Meteor Restaurant (Mechelen)

© Meteor

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After Magma, Maarten Van Essche set up shop in an old presbytery in Heffen in 2023, restored to its former glory with its original tiling, white tablecloths and refined tableware. What’s more, it boasts a charcoal grill, plant-forward dishes, and classic cuisine with a twist. That evening, there was no fussing about as things got off to a good start with some flat bread and “dirty cheese” sauce, before moving on to (even more) serious things: a very simple and fruity goat’s milk fromage frais produced by Aurélie in Limbourg, simply served with herby cauliflower florets lightly grilled over the wood fire; an unforgettable yellow beet bisque with shrimp; surprising roast carrots and lentil salad with a well-seasoned celery jus; grilled flank steak with leeks and buttery mashed potatoes; and to finish, caramelized sponge cake, bitter orange sorbet and millet milk reduction, or braised and dried apples with goat’s milk ice cream and broth. Raw, refined, audacious, Meteor lights up Mechelen – by candlelight, no less! // Rocky Simone

FEELING THIRSTY? A cellar filled with lovely discoveries: La Voix du Périscope, an Ardèche Viognier from Daniel Sage (€69 a bottle), Jaja, a Bugey white from Caroline Ledédenté (€68), or opt for the house kombucha (€8.50).

PRICE: Dishes €12.50 to €34.

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