The Gent Tourist Information Office (Informatie Toerisme) has a very helpful leaflet listing restaurants & cafes/bars recommended by local people (Gentenaars) themselves. It was this that pointed us at the historic Patershol district immediately north of Kraanlei - & 't Klaverblad (The Cloverleaf) was certainly a lucky choice for us.
Despite it being a Friday night - eating-out day - our vivacious & welcoming hostess said she could squeeze us in, if we didn't mind not staying much over 2 hours. 'Well', we thought, 'that'd probably do us quite nicely', & down we sat in the tiny restaurant, with its homely, domestic-style sideboard & a glass-fronted display cabinet full of an incredible array of whiskies & spirits.
We had the 29 Euro set menu (don't argue, just do it, OK?), which in early June heavily featured new season white asparagus - yum! Here's the restaurant's website - http://www.freewebs.com/tklaverblad/menutklaverblad.htm - so you can see for yourself - but you'll either need a reasonable bilingual dictionary or to visit it using the Google Chrome browser, to avail yourself of the Google Translate facility, 'cos it's in Flemish/Dutch (Vlaamse/Nederlands).
At the restaurant there's no problem of course - the hostess gives you an English language translation & description of the food - though she'll appreciate it if she sees you working some of it out for yourself with the aid of your pocket dictionary (of which, more later).
I won't bore you with the details of exactly what we chose, but believe me, you could pick any combination off the set menu & be well satisfied. Oh & you get a complimentary house starter over & above your menu choices - & it's one that you'd have been more than pleased with if you'd had to pay for it separately. A word to the wise though - at least one of your party should pay the extra 3 Euros & have the fabulous cheese selection - there's more than enough to share.
Are you getting the idea that we liked this place yet? OK, so they don't offer tap-water, but this is a very minor point compared to all the pluses. There's plenty of other stuff that comes in bottles, particularly if you have no ethical/health objection to drinking alcohol. Our advice? Go for the Belgian beer - even if you think you don't like beer, there's something sweet enough for you.
I said that I'd tell you later how we know that the patroness appreciates non-Dutch/Flemish visitors who make an effort with the language. I'm a bit of a boy-linguist & love playing with the language of any place I visit. Knowing some German helped, admittedly, but I could construct simple sentences word-by-word using the dictionary & make roughly the right noises when saying them.
I was therefore able to praise each (equally praiseworthy) course of the meal, ask for some more 'broodjes en boter' (bread-rolls & butter) or 'bier', say 'dank u wel' (thanks a lot) & 'alstublieft' (please) & call for the 'rekening' (the bill) in something approximating Dutch. My wife was equally positive & polite in English.
Several days later we happened to visit a small, town-square cafe at a time when the hostess from t' Klaverblad was relaxing there with a drink & a novel. We ordered our coffees, only to be told by the waiter when he brought them to us that they were already paid for, 'with the compliments of the hostess of t' Klaverblad'. She turned & waved to us as he said it. Same thing happened when I tried to pay for a local-style lemon liqueur, a 'Gentser Roomer' - no matter how much I tried to pay my 3 Euros, Vrouw 't Klaverblad was having none of it.
Obviously, I said thanks from both of us. She said that we'd been very courteous guests & that it was nice when someone made an effort with the language. I showed her my dictionaries & phrasebook, which I described with a dictionary word or two as 'mijne werktuigs' ('my tools') for a visit to Flanders - this also went down well.
I can't promise you that you'll be stood coffees by the hostess. I CAN confidently assure you that you'll feel very at home when you arrive & very comfortably full when you finally waddle out of the door.
I'm with the overwhelming majority of Tripadvisor reviewers on this - it's a great place (Oh, & I assure you that this review is quite spontaneous & is totally unsolicited - I'd have raved about it anyway, the coffees were just one more bit of evidence of genuine Gent hospitality & I'm writing this back home in London without the opportunity to gain anything from showing it to our hostess.) Just go to the place, why don't you!
Hope you do get to 't Klaverblad. Just think of me feeling jealous when you do.
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