I know … we all watched the inauguration last evening. Which is why I thought some happy news about our latest restaurant discovery (Humphrey) and our latest immersion into cocktail making (Johnnie Walker) will cheer us all up. Because, without getting into politics, we need a drink a whisky cocktail never hurt nobody. 

our lunch together with @johnniewalker_ @ Humphrey #restaurant in #Brussels

Humphrey. We heard and read a lot about this restaurant. Unfortunately (although this really is a very lame excuse) the restaurant is located just a tiny bit outside our usual dining perimeter. Yes, we have become somewhat lazy lately. Which is why the invitation to attend the Johnnie Walker Blender’s Batch lunch was just the kick in the * I needed! 

Humphrey was everything I expected it to be! A little bit of New York right in the heart of Brussels. Not surprising, as the restaurant is located on the premises of the PIAS recording company and anything that brings food and music together is a winning combination in my book. Make that food and music and film, as the restaurant’s name comes from the classic Casablanca‘, starring Humphrey Bogart. (I must get back into watching classics …).

The industrial open space design add to the cool NY vibe and the fact that Chef Yannick Van Aeken worked under Rene Redzepi at Noma, only reinforces the cosmopolitan feel. Pretty much my kind of restaurant on every. single. level. 

But let me tell you about the food at Humphrey. Being a Johnnie Walker Blenders Batch inspired lunch, every dish we tasted had a touch of whiskey in it. We started with the fresh ceviche based on Blender’s Batch. Trust me I could have lunched on that dish alone! This was followed by black pudding with red beets and pomegranate. Which looked fantastic … except for the fact I really don’t like black pudding (but give me white pudding every day). Both dishes though were served alongside a red rye and ginger cocktail which I must admit went down very well. Hello

our lunch together with @johnniewalker_ @ Humphrey #restaurant in #Brussels


our lunch together with @johnniewalker_ @ Humphrey #restaurant in #Brussels

Oysters and brussels sprouts followed which again my fellow diner l-o-v-e-d. However, being a purist, I am more often than not put off by warm oysters so guess what? I took a photo (obviously!) and had another cocktail – this time the red rye and cider. 

our lunch together with @johnniewalker_ @ Humphrey #restaurant in #Brussels

The piece de resistance was without a doubt the main course. Oh. My. God. This where the Johnnie Walker Blenders Batch came totally into its own. We were served the most ah-mazing smoked beef ribs infused with whisky. And with a plenty of sides – coriander, crispy onions, hot chillies, cucumbers, you name it. An absolutely fantastic dish which, unlike the previous dishes, was also served to be shared. Trust me, as soon as I get my hands on the recipe this is a dish I will be making at home for Sunday lunch.

We finished the lunch with a whiskey Christmas pudding which was great but between you and me, I am not sure my English mother-in-law would have approved of (a teeny weeny bit too boozy).  

our lunch together with @johnniewalker_ @ Humphrey #restaurant in #Brussels

What about the Johnnie Walker Blender’s Batch?

Here is the story. Johnnie Walker decided to launch a special limited edition of blended whiskeys. This whiskey is the 1st to be released in the Blender’s Batch range – the Johnnie Walker Red Rye Finish. I know we all associate Johnnie Walker with mass-produced whiskey. However it was fascinating to hear the story of  how the whisky evolved since its 1819 beginnings and along the way, also learn how the iconic Victorian dandy came about. 

our lunch together with @johnniewalker_ @ Humphrey #restaurant in #Brussels

The current Red Rye Finish is blended using a very small amount of malt and grain whiskies, all exclusively drawn from first fill ex-bourbon casks. Why is this important? Because it adds to the depth of the whiskey. Another 6 months in ex-rye casks and the Red Rye Finish is ready to drink. Or blend, as we did. The cocktails we tried were Red Rye & Ginger, Red Rye & Cider, Red Rye & Tonic and for a Belgian touch the Red Rye Rumbler, which goes like this: 

50ml JW Red Rye 
15ml lemon juice 
15ml grapefruit juice 
10ml simple syrup
3 dashes Angostura bitters 
zeste of grapefruit 

Almost finished … and how do you end an already glorious lunch at Humphrey? By inviting us all to blend our own whiskey in a mixology class. We got the chance to smell, taste and blend our own whiskeys. Which was a great snapshot into how hard whisky blending is … but also how much our taste buds differ. 

our lunch together with @johnniewalker_ @ Humphrey #restaurant in #Brussels

Humphrey Restaurant, Rue Saint Laurent 36-38, 1000 Brussels 

I would like to extend our thanks to Johnnie Walker for organising this amazing meal and whisky tasting and to the restaurant staff for hosting us and dealing with our endless questions and cameras with grace.

Disclaimer: as always, all opinions written are our own.


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