L'Air du Temps

L'Air du Temps Restaurant (Éghezée)

© Pieter D'Hoop

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Five hectares of gardens, more than 400 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants grown by banker-turned-gardener Benoit Blairvacq, and a gastronomic restaurant pioneering the farm-to-table movement in Belgium: And to whom do we owe the stunning fruits of this labor? Chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre, Korean-born but Belgian by adoption, and Carine Nosal. After first opening in an old chip shop in 1997, L’Air du Temps is now located a few kilometers out, its feet firmly in the Walloon terroir, which you can admire as far as the eye can see from the restaurant’s two dining rooms (the main one, and a private one) that are windowed floor to ceiling. That lunchtime, the menu joyfully drew from the chef’s Korean roots, starting with an amuse-bouche quartet to whet the appetite: a thin potato crisp that you decorate yourself with gochujang and cucumber cream; mini-gimbap (sushi) with crunchy garden vegetables; beef tartare with sesame and daikon; and Petits-Gris de Namur snail ravioli in a radish broth. After a tour of the kitchens, where we pinched a bouquet of herbs slathered in creamy butter: peppery radish pimped out in various guises – diced with an incredibly tender raw langoustine in fermented radish juice, thin rounds in an anchovy mayo, and the tops sautéed with grilled sesame; white asparagus tops and tails flavored with lime blossom and dotted with Belgian caviar by the chef himself in the dining room; samgyetang (chicken stuffed with rice and poached in a ginger broth) and a perfect bite of crispy chicken skin; a lovely plate of cheese from Pascal Fauville, served as they are, alongside other inventive preparations (like the sweet little camembert du Bouconnais coated in puffed quinoa); ending with a less memorable honey and milk dessert. // Juliette Delmas

FEELING THIRSTY? All good and natural, with laid-back service from Edgard Pochet: a dry Jurançon Château Lafitte; En Quatre Vis, a Jura Chardonnay from the Domaine des Marnes Blanches; Promess, a Burgundy Gamay by Jérôme Guichard – all at €15 a glass.

PRICE: Menus €170 and €230, food and wine pairings €80-105, non-alcoholic pairing €55.

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