There is nothing that gives my wife more stress then finding a restaurant to take me for my birthday 🙂 (that and maybe our kids from time to time). To help her a bit, every year I send her a list of restaurants that are on my wish list for her to choose from. Basically this makes that we will both be happy with the outcome 😉 This year there was one restaurant on the list with a few exclamation marks behind its name hoping my wife would crack the code 🙂 🙂 I know I could have just said I want to go to that restaurant, but somewhere I still wanted to keep it a bit of a surprise. Anyhow I wanted her to take me to restaurant ‘Me Liefste’ (which means ‘My beloved in Dutch) right in the heart of the Goes yacht club at the Veerse Meer (40minute drive from Antwerp)… and so she did!! She had also booked the sun for a day so it seemed (#holidayfeeling ).
Why this restaurant? Its good word to mouth reputation!! Those are usually the best restaurants. Why spend a lot of money on advertising… when you are good, the people will come no matter where you are located (and the price/quality balance is correct). From the moment we arrived I could already feel it was going to be a great afternoon! The sun shining on our faces, being right next to the water and having a festive meal with the most important woman in my life sitting across from me (and not having to pay 🙂 )… what more could I wish for??
Although it was very sunny, we only had our apero and appetizers outside as the cold breeze made it too chilly to eat outside (+ the food would get too cold to fast) . Restaurant Me Liefste only works with set tasting menus going from 4 to 8 course meals with or without paired beverages (both wines as non-alcoholic drinks). We went for the 7 course menu as being so close to the Oosterschelde I was really craving for some lobster from the Oosterschelde and the 7 course menu had a dish with lobster from Oosterschelde in it… so it was meant to be.
Although I usually go for the wines the sommelier suggests, I do always find it interesting to have a look at the wine list and see the wines they have. The biggest reason why I usually just go for the paired wines, it because I know the sommelier and chef have put lots of time in the pairing… so it always seems more then fair to trust their judgment… but another reason is when I see the wine list, there are so many nice wines I just wouldn’t be able to pick. In the last 2 years I’ve been fortunate enough to have been accompanied during many meals by some of the best sommeliers in the world (I’m co-organizer of the ASI Best Sommelier of the World Contest that will be held in Antwerp in March 2019 and therefore surrounded by great sommeliers) and when you see them look at a wine list to choose a wine, they make it look that simple and they are always able to pick out the hidden treasures from the list 🙂 (very fascinating) unfortunately I’m not that good yet 😉 🙂 So again I trust the sommelier/chef’s chose (I know a loooot of words that could have been summarized by the last sentence alone)
From the first appetizer until the last bite we had, there was not one moment we regretted our trip to Me liefste! Every dish was full of flavor and were shots of instant happiness… sometimes you can go to a restaurant and have some dishes that you liked less, but this time I can say that I like every single dish.. I know that always seem positive about the restaurants I visit, but it seems I just know to pick my restaurant out well + if it don’t like them I just don’t write about them as I don’t want to spread bad publicity.
We love our bubbles, so no better way to start a meal then with bubbels (sometimes I get tempted in taking something else, but once they start talking about bubbles I’m sold 🙂 ) in this case a glass of Francis Boulard’s blanc de noirs ‘Les Murgiers’. A champagne with an elegant and fruity nose of yellow fruits carried by a beautiful freshness, On the palate, it is a straight, pure vintage. The finish is long and vibrant. The perfect match with a wide variety of appetizers we were served:
Time to start our trip through the 7 courses, please feast your eyes dishes we were served (and all plats I could have licked clean – but I kept it decent)
Cockles and oxheart cabbage paired with the 2016 Edel Natur by Laurent Bannwarth
Lobster from the Oosterschelde with Rouille paired with the 2017 Chenin blanc by Joostenberg
Lemon sole with leek and beurre blanc paired with the 2015 ‘Nuvol’ by Alfredo Arribas
Eel with horseradish and beef marrow oil paired with the 2016 ‘Chardonnay by Domaine Le Rocher Des Violettes
Lam with gnocchi and wild garlic paired with the 2016 ‘Artifice Tinto’ by Borja Perez
Quark with yoghurt and buttermilk paired with the 2016 Biodynamite by Pflüger
I’ve travelled and have been around quite a bit and I can see where Thijs (the chef/owner) got the mustard, but he put it in his hand (making it his own) in a beautiful way and working with as many local products as possible!! Bravo!!! Every dish was full of flavor and cooked to perfection and a true celebration to eat. As for the wines, they were all correctly paired with as nice surprise the ‘Artifice’ which is I think the first wine from Tenerife I’ve tried (that I remember). It was a very amiable wine, with extreme finesse, but that expresses all the strength of the volcanic landscape of the area. An invitation to try more wines from this area. You can clearly see that sommelier Geert Rutten likes both his classics as trying new things.
And when we thought we had got it all, they came along with pieces of heaven with main ingredient my most beloved ingredient aka butter 🙂 🙂
Why this restaurant hasn’t had its first Michelin star yet (at least 1), I have no idea… but for me it doesn’t matter as even without the stars for they are much better than many restaurants around the globe I tried that had Michelin stars!! I can’t wait for my next meal …