Whenever we decide to do a day trip from Brussels, the first thing I plan for is lunch – where to eat it, that is. And this excursion to Bruges was no exception. On our last visit there we discovered the Tanners’ Guildhouse Restaurant which turned out to be a lovely spot for a traditional Belgian lunch. But this time around we wanted something different to the classic Flemish eateries catering largely for tourists.
My search led me to a restaurant called Hashtag Food, whose name immediately caught my attention. Offering soups, salads and burgers, on first glance the menu didn’t seem like anything exciting. But then the soup menu jumped out at me with a selection that included “Purple Rain”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Controversy” and “Dirty Mind”. All the soups were named after Prince songs! And every other section also took its inspiration from a music star: soups by Prince, tapas by Elvis Presley (Jailhouse Rock lamb balls and Burning Love hummus), quiche by Justin Timberlake (Suit & Tie with leek and bacon, or Sexy Back with peppers, tomato and wild garlic), and even a section dedicated to insect burgers with 20% mealworms and grasshoppers by David Bowie (Life on Mars and Rebel Rebel). The music theme continued to the table, where old vinyl records were used as placemats.
I ordered one of the Lana Del Ray-inspired beef burgers, the “Honeymoon”, with goats cheese, apple and thyme honey. The burger arrived with a side salad that could have easily been a meal in itself. An artfully presented melange of salad greens, flower petals, fig and nuts, with some beautiful fruits as well. Even the ketchup and mayo was served in the shape of a heart. I washed all this down with one of their homemade lemonades.
The # Food philosophy is all about tasty comfort food. Everything, from the seasoned popcorn served with our drinks to the mini cupcakes that came with our bill, is homemade, and the menu changes regularly. They take so much pride in the thought put into their dishes and flavour combinations that any requests for changes or substitutes come at a cost of 99 euros (this charge is listed as a menu item, but doesn’t apply to changes requested for allergies or religious reasons). I was a little taken aback at first, but admired the pride and belief they place in the food that they are serving. And by the time my empty plate was cleared from the table, I couldn’t really blame them – if my spectacular burger is anything to go by, #Food seems to know what they are doing!
A large giraffe will welcome you as you enter the doors of this restaurant – don’t question it, just go along for the ride. This quirky welcome gives way to an equally quirky interior with a bright orange theme, including an orange SMEG fridge in one corner and a range of random retro items on the shelves including books and games that visitors are welcome to use. When I saw that we would be eating off used 12-inch records, I couldn’t wait to place my order.
After browsing through the extensive (and entertaining!) menu I finally settled on a Massive Attack fish burger called “Unfinished Symphony” which had a salmon, redfish and herb patty, horse raddish, homemade tartare sauce and cucumber in a multigrain bun with a side of “tasty” salad.
When our giant plates of food came out of the kitchen all eyes in the completely full restaurant widened as they turned to our waiter. The dishes were massive. The burgers were an above average size but the real hero of the dishes were the beautifully constructed salads. I usually don’t take any notice of greens, but I’ve never seen a side salad look this good before. Mine had beans, spring onions, fresh tomato and some edible flowers. I not only finished the entire salad (a first for me!), I also absolutely loved it.
The burger was just as good. The patty was so delicious, I could really taste the salmon and dill and the homemade tartare sauce was to die for. It’s not often you stumble on a restaurant that puts so much thought into every aspect of what they do – from the food that they serve, to the presentation of the menu, to the personal touches and the welcoming atmosphere. I didn’t want to leave. But as our table was quickly filled by new diners who had been waiting for a space to free up, I felt it was only fair that someone else should get to discover the experience that is #Food.
Oude Burg 30, 8000 Bruges