th century Renaissance building and the contemporary creations of the different artists,” said Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou, founders of Space Copenhagen.
“The interior of Blueness Antwerp takes its guest on a tasteful and surprising journey within an eclectic atmosphere. In the kitchen Japanese influences rub elbows with modern French cuisine; while in the restaurant classical interior architecture is infused with a twist of modern Scandinavia.”
Blueness Antwerp, Lange Gasthuisstraat 11, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium, blueness.com