When I found out there was a gastronomical restaurant in Belgium that based its name on a Louis De Funès (and basically are big fans of him like me) movie I just had to find out more … and preferably try it 😉 And so I did or rather so we did as my wife and I chose to celebrate our 17th anniversary (and she still looks as beautiful as day 1) at restaurant Pouic Pouic in the little town of Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont. Pouic Pouic is the lifework of Patrick Libert (maître) and Sicilian chef Philippo Santangelo who opened the restaurant in 2007. The icing on the cake for them was receiving a Michelin star a few years ago.
What I liked about the restaurant besides the food (but I’ll talk more about that later on) was the space you had in the restaurant. I always prefer when you are at a restaurant and you don’t feel like you’re sitting on your neighbor’s lap 🙂 I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, right?? On top of that space you get a very nice view over the open kitchen where you can follow what chef Philippo and his team are doing or a view over the lovely garden. I prefer the kitchen though, for me it gives the impression that they have nothing to hide and that everybody can see what they are doing and the ingredients they are using.
BTW I loved the little wooden mushrooms on the tables 🙂
For our meal we gave’ carte blanche’ to the chef, as choosing ourselves would have been too hard… everything on the menu looked great. The same for our wines, we had full trust. Before the actual menu we were spoiled with a nice assortment of delicious refreshing appetizers and a glass of Champagne. One of my favorite appetizers was actually the cauliflower with red onion gel.
What followed was pure pampering and a pleasure for our taste buds. With a first dish a Risotto with tomato water, ricotta quenelle, red mullet, young basil shoots and lemon balm that got accompanied by a 2015 Spanish white wine from the Acústic Celler estate (Catalunya). On the taste buds you sensed notes of white fruit mingled with hinds of spices and citrus. A freshness that goes really well with the red mullet and definitely doesn’t overpower the dish.
Next dish Cod with peas and a cookie to add sweetness and crisp. This time there was chosen to go for a white French wine from the Côtes de Gascogne . Correct pairing and dish.
The next dish was maybe my favorite as I’ve got a soft spot for sweatbreads 🙂 We were served a home made pasta with truffles and sweetbread. From all times that my wife wants to share her plate (as she doesn’t eat as much as me) I regret this time the most she didn’t ask me 🙂 🙂 I could have handled another one of those. To accompany this dish they had chosen for a Grüner Veltliner from the renowned winery of Nigl . In contrast with the ‘classic Gruner Veltliner’ that mixes citrus aromas with fresh vegetal notes and a hint of white pepper. This wine from the Kremstal region (which is a warmer region) had more complexity that added that extra kick to the dish.
The main course was a young pigeon. One tasty little bird! The only things that I wasn’t too crazy about were the little pieces of candied orange… but that’s a personal taste as I’m not a fan of candied fruit in general. (and I know in Sicily everybody loves it). nevertheless it was a very nice dish and it all was well balanced. For the wine they chose a red variant from the white Monsant wine they served with the red mullet. it was a nice wine, but I think that a wine with a bit more strength would have given an extra kick… but again here it is probably a personal taste.
And of course it ain’t over until the fat lady sings or in this case before they serve the sweets and dessert 🙂
Every dish tasted as good as it looked!! I don’t know if I’m right but I think the chef has a sweet tooth as the dishes were rather on the sweet side than on the bitter/sour/salty side . Not sugar sweet but just sweeter like in a rich sauce … which for me perfect because I’m a rich sauce and sweet fan ;-). For me all wines we got fitted perfectly with the dishes . There are different approaches to pair wines, in this case (or at least that’s what I think their approach was) was to harmonize with the dish and add a bit of freshness
For me a meal is successful when you loose track of time and that’s exactly what happened at Pouic Pouic! We entered at noon and before we knew if it was 3.30pm 🙂 So I can only add 1 more thing: GO THERE! 🙂
A big thanks to chef Philippo and his team for giving us such a wonderful afternoon! Grazie!!