A trip to Belgium

Saturday, August 22nd , 2015

 air-du-temps 5472 building from garden-crop-v2.JPG

I tried a pair of two Michelin starred restaurants in Belgium. L’Air du Temps is in a farmhouse (pictured) in the countryside, 37 miles south east of Brussels. A very large vegetable garden supplies ample fresh produce to the dining room, and the self-taught chef seems to be a pleasant and thoughtful individual. Sadly the meal that he cooked for us, though pleasant enough, had considerable inconsistency amongst the dishes. A lobster dish was lovely, but some dishes were well below this level. It was an enjoyable enough experience and a pretty place to stay, but the food had too many ups and downs given its rating. 

Much better was Bon Bon, located in a very smart street in the outskirts of Brussels. The standard of dishes was high throughout the meal, with a couple of really impressive seafood dishes in particular. The cooking showed inventiveness but above all a high level of technical skill. The waiters that I encountered were excellent and it is easy to see why the restaurant recently gained its second Michelin star. 

Corner Room is the more casual restaurant within the Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel, one floor up from the excellent Typing Room. It has a brand new chef (Richard Wilkins), in place for just a few weeks, but is already serving very enjoyable and inventive food. Sweetbreads and peas were very good, as was poussin with Jersey Royals. I would happily return here. 

In my local area, Tarantella is a family run Italian restaurant and pizzeria, friendly and reliable and with pizza of a higher standard than the high street chains. Blue Plate serves the food of the deep south of the US in a casual setting attached to a cake shop. It was a little off form on this latest visit, though the friendly chef and modest prices make it a likeable enough place.

In other news, it seems as if the dismal Le Chabanais has already folded. Although the sign on the restaurant door talks of a technical problem, the rumours were otherwise, and this was finally confirmed on 20th August.  Given the lavish décor here the investors will want to consider how they are going to rescue things to give themselves a chance of some sort of return on their considerable investment. Apparently there will be a reopening with a "new kitchen team" in early September. I wonder whether a name change may occur, rather in the manner that Windscale nuclear power station was renamed Sellafield after its own little problems in 1957. 

This website is now 21 years old. As far as I know it is the oldest restaurant review website in the world. I hope that it has been useful to you over the years.