A Trip to Antwerp

Saturday, August 06th , 2022

zilte 4032 outside-crop-v2.jpeg  

Zilte is the latest three Michelin star restaurant in Belgium, situated on the top floor of the city maritime museum in Antwerp (pictured). The room is striking, elegantly designed and with lovely views over the city. The food is quite modern and in places too complex for its own good – there were several dishes where a good core element was let down by a less good side element that was not necessarily complementary, or indeed necessary. There was one particularly fine crab dish but the standard of dishes was erratic, with a weak veal dish and other issues including weak desserts. The at times extortionate wine list did not help either, though the staff were friendly. This is an expensive restaurant though, and at these prices any problems feel inexcusable.

By contrast the merely two-star Villa Lorraine in Brussels was a delight. Set in a leafy suburb of the city, the food here drew more on classical technique, though there were certainly modern touches. The savoury courses were very impressive from start to finish, culminating in a tableside preparation of lobster and sweetbreads. Desserts were relatively ordinary but service was charming and the prices for the food were not excessive. The wine list also contained some real bargains, though you could drink quite cheaply and adequately from the list if you so wished. I much preferred my meal at Villa Lorraine to ZIlte, and if they could improve their pastry section to the level of the savoury dishes then this could be a really world class restaurant.