My New Year’s resolution for 2014 will be to eat less at restaurants (When I said this last year, a few days later I booked a table at El Celler de Can Roca 🙂 ) and I’ll try to stick to that resolution… BUT it is not 2014 yet 🙂 So Last weekend I had a nice dinner with my buddy Bram (aka one of the top sommeliers @ Pazzo Antwerp). It was Bram’s turn to pick a restaurant and he picked “’t huis van Lede” which I had never heard off before. Sometimes I prefer not knowing something, this way the experience will be much better as you go there without expectations. Something I should maybe also mention that the restaurant got awarded with 1 Michelin star, which is something if you enter the restaurant you wouldn’t expect as it is very unpretentious and not that fancy like usually is the case. I mean they don’t use tablecloths, they have very basic chairs, etc… Once you taste the food and see the wine they have you know why they have that Michelin star… and personally I prefer a low profile interior, this makes one feel more comfortable and/or cozy.
If I should describe the type of food they serve, I would say that they serve a classical kitchen with a bit of fine-tuning and replacing some “classic” ingredients with a ‘newer’ one. What I liked about this kitchen is the fact they didn’t hold back on the ‘real’ butter :-). Which doesn’t necessarily have to mean it is heavy food. Picking what to eat was more than ever the most difficult part as again I liked everything on the menu. The dishes that stood out for me were as starter the ‘Fried langoustines, Iberic ham, croquette of pork leg and mustard, celeriac salad and puree of roasted onion’ and as main course the ‘Vol-au-Vent from range chicken, sweetbread, veal tongue, salsify and mushrooms with a mash from Rat potatoes’ (this just stood out as I love Vol-au-vent). Bram first had the ‘Goose liver cannelloni with scallops’ followed by the ‘Slowly in Westmalle beer cooked hare buttock with plum, black pudding, endive with fresh herbs salad and fries’. Before we stared with all these treats we got a pigeon mousse taster… very light consistency, but very rich of flavor (great way to pet the taste buds).
I cannot speak for Bram’s dishes, but the combinations I had on my dishes I liked. The surf and turf in my starter worked just great, and the combination of the croquette of pork leg, mustard and celeriac salad gave me a christmas spirit… when tasting it I pictured myself at a German Christmas market eating “sauerkraut with sausage”… So basically felt like a little holiday at my table ;-). For my main course the fresh grey shrimps and mousseline that came with the dish definitely did the trick for me and were as they say ‘the frosting on the cake’ :-).
To pick the wines I gave full trust to Bram as he for sure knows more about wines than me…Bram trusted sommelier Stijn 100% (who Bram knows from when he was doing an internship @ 3 Michelin star awarded restaurant Hof van Cleve, and Stijn was their sommelier at that time) and gave him carte blanche with a glass of white wine for with the starters and a bottle of red for the main course. To make it more interesting Stijn never told us in advance which wine it was… For the white wines I have to plead guilty I forgot to write down which wines it were (but once I find out, I’ll share it). As for the red wine, Stijn couldn’t have done a better job as he gave us a 2010 Valpolicella by Pieropan which happens to be a wine of one of my preferred Italian wine regions (together with Piemonte and Valtellina for red wines).
A dinner wouldn’t be complete without a dessert … I went for a dessert that my chocoholic fiancee would die for 🙂 chocolate mousse with a chocolate brownie, sour cream sorbet and vanilla caramel (FYI the chocolate mousse was served like a Melo cake with chocolate mousse instead of egg white and without the cookie). Bram picked the Dame Blanche or was it chocolate sauce with a bit of ice cream 😉 .
To finish what was already a perfect evening in good company, Stijn had us taste a few of the many ‘Stählemühles’ AND still warm Madeleines with he coffee (I like) . To make long story short Stählemühles’ is aquavit that comes in 1001 different flavors and combinations (just check pick from the closet) made by Christoph Keller and Christiane Schoeller who Gin lovers will know from their gin ‘Monkey 47’. For the record I just had a sip of the aquavits 🙂
Restaurant ‘t Huis van Lede, a unpretentious restaurant serving honest food at a Michelin star level !
‘t Huis van Lede
Address: Lededorp 7, 9772 Wannegem-Lede – Belgium
Phone n° : +32 (0)9 383 50 96