In the course of his gourmet wanderings, the gastronomic critic Michel Verlinden recently found himself speechless in front of a poulycroc made in Spa, a pie crust in Brabant Wallon and pastries light as air in the Brussels Region! Three addresses to pin in your to-do foodlist of the month and shared at the microphone of “Bientôt à Table!”
This address goes under the heading “cocktail bar”. In fact, the cocktails are formidable, infused as they are with locavorism, but in reality, it is about much more. In other words, an ideal address to spend the evening during a weekend in Spa. Behind this sign, there is a couple: Cédric Lansival and Laëtitia. Passed through Brussels, this duo made a return to their roots in Cédric’s native region.
This return to the land makes sense in the time of the short circuit, it testifies to a fierce desire to get closer to the producers.
In terms of decor, the sign is simple, even humble, with its large windows and wooden tables. A few well-thought-out details, such as this surreal candlestick in the shape of a pipe, enhance the sober setting by betraying an assertive way of life. The short menu of small portions is incredibly accurate, telling of the tandem’s taste for the expression and accompaniment of the terroir through lacto-fermentation and picking. This is very true of the trout gravlax (which trout comes from the oldest fish farm in the country, Commanderie 7) prepared from ground ivy gleaned from the surrounding area. This gives a vegetal, almost minty note to the composition. Ditto for the shells prepared meunières and served with wild garlic blossoms exploding in the mouth. Just as sharp are the leeks with vinaigrette unearthed at the Potagerie d’Antan (Theux) that a vinaigrette with fermented kumquats refreshes. There are also some delicious “iconoclastries”, like a “poulycroc” with tartar sauce, made with poultry from the Bastin farm, or even Zeeland oysters softened with a grapefruit brunoise. A long list of hand-picked wines – Domaine Ratte, Tessier or Plageoles – brings the naturist hedonist to his knees.
2, place Pierre le Grand, at 4900 Spa. Such. : 0487 52 00 81. Plates to share from 3 to 15 euros.
What good wine brings you
When she saw her restaurant, the late Gustave, submerged by the waves, Isabelle Bervoets had promised it: no question of rebuilding identically. If a page were to turn, as much as the next is written on a plot of novelty, the very one that crosses the era by thwarting greedy atavisms. On site, it is clear that the transformation is significant.
From a restaurant concept, Quel Bon Vin t’Amène has slipped into a gourmet dining cellar approach.
In fact, this gives chiselled sharing plates which, instead of giving in to the ease of the raw product, let all the talent for harmony of chef Arnold Godin, a partner in the business, shine. Of course, we could speak of a restaurant strictly speaking… But that would not say the central place which is attributed here to the bottles (Domaine Beluard, Bobinet, Ganevat, Fuori Mondo…). Chosen by the sommelier, the good plan is to give her carte blanche, the wines embrace the preparations to perfection. From the impressive series of proposals, we retain in particular a cream of Piedmont hazelnuts and anchovies in the form of a revelation lining the palate: the roasted-iodized accord works wonderfully. But Godin sends other marvels, such as these artichoke ravioli underlined by a smoked bacon cream. There too, the harmony is ideal. Ditto for the rocket Vitello Tonnato, interpreted in the sense of lightness. Well seen, the choice is made not to give only in worldly curves, like the rustic notes of a pie with Espelette pepper or this pointed cabbage crossing iron with mashed parsnips and duck confit. A word about the setting which is that of a place resembling a sort of wooded chalet in which one feels sheltered. Large industrial lights, a mineral counter (where you can lean on) and a dark section of wall that displays oenological references complete to place the guest in good conditions.
9, chaussée de Jodoigne, in 1390 Grez-Doiceau. Such. : 010 81 28 78. Plates to share between 13 and 18 euros.
The tea room in tune with its times is a beautiful promise that unfortunately is not often kept. Undoubtedly, the somewhat old-fashioned image that sticks to its skin has something to do with it, preventing young pastry chefs from getting started. Lauren Vander Linden, meanwhile, has taken the plunge. After studying at Lenôtre (Paris), passing through Callier (Uccle) and traveling in Asia for inspiration, the young woman settled in Ixelles thanks to a pretty corner address. Behind a slightly outdated name hides a sign whose lines evoke Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. The room, which also serves as an exhibition space, gives way to three birch trees evoking a healthy connection to nature. Crystal chandeliers, leather seats and beautiful wooden tables complete an atmosphere in which you feel good.
The pastry practiced here impresses with its delicacy and the emotion it arouses.
It’s first, a salty preparation that bluffs, a cheddar scone. This is accompanied by a curry cream and a kind of pear-cardamom chutney. Original, inspired and super tasty. It is then the turn of the chocolate cake to make us think that this address has a bright future. Not just because of the nice contrast between the crunchy crust and the ultra-tender interior… No, because of a secret trick that sublimates everything: a tonka bean glaze subtly enhancing the chocolate. There is also the carrot cake presented in the form of a pretty portion and perfectly punctuated with notes of cinnamon. However, the pinnacle of the artisanal approach developed is found in the chocolate éclair. This one looks like a big covered rock. The pastry cream, finely vanilla, resembles a cloud in the mouth, where too often the flour prevails by thickening the texture. Light and terribly greedy… A kind of split that is undeniably the mark of talent.
35, rue Darwin, 1050 Brussels. Such. : 02 375 14 49.