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Royal Club of Gastronomes of Belgium

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2016 Events

13 November

Le Prieuré St Géry

Chef: Vincent Gardinal

Web site

 Comments of the President
For the month of November, the Royal Club of Gastronomes in Belgium has returned in the confines of the boot of Hainault, in Solre-Saint-Géry, in a restaurant whose reputation is well established. Since 1996, Chef Vincent Gardinal has been maintaining the aim of an innovative, generous and tasty cuisine based on a solid classic basis and high quality products. The welcome was particularly pleasant and the impeccable service delighted the guests. The presentation of the dishes put the taste buds and the senses on alert. The accuracy of the cooking, the balance of flavours, the quality of the products confirmed the first impression. We applaud a cuisine that "reconciles with life," to borrow a phrase from Gardinal. Amazing appetizers were served with a pink champagne from Roederer, vintage 2011. Following a scallop which was exceptional by its cooking and rare by its calibre. The mimolette cheese brought a contrast of salty texture, just like the melting potato salpicon. To follow, we had chosen royal crab legs. Tender and with the iodized flavour (strengthened with a leaf of crystalline ice plant), they were accompanied by a light butter sauce whose oyster flavour enhanced the dish wonderfully. A Riesling, Cuvée Reserve, Martin Schaetzel, 2012, fresh and mineral, fitted perfectly. Finally, a rich dish of a hare made in a ballotine with foie gras. Magnificent cooking. Surprising sabayon with shallots and red wine. Finally, a fresh and acid note of green apple, then a second preparation based on chocolate and passion fruit and finally a dessert trolley, with which some had tasted with an Irish coffee made in the purest tradition. A great Belgian table! [Photos] [Menu]

15 October

Le Château du Mylord

Chef: Jean-Baptiste Thomaes

Web site

 Comments of the President
It is a majestic table set up in one of the large rooms of the old castle of Frédéric Gubbins de Kilfrush, inundated by the light of a beautiful October day, that was waiting members of the Royal Club of Gastronomes of Belgium, for a five-courses lunch prepared by Jean-Baptiste Thomaes and his brigade. As usual for the club, the guests started with a Champagne aperitif and few amuses. Featuring lobster from Britany, the first started was fresh with bold and tangy flavors and was a nice introduction. A 2015 Riesling by Alexander Laible suited the dish very well. As a second starter, a silky goose foie gras, lightened by a garnish of iodinated vegetables and some radishes contrasted with a big and tasty fried langoustine. To end with the starters, a sole cooked at low temperature and finished in a "meunière" style, was served with an oyster whose texture and taste were astonishing, due a slow cooking in brown butter. Few times the room went silent during the tasting of the main course: a wild partridge hunted in the area and roasted by Mr Thomas in a way that he has the secret. A 2011 Pino Nero perfectly befitted to this dish. Finally, a dessert inspired by the Landes cuisine: a crunchy and sweet skinny dough, just a few fried apples and verbena syrup. Some coffee and sweets before a walk in the castle park. A reliable Belgian address. [Photos] [Menu]

10 September

Hof Van Cleve

Chef: Peter Goossens


 Comments of the President
In 1996, when he had only one Michelin star, Peter Goossens welcomed the Royal Club of Gastronomes of Belgium in his restaurant Hof Van Cleve. Twenty years later, Goossens is still in the kitchen, but his imagination, talent and foresight allowed him to obtain 19.5/20 in the Gault & Millau guide and, in 2005, a third Michelin star, which he has kept to this day. Club members have had confirmation of this level of excellence during an extraordinary luncheon enhanced by a most original choice of wines proposed by Mathieu Vanneste, Best Sommelier of the Year 2016 Gault & Millau. Sophisticated amuse-bouche were accompanied by an elegant champagne from the Fleury house (Côte des Bar). We were able to enjoy them on the sunny terrace of the restaurant, former farm in the middle of fields of East Flanders. The meal highlighted seafood. Langoustines from Guilvinec in two preparations. In particular, the langoustine tartar hidden under crunchy cucumbers, whose taste was attenuated, delighted the guests by its freshness, balance of flavours and contrasting textures. Followed a leg of snow crab that was accompanied remarkably well by a silky cauliflower purée and a white priorat by Alfredo Arribas. To continue, a slice of cod from the North Sea was presented to us with two distinct white wines; original idea to compare two radically different terroirs: one, Burgundian and the other Californian. The main course, welcomed by the President of the International Academy of Gastronomy who gave us the pleasure of his company, showed the perfect cooking mastery of Goossens’ team: breast of Anjou pigeon with cabbage and ceps, through which the knives of Antoine Van Loocke went without resistance. The thighs were frayed with vegetables and Asian flavours and presented separately. A Nebbiolo from Luigi Nervi sublimated dish. The desserts included a white peach with verbena sorbet, fresh and light. Then a subtle combination of chocolate and cassis. Not to mention a Muscat wine from Gerhard Kracher, slightly sweet and with exceptional nose. To sum up, the dishes show a great mastery of many culinary techniques. It is modern Belgium cuisine at its highest level. A cuisine that is savoury, sometimes complex, and which requires not only a gustatory exercise but also an intellectual one. [Photos] [Menu]

23 July

De Jonkman

Award of "Cristal" Prize

Chef: Filip Claeys


 Comments of the President
After a superb lunch, the Royal Club awarded its Crystal Prize to Filip Claeys, Chef of De Jonkman restaurant near Bruges. Filip shows a lot of creativity that he fully masters and offers refined, light and savoury food. After a medley of amuse-bouche, each more surprising than the other, we enjoyed some langoustines from the North Sea. They were cook on the wood fire which had given them a particularly pleasant taste and which contrasted nicely with a delicate lovage sauce. After that, came few ricotta raviolis served with ham cured by the Chef. We continued with a monkfish filet with black pepper, a recipe inspired by a classic dish of Claeys’ father. It was served with gherkin, samphire, and Swiss cheese. The wine selection of Jasper Van Papeghem matched the dishes very well indeed et we particularly enjoyed the Domaine Lallier “Cuvée Fleurus” champagne specially produced for the restaurant, as well as the “Cuvée 27” of Alexander Laible. This high gastronomical moment was orchestrated with talent by Sandra Claeys-Meirlevede, supported by an attentive and effective team. [Photos] [Menu]

10 July

D'Eugénie à Émilie

Award of "Haute Gastronomie" Prize

Chef: Éric Fernez


 Comments of the President
Generosity. Exceptional products. Attentive service. Beautiful wine selection. This is how one could summarise in a few words D’Eugénie à Émilie, the restaurant of Éric Fernez, to whom the Royal Club awarded its Haute Gastronomie prize for the year 2016, after a lunch that was highly suitable for the event. The lunch featured “Banca” trout from the Basque Country, very large langoustines from Guilvinec, choice of veal sweetbread or tenderloin. Fernez is very knowledgeable of the all-time classics of French cuisine and he has a particular talent to choose and revisit some for the greatest pleasure of gastronomes – such as, for instance, this Dover sole in “Fernand Point” style which we had the pleasure to taste during our previous visit. Whether he’s in the kitchen, perfecting a dish, or in the dining room, carving a piece of meat, Fernez is indeed in his restaurant, seeking excellence to satisfy, with the help of his experienced team, the wishes of his most demanding diners. [Photos] [Menu]

18 June


Chef: Tim Boury


 Comments of the President
In a newly refurbished mansion where he will be able to free his talent, Tim Boury, has delighted the members of the Royal Club. A large selection of originally presented amuse-bouche preceded a first starter that featured super fresh langoustines prepared two ways. Followed a fine piece of haddock seared with stunning precision on a plancha. It was accompanied by few solens, alguae, a white asparagus, and a young leek. The dish offered an enjoyable combination of textures and flavours. As a main dish, an extremely tender piece of veal from Galicia, was enhanced by well-balanced thyme flavoured cooking juices. To conclude, we received fresh and light desserts, playing around contrasts of colours, temperatures and textures. The choice of wines was sound and unusual and allowed us to do a little world tour. Finally, the service, under the very attentive eye of Inge, the wife of the Chef, charmed the guests with their smiles, efficiency and cheerfulness. Bravo! [Photos] [Menu]

22 May

Arabelle Meirlaen

Chef : Arabelle Meirlaen


 Comments of the President
The Club handed to Arabelle Meirlaen the Crystal Awards in 2009 and visited again this talented chef in 2013. Since then, the Arabelle has settled with her team in a new location facing the meadows and woods of Marchin, near Namur. It is with pleasure and curiosity that we returned to taste the light, colourful, and sophisticated cuisine of Arabelle. After some creative amuse-bouche accompanied by few glasses of champagne 1er Cru Truchon-Bergeronneau, guests started their lunch with a carpaccio of spiny lobster from Britany, an ingredient which has become quite rare, and whose tenderness contrasted with small rolls made of raw vegetables. The meal continued with green asparagus from Hesbaye served on a bed of spelt prepared like a risotto and a foam of vin jaune, and beautifully accompanied by a Côtes de Duras wine Vieillefont 2012 Domaine Le Bihan, carefully selected by Pierre Thirifays, the sommelier. Followed a surprise dish cooked up for the Club: cannelloni of lamb from Pyrenees, which the Club members highly enjoyed before concluding with a piece of Challans duck cooked with precision and enhanced by a gravy lightly flavoured with orange. A great restaurant where it was a true pleasure to return. [Photos] [Menu]

15-17 April

Trip to London

Visited restaurants: St John, The Square, HKK, Marcus Wareing, Quilon

 Comments of the President

In April 2016, members of the Club had the privilege to (re)discover the great variety of cuisines available in the british capital city.

The first of the 5 restaurants visited proved that the English pub is an everlasting reality. Saint John stands as a « maison de bouche », with ultrafresh products and a generous cuisine. The highlight was a whole suckling pig (nearly 12 pounds). The cutting was an exercise in virtuosity and the result melted in the mouth. A 2012 Fronton « Réserve la Colombière » enhanced it. The traditional British dessert was a « treacle tart », made of pastry covered with brown sugar, bread crumbs and lemon.

The afternoon was dedicated to a visit of the Tate Modern. The Museum opened in 2000 to gather the collections of modern and contemporary art from the Tate Gallery.

The evening meal took place in the restaurant The Square, opened in 1991 by Philip Howard. Microbiologist by training, his cuisine seeks to give pleasure rather than to surprise.

On Saturday April 16, the morning was dedicated to the visit of Borough Market. Its existence goes back to the VIIIth century. It is a wholesale and retail market offering a multitude of food products. Colchester oysters were tasted by several members of the group.

Lunch was at HKK, a Chinese restaurant, Chef Tong Chee Hwee, Head of the Hakkasan Group. A Peking duck, roasted on cherry wood, was the occasion of a carving demonstration by an agile Chef.

An excellent dinner was prepared for the group at restaurant Marcus . Chef Marcus Wareing, winner of the 2010 « Prix de la Littérature Gastronomique » of the Internation Academy of Gastronomy, has a meticulous style and uses up-to-date techniques.

In the late morning of Sunday April 17, 2016, the group walked along The Mall and was able to watch the changing of the Guard with its infantry in red coat and bearskins hats along with a military band and horsemen.

The group’s appetite was ready for the visit of Quilon . The Chef, Sriram Aylur, performs a refined cuisine in a pretty and trendy setting, using recipes from southwest India where spices are used with mastery.

The trip ended with the visit of Fortnum & Mason, a true symbol of the British culture. Beautiful moments with a precise and respected timing, left a lasting memory to participants before embarking on their respective Eurostar trains to Paris or Brussels.

19 March

Comme Chez Soi

Chef: Lionel Rigolet


 Comments of the president
After their annual General Assembly, members of the Royal Club of Gastronomes in Belgium, regaled at Comme Chez Soi restaurant. As the previous year, around the same time, the lunch was exceptional. The menu created by Chef Lionel Rigolet featured high quality products. Following the request of one of the Club’s member, it also included an iconic dish of the restaurant: the dover sole with foamy Riesling Hollandaise sauce and small shrimps from the North Sea. This recipe was created by the grand-grandfather of Laurence Rigolet, the wife of the Chef. The wine selection matched the dishes extremely well, and the service, under the watchful eye of Mrs Rigolet and her team was faultless. Congratulations again to this Great Table of the World which is celebrating its 90 years. [Photos] [Menu]

20 February

Maison Marit

Chefs: Jacques and Dimitri Marit


 Comments of the president
Since 2002, it was the fourth time that the Royal Club visited this famous restaurant of the Brussels suburb. The Club confirms the opinion of the Gault & Millau: with the Marits, it is a family story that perpetuates the passion for gastronomy and hospitality! For our first meal in 2002, the restaurant was called “Jacques Marit.” The Chef, who already had a Michelin star, was developing a perfect mastery in the art of cooking and showed great rigour and strong will to cook top notch products. He was able to pursue all those qualities during his career. Jacques transmitted his passion to his son Dimitri, who has taken over the business with great success. Dimitri has brought creativity and harmony to his preparations, which he presents with sophistication. Through a nice recital, the Members of the Royal Club could appreciate the talent of the young Chef. After a Champagne aperitif, served with tasty amuse-bouche in a private salon, guests were invited to seat at a carefully set-up and nicely decorated table. The first dish featured scallops in two servings. One was a carpaccio with celeriac, hazelnuts and truffle. In the other, the scallops were barely poached in a pheasant broth, and accompanied with truffled mushroom ravioli. Followed a back of Norwegian skrei, with light mash of ratte potatoes, few sea shells, leeks, and beurre noisette. The third starter was some cannelloni of lobster and vegetables, with watercress coulis. For the main course, a very tender filet of guinea fowl, cream of sweet corn, shallots, broccolis, and Japanese artichoke. A pineapple strudel with salted caramel ice cream closed the dinner. The wine selection was a good match. Members of the club, were, once again, seduced by the performance of the Chef and his attentive brigade. [Photos] [Menu]

14 January


Chef: Antonio De Martino

 Comments of the president
To start a new gastronomic year, the Royal Club invited its members to an elegant villa on Chaussée de Waterloo, the Capraia restaurant. Chef Antonio de Martino produced with brio and excellent menu of Italian inspiration. De Martino’s food is light and tasty and the wine selection is at the level of the dishes. Guests particularly enjoyed the wild-mushroom risotto with seared scallops and the delicious parmesan and mustard crusted veal filet. The evening unfolded in a joyful atmosphere and the Royal Club’s members congratulated the chef. They were pleased to discover a new address with an outstanding quality/price ratio. [Photos] [Menu]