Jacqueline Restaurant (Boechout)

© Jacqueline

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We’ve seen many a restaurant named after the owner’s wife – often usurped by (male) chefs with paunch belies who wanted to create a fantasy of grandma’s recipe and old-fashioned pots. But this particular Jacqueline is brought to you by self-taught chef Evelien Swiers, who, alongside her partner/sommelier Raf Rombouts, has invested in an old butcher’s shop that’s been kept in its original state: white metro tiling, butcher’s hooks, a marble and Formica countertop… Here you’ll fall in love with the cast of old-fashioned produce, rather than the old-fashioned recipes. Just take the evening we went: the first white asparagus of the season from Lierse, cooked impeccably and sauced with two different creams (cauliflower, pistachio), all wrapped in a lovely farmhouse buttermilk butter; glossy lacquered North Sea pollack cooked to perfection with fermented plum and sunchoke; a blushing Iberian pluma of Kintoa pork from Carnivale surrounded by mashed celeriac, plus caramelized fennel and onions with wild garlic oil; and a daring sunchoke ice cream paired with citrus cream and a white chocolate tuile. // Alba Nebbioli

FEELING THIRSTY? Natural, “but clean,” says Raf, like the dry Crémant from Jean-Luc Mouillard in the Jura (€11.50 a glass), or the Neyrou, an awesome Pinot noir from Jean Maupertuis in the Auvergne (€52 a bottle) or Sau Spitz, a Grüner-veltliner from Lichtenberger-Gonzalez (€59).

PRICE: Menu €70 (€85 with Van Tricht cheeses), food and wine pairings €39, non-alcoholic pairings €32.

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