Birthdays are meant to be celebrated with good food and wine, that for me is a golden rule (every time something needs to be celebrated actually). A ‘rule’ my wife knows really well :-). My lovely wife knows that no present will make me happier than going to a good restaurant and have a good meal. My ‘birthday’ meal this year was even more special as it was ‘us time’ (for me and my wife) in a long time 🙂 (FYI a few months ago I became dad of a beautiful little girl that goes through life as Eloïse and during my birthday meal my mom looked after her). For my wife finding the right restaurant for me is a very stressful task, so to make sure she makes the right choice she calls in some help from gastronomic friends of mine(in this case my dear friend and top sommelier Cesar Roman). I don’t really believe I’m a difficult person to get something for, but apparently more than I know/think myself ;-). She also wants to keep it a secret for me… this year I decided not ruin the surprise by guessing where it will be (as I usually guess it. FYI, she said we were going to skydive for my birthday this year instead of eating :-). She has outdone herself even more than other years in finding a nice restaurant. This year I was fortunate enough to slide my feet under the table in a restaurant called Bistro Margaux in a little town just outside of Brussels. Before I continue I must say that they do have a very (sincere) friendly staff that like their job and maybe even do it with passion.
Chef and owner Thomas Locus only opened Bistro Margaux (a former café) in 2009, with the idea to open a small bistro. The success was bigger than expected as after 2 year (in 2011) Bistro Margaux already got awarded by the Guide Michelin with 1 star :-). In his dishes (or at least that is the feeling I had) Thomas tries to bring revisited versions of old French/ Belgian dishes and bring them in a more creative way with techniques he learned in top restaurants both in Belgium as abroad both classic and modern cuisine (Oud Sluis, Martin Berasategui, Bruneau, etc…). The restaurant is in a very nice cottage style I like a lot (it might look cool (as in cold) on the picture, but I assure you it wasn’t, even before the wine) . I loved their wine cellar!! If I ever move in to a bigger house, I have to have one of those 🙂
I would be a liar if I told you guys I still remembered exactly which appetizers we were served. I do still remember how they tasted and that I liked them and their main ingredient. I know that for some bloggers this would be not done, as they write everything down the whole time…but I’m at a restaurant in the first place to enjoy and relax, writing is usually the last thing on my mind. It is only afterwards that I share this moment of happiness and talk about the experience I had and I think you all know I only share if I really liked it 🙂 🙂 Nobody gets killed or dies if I forget to mention which appetizers they served or the glass of champagne I had with it 😉
What we were served after I do remember 🙂 We decided to go for Thomas’ 6 course meal… for the wine I chose to take a bottle (and not take the wine pairing, not sure if they did that). Choosing is always so difficult, do I go for red or whit? Strong or not strong? They had lots of nice wines, but the ones that caught my eye were a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in white and/or for the red an all time favorite a Valpolicella (in this case a Riserva)… but as they have a sommelier, I’m sure he was THE perfect person to help me to get out of this quest and so he did. Although the wines I chose would go would with the dishes, he thought a (as I wanted to go for a Sauvignon Blanc style wine) Austrian Sauvignon Blanc from close to the Slovenian Border would be a good match 🙂 For the people who want to know if, it was a 2014 Grassnitzberg for weingut Tement. A plesant nose, not to strong not to watery… just right and how I wanted it to be 🙂
We started our menu with a ‘Salade Nicoise’ (Tuna / Tomato / waterkcress/chlorophyll ), I’m sure they couldn’t have done it better in Nice 🙂
The second course was the ‘Paling in het groen revisited’ : Eel from the Oosterschelde prepared with green herbs/ kohlrabi /letucce
The 3rd course was maybe one of my favorites , Holstein beef with artichokewith truffle and pecorino. I could eat another one of those riiiiiight now .
The main dish was Pigglet with ‘korenaar’asparagus,comté cheese and scallion (young onion)
I’m glad Thomas served us fresh/light desserts (meaning no heavy chocolaty stuff). A combination of season fruits, homemade pastry and ice 🙂 the recipe for success
A wonderful meal that asks for a retry with the only problem being, WHEN 🙂 Thomqs serves well out balanced dishes where can taste that he knows his techniques and basics really well!
I also tried to convince Bistro Margaux’s sommelier to participate in this year’s contest to become Belgium’s best sommelier of 2015, but he felt he wasn’t ready yet and that his knowledge is not yet of the ‘best belgian sommelier’ level… I beg to differ as I think he would do really well! I do hope he still changes his mind!! Just in case he would change his mind I’ll add the link to subscribe for the contest 🙂
Find more info on Bistro Margaux on their website: http://www.bistromargaux.be/