Last month on our vacation across the pond, after finishing up a nice dinner in the Netherlands, Rocky and I hit the road and made a run for the border. We spent a perfect day touring around Antwerp, then drove to the town of Kruishoutem where we
pounded sipped a few coffees and got changed for dinner in a parking lot. From there we went to see what Chef Peter Goossens has cooking at his restaurant Hof van Cleve.
We showed up almost an hour early for our reservation, so we parked our hybrid outside the gates and took about a thousand photos of the adjacent field of flowers and a chicken down the road.
When the time came, we took a seat at a table on the patio and got the party started with the suggested house aperitif and series of small bites.
COMBAVA mint grapefruit. First up, a shot of grapefruit, kaffir lime, and mint.
SOFT SHELL CRAB lime vadouvan. Alongside, a squid ink chip topped with crispy soft shell crab, flavored lime zest and vadouvan spices.
WAGYU sesame parmesan. A rolled slice of raw wagyu with parmesan cream, sesame, and radish.
YOUNG HERRING green apple runner beans. A small piece of herring accompanied by apple, potato, peppers, and beans.
CHICKEN LIVER shallot shellfish. A stunning plate. Fantastic langoustine tartare with a rich quenelle of chicken liver and apricot toast over chicken liver parfait. A superb combination.
DASHI sesame sea salad. A delightful broth with a variety of seaweeds, mussels, young clams, and baby shrimp.
While progressing through these opening snacks we were also making our game plan for the meal. I had initially asked our guy if we could be served the vegetable tasting with meat courses of his choice supplemented. He didn’t seem to like that idea too much and after a little back and forth we ended up with the veg menu with beef substituted for the final savory course. And to drink, a bottle of 2006 La Closerie by Jerome Prevost.
Bread. Stone baked with sourdough. The choices were Spelt 100%, Westmalle Trappist Rye, Olive Oil Wheat, Camp Rémy Baguette. Accompanied by Boer Haerinck farm butter, P. Bellevaire salted butter, and olive oil.
RADISH miso quinoa eggplant. Radishes with horseradish, eggplant, quinoa, potato, hijiki, miso, and herb coulis. Fresh, light, vegetal. A marvelously textured compilation.
A continuation of the course. Grilled sucrine lettuce(amazing), with shiitake, quinoa and hijiki in an intensely aromatic soy and kaffir broth.
CAULIFLOWER basil mimolette button mushroom. Lovely cauliflower florets with riced cauliflower, leeks, mushrooms, a brilliant leek sauce, lightly cheesy aioli-ish mimolette, over thin crunchy toast.
ARTICHOKE ‘VIOLET’ fennel rice ‘bomba’ cevennes onion. Artichokes with rice, small onions, peppery watercress, and a superbly savory, lightly sweet onion sauce. A very classy and impeccably executed plate.
DUNE ASPARAGUS morel parsley farm egg. A wonderful plate of white asparagus, mushrooms, and an egg. With mushroom sauce, white asparagus gelee, parmesan tapenade, and shockingly complex leaves of sea aster.
A precursor to the beef plate. Beef tartare on a cracker with intensely rich and beefy bone marrow consommé.
SELECTED BEEF pea bone marrow cevennes onion. Decadent cuts of beef with peas, onions, crispy shallots, and a natural jus.
A cool, fresh, fruit-juicy pre dessert. A shot of some tangerine-ish fruit I couldn’t understand with pineapple, lime, and mint.
A ‘cannoli’ consisting of a pineapple ‘shell’ filled with limoncello cream on top of olive oil bread.
STRAWBERRY ‘GARIGUETTE’ lemon verbena hammam tea. Strawberry and rhubarb with lemon ice cream, hammam tea foam, and mint. An acid trip of a dessert.
CHOCOLATE ‘BOA SENTENÇA’ 65% morello beetroot pistachio. Chocolate ice cream, mousse, and crumble. Beets, beet cake, cherries, raspberries, pistachio compote.
CHOCOLATES AND SWEETS:
A cart full of sweet treats.
Baba au Rhum. With Rhum J M.
Chocolate orange madeline. Snow balls(like light donut holes).
Macarons. Belgian biscuit. Eclair. Chocolate passionfruit truffle.
Quite an outstanding meal at the hands of Chef Goossens and his team. I hope to return to the idyllic Belgian countryside setting again for another round of Goossens’ stunning cuisine.
Date of visit: July 2, 2014
Hof van Cleve. Riemegemstraat 1. Kruishoutem, Belgium. +32 9 383 58 48 www.hofvancleve.com