There are benefits and drawbacks to being an expat in
Belgium Brussels. Of course. When it comes to the gastronomic world we are on top of all things foodie in Brussels … but seem to be less in touch with Belgium at large.
Ask us to name 10 Michelin starred chefs in the UK, no problem. Ask us to equally name 10 Michelin starred chefs local to Belgium, and we have a problem. Which is why meeting and discovering the cuisine of Chef Pierre Résimont was our 2017 highlight!
The story so far
When you get that 1 in a 100 email invitations asking if you want to review a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Belgium there is only one answer – Y-E-S! Then the actual research begins. What do we know about L’Eau Vive? A Michelin starred modern restaurant set in an old mill somewhere close to Profondeville. Who is Pierre Résimont? Only the rock’n’roll Chef behind this 2 starred Michelin restaurant and who works his magic in the kitchen.
And off we went to Profondeville.
We found the mill and it all looked so traditional and quaint. And then we stepped inside L’Eau Vive, and were brought back into the 21st century, slick design, funky staff and all. A bit under lit for a (food) blogger, the restaurant was packed but the spirits were high and we were immediately at ease. A very straight forward greeting and seating and our culinary experience at L’Eau Vive began.
Before we dive into the menu and the food we tasted, let’s take a moment and talk about the … menus. Here’s the thing. There are 2 type of menus at L’Eau Vive. The ones listing all the dishes and the prices a la carte (for the men) and the blank one, listing all the dishes and … that’s that (for the women). Besides my initial confusion, I am not so sure how I feel about this approach. Except of course that I swapped menus with my husband so I got a look at the prices too. Oh, and in case you wonder, we opted for the Menu Decouverte (120e/pp).
Inspired by greats like Alain Ducasse, the cuisine of Pierre Resimont is all about honest emotions. Of course there is balance, there are textures, there is perfection – but above all there is a love of food that comes in different shapes and sizes. After the introductory glass of champagne we started our dinner with oysters, lomo and a tomato and beet mix. I have a love-hate relationship with warm oysters but looking beyond that, our dining experience was off to a grand start. Next we had scallops served with earthy pumpkin ravioli, which was a beautiful autumnal dish. The royal langoustines were served in the most surprising way and I must admit – although I am an experienced foodie – this is the first time I had kadaif as a savoury dish (usually reserved for sticky, sweetly Greek deserts).
As we visited during the game season we continued with hare served with quince – a sadly underused savoury fruit in Belgium (off topic: in Romania we make the best quince sticky sweet marmalade!) and celeriac. Finishing off with the most surprising and exquisite lemon desert. Words will not do it justice, but we have to say that this desert will probably stay with us for many years to come. A true wow moment. And so will the boozy souffle and we all know how impossibly difficult it is to get a souffle right.
Of course, us being us, we finished with the cheese trolley which surpassed our wildest expectations. Actually everything Pierre Résimont sent our way surprised us, shocked us in the best possible way, and made us think of food differently. Probably what a 2 star Michelin restaurant is supposed to do.
Service with a smile
Our experience with Michelin starred restaurants is fairly limited. But we are getting the feeling that service is always so spot on it is almost invisible. We were consistently taken care of without noticing it. I guess invisible service is what makes a restaurant stand out and L’Eau Vive has perfected the art of seamless service. There wasn’t one moment where we felt forgotten, or too rushed, or not taken care of. Absolutely impressive.
We actually shared our first impressions with Chef Pierre Resimont that very night (over coffee and sweet treats no less). Everything was perfect. So what possible could 2 expat bloggers bring to the mix? Just that. The expat non-Belgian ingredient. We had the most amazing 2 starred Michelin dinner at a reasonable price no less … yet never heard or knew of L’Eau Vive before our visit. That is probably as much to blame on our expat mentality as it is on local promotion.
Restaurants like L’Eau Vive need to be known. The cuisine of Chef Pierre Resimont needs to be promoted. Because in all honestly this whole experience we are sharing with you is only 1h drive away from Brussels … so most definitely worth the trip there and back. More than an A/R to London which would probably have cost us more.
I would like to extend our thanks to Pierre Resimont for reaching out and inviting us to review L’Eau Vive and organizing this beautiful dinner and to their staff for hosting us and dealing with our endless questions and cameras with grace.
Disclaimer: as always, all opinions written are our own.
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