I've been talking about a gastro-trip to Belgium for ages. There's a readily identifiable movement which focuses on showcasing top quality Belgian ingredients in a modern, stripped down manner. Noma-esque I suppose you could call it. Modern Belgian restaurants, led by Oud Sluis, L'Air du Temps and In de Wulf, have become some of the most talked about restaurants in Europe.
My lovely fiancee picked up on the hints and booked a surprise birthday weekend. In de Wulf is in the middle of nowhere, nothing but farms (ex-WWI battlefields) and church spires as far as the eye can see. The old converted farmhouse is a very relaxing place and we enjoyed our stay (and breakfast the next morning) but dinner was a little disappointing. The highlight was an off-menu bonus of local pigeon which had been aged for a week with giblets in, then aged for a further week after its giblets had been removed and it had been stuffed with burnt hay, then lightly smoked and aged for another fortnight. This resulted in a funky tasting, incrdibly tender bird. Too many misses though and I had an issue with the amount of vinegar used - almost every dish had a pickled element. Other restaurants like Troisgros and Noma also lean heavily on vinegars and acidity but here it just seemed that the balance was off. Maybe just an off-night, a remarkably poor waitress didn't help matters.
Myai had no luck getting a table at Ous Sluis (even though she called 3 months in advance!) so she booked a table at L'Air du Temps and arranged to meet a school friend of mine and his wife who live in Brussels. Unfortunately, the friends vetoed LAdT for being too far from Brussels (they have a toddler) and recommended a 1* called La Truffe Noire instead. I was delighted when my friends turned up out of the blue of course but, on being told the name of the restaurant, didn't hold out too much hope for the quality of the meal. And it turned out pretty much as the name would suggest. Very old school, not all that accomplished and, even before the truffle upsell, completely overpriced. Service was charming though and we had a great night with old friends.
Another trip will be required for Oud Sluis and L'AdT!
Belgium - Old and New
No replies to this topic