Nick Bril

Ambassador of GOESTING

Nick Bril - portret
Nick Bril
Restaurant The Jane

Nick Bril

“When I’m serving up music to thousands of people at Tomorrowland, I’m actually doing the exact same thing as in The Jane’s kitchen; giving the very best of myself to create moments of pure joy.” Besides his culinary career, which has gained him two stars, Nick Bril also has a successful career as a DJ. He plays forty to fifty sets a year at major festivals in Belgium and abroad.

“Music keeps me healthy. It calms my thoughts, which are otherwise always running at full tilt.” As he tells his story, two new pieces of art are being installed in the former chapel that houses his restaurant.

“In the niches that traditionally contain statues of Mary and Jesus, a striking piece is being installed: a soldier and cross on one side and a pregnant nun on the other. It is a nod to the place’s history. This was once a military hospital where, if rumour can be believed, soldiers and nuns occasionally dared to meet clandestinely (laughs).”

Bril considers art an important part of the experience at his restaurant: “I play with art, design, hospitality, food and drink to create an all-encompassing experience. People come here to escape for a bit, to forget their daily lives and immerse themselves in my universe.”

Nick Bril

Quality over quantity

"To me, that openness reflects our region’s history. We have always been affected by what’s going on in the world around us. I cherish that openness."

The Jane’s tasting menu consists mainly of fish and seafood, an ode to the North Sea near to where the chef grew up. “Right now I have some lovely oysters, brill, cockles and squid, all caught in our waters.” As for meat, he’s decided only to work with those parts of the pig or cow that are generally considered unrefined. “With enough time and care, you can create wonderful dishes from offal or neck meat.” He is also enthusiastic about local game. “Our menu currently offers venison from fallow deer. Because of the enormous overpopulation of these deer, hunting them is permitted. It’s fantastic meat with low carbon emissions.” Bril’s team grow all their herbs themselves nearby, at a rooftop garden on PAKT’s site. “We also have some fantastic small-scale farmers in the area. They go for quality over quantity, and you can taste it. Oogstappel farmers supply me with wonderful apples and pears in season, for instance. They have 270 tall heritage fruit trees in their orchard that produce the most interesting fruit.” Nor does Bril shy away from the use of classic ingredients in his dishes such as chocolate and beer. “I always serve a dessert with chocolate, as a tribute to our chocolatiers’ craftsmanship. I’ve recently started using Belgian butter, from a young man who churns his own, top-notch butter. The great thing about these times is that you can simply find such craftspeople on social media. There’s no need to venture out in search of exceptional producers. One Instagram message is enough to get me fantastically delicious butter.”

From ultra-local to world class

The ingredients may be ultra-local, but his style certainly isn’t. “To create exciting food using local products, I draw inspiration from all over the world. Japan and Scandinavia inspire me to add light, fresh notes to our rich cuisine. I also use the molecular influences from Spanish cuisine. To me, that openness reflects our region’s history. We have always been affected by what’s going on in the world around us. I cherish that openness.”

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