Last month, halfway through our Benelux trip, Rocky and I spent the Fourth of July dining in Eghezee with Chef San Degeimbre providing the fireworks. After a tremendous dinner the night before followed by an al fresco breakfast on a beautiful morning in Dranouter, and a day of touring castles in the Belgian countryside, we headed to see what was cooking up at L’Air du Temps.
We showed up early for dinner and spent a moment wandering around the grounds and peaking into the different spaces. Their set up is really pretty effing cool.
We made our way into the restaurant, went straight to our table, ordered up a bottle of Jacques Selosse Les Carelles(Blanc de Blancs from Le Mesnil Sur Oger – a gorgeous treat), and got the party started.
Eau de verveine. To begin, a glass of water lightly infused with verbena and lime zest(not pictured, but imagine a glass of water).
Le Pain. A ‘paper’ cracker of onion and grains.
Betterave en coque de céréales. Beetroot in a cereal grain shell. With sunflower seed condiment to dip. Full flavored without being too sweet or rich.
Texture de petit-pois. Peas and bacon in a pea sauce. A little apple gave a slight acid kick. Superb.
Laitue poêlée – Pomme de terre fumée – Citron confit. Fried lettuce with smoked potato and preserved lemon.
Chou-fleur – Crème de jaune d’œuf au miso. Textures of cauliflower with egg yolk creme and miso.
Homard – Tomates – Ficoïde. Belgian lobster with mushroom, tomato, ginger and ficoide glaciale. Boom. Solid.
Classique 2010 : Moules-Frites. A take on the Belgian favorite. A meaty mussel in an edible potato shell with mayonnaise.
Bread service with salted butter and butter flavored with Japanese vinegar.
Homard breton – Gaspacho de fraises – Beurre noisette – Cosmos. Brittany lobster with strawberry and red cabbage gazpacho, brown butter ‘rocks’, and cosmos flower.
Coques et Artichaut. A tasting of clams and artichokes with seaweed, daikon radish, and a sauce from the clams. The artichokes acted almost as potatoes in a clam chowder.
Légumes de printemps… A bowl of spring vegetables from their garden. White asparagus was the feature, accompanied by zucchini, radish, fermented radish, lettuce, nasturtium, kimchi, fried alliums, and a sauce made from the fermenting juice of the kimchi with butter and lovage.
Pigeonneau de Waret – Anchois – Chips de crêpe de riz. A tender, luscious piece of local pigeon dressed in anchovy sauce and covered with rice chips.
Veau – Romanesco – Huître – Passion – Lacto carottes. A brilliant pairing of veal and oysters with the briny salinity against the light, slow cooked loin. With acidic passionfruit, carrot, buttery romanesco, salty potato crisps, and herbaceous, lightly spicy tagetes leaves.
Oignons – Ris de veau – Amélanchier – Fèves. Veal sweetbreads with peas, white onions, pickled red onions, beets, celeriac cream, and a reduction of amelanchier fruit and veal jus. The sweetbreads had a hay ash bbq flavor and aroma that was pretty bad ass.
…L’important c’est la rose… (the important thing is the rose). Rose ice cream, gelee, and meringue with strawberry mousse and raspberries filled with apricot and harissa. Fresh, fruity, and floral with a lingering spice from the harissa. Very nice.
Comme une pêche Melba. A take on the classic peach melba. With flavors of vanilla, peach, and thyme.
Some sweets and chocolates to finish out the meal. Followed by a kitchen tour and some fun chatting with Chef Degeimbre and his crew.
In addition to the Jacques Selosse, I ordered the non-alcoholic pairing, which was a series of waters each lightly infused with flavors from their respective plates. It was really an impressive and successful offering. Standouts were lemon and licorice water to accompany the clams and artichoke dish, and bell pepper water with lovage alongside the spring vegetables.
A brilliant night in a delightful setting.
Date of visit: July 4, 2014
L’Air du Temps. Rue de la Croix Monet 2. Éghezée, Belgium +32 81 81 30 48 www.airdutemps.be