Culinaria 2: 23 Michelin stars in your plate … or not?

The big advantage of blogging compared to other media is that we report straight back from the event, rather than wait for the article to be printed or for the magazine to be on the shelf.

We were fortunate to get a press passport for the event so we could sample the full gamut of tastes on offer. So 42€ gets you about 6 Michelin stars depending on the menu you choose. We wanted to go for the one that included the ‘Comme chez soi’ dish, however 2 out of 4 menus weren’t available anymore, so we were ‘stuck’ with ‘the rest’.

Not a brilliant start but still expectations were high because I choose  menu 3:

Senza Nome (1 star) from Schaarbeek, Giovanni Bruno doing filled sardines (filling of dried raisins, concentrate of tomatoes and some cherry tomato salad)

L’Eau Vive (2 stars) from Profondeville, Pierre Résimont doing scottish salmon ‘pré salé’ with little cubes of chicons and lyonnaise sausage;

L’Air du Temps (2 stars) from Niville-sur-mehaigne, Sang Hoon Degeimbre doing a poached egg at 63°C, mousseline of cauliflower

De Koopvaardij (1 star) from Stabroek, Tim Meuleneire & Wuter Van Tichelen doing a desert with ice cream, white chocolate and dried coriander, marshmellow and tart lemon dots of jelly

It’s clear from an event like this that there’s big money involved judging by the sponsoring but then I suppose buying a Mercedes is tapping into exactly the same market as people dining at Michelin starred restaurants. Anyway we need to judge the food (although the general design of the event could do with some interior design advice because it looked like a mix between a car sales room and a furniture warehouse).

First of all Senza Nome.

The dish was simple and unpretentious, however lacking in taste, it desperately needed seasoning! The filling of dried raisins was completely lost on me, so I think chef Bruno didn’t try hard enough to impress his clients. thumbs down on that one however we did like his choice of wine; a crisp Lombardian Erbusco Curtefranca Bianco; nice and fresh.

Second was L’Eau Vive

The salmon was very smooth and fresh, nice crunch to the fresh vegetables, not sure where the nuts where (the description of the dish talks about nuts and chicory?) with a nice cream of dark green spinach to complement the fish. Great presentation and nice twist by serving it with a Leffe Blonde. Yum!

Third is L’Air du Temps.

The chef; Sang Hoon Degeimbre is Korean and in the menu of the restaurant he tries to incorporate some Asian flavours like Kimchi and dried tuna. Sounds very promising.

So the egg was prepared ‘sous vide’ at 63°, served with a ‘pensée’ flower, shoots of sweet peas, croutons and cauliflower mousseline. Wonderfully velvet that egg! Maybe a touch overdone, but you wonder how they prepare all this on a tiny stand of 6 square meters for lots of guests. Crunchy, silky, smooth fresh and  delicious. A place to try out this L’Air du Temps, very promising indeed!

Last was De Koopvaardij from Stabroek.

Ice cream, white chocolate with dried coriander, crumble, powder of buckwheat (?), jelly of fresh lime/lemon, a desert to die for! Top combination of flavours and textures, superb structure to the dish and top marks for presentation; can’t fault this one at all, interesting desert wine to go with it; Dulcemente 2006, Campania Irpinia Fiano.

Three stars to De Koopvaardij ! Shame we couldn’t try any of the savoury dishes.

So menu-wise the first two dishes were trying to hit the same notes so that didn’t make it into a balanced menu. The highlights for sure was the egg and desert.

For 42€ you do get a lot of stars on your plate but it seems some just take it easy and put a stuffed sardine on your plate or some you can’t taste because they are ‘sold out’ but we thought it’s worth it’s money ,especially because there is enough activity to spend a whole day here. Outside various workshops are set up, ranging from Callebaut chocolate workshops, over AEG vegetable cooking to Eric Boschman giving wine tasting classes.

We certainly saw some interesting stands; a Belgian single malt whisky, fresh asparagus from Henegouwen, Belgian safran (!) and off course lots of beers!

So it’s still on till sunday 8th of May so hurry!

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