Le Vert Mont
Chef Florent Laden established his ultra-locavorist dream amongst the brick houses in the green countryside around Boeschepe. Inside his family inn (opened by his grandfather in 1982) that’s prolonged by a contemporary dining room (white walls, an aluminum chandelier, rustic hardwood floors), he’s created the perfect soundbox for the neo-bistro cuisine of his Lille-based restaurant, Bloempot. The day we went for lunch, the €40 menu was all the proof we needed, after a cracker with redcurrants, sunflower seeds and mackerel and a glass of meadowsweet kefir to start: his emblematic cone of fries served with a Maroilles cream for dipping; a subtly prepared seductive cod steak, dressed with leek ribbons and an espuma of mussels from the North Sea; and a roasted pigeon thigh under a spiced “caramel”, like a delicious lollypop. For dessert, the savory notes of a buttermilk ice cream work well with the creamy meadowsweet tarte tatin, while the sweetness of brown sugar illuminated the small round waffles known as “strin’jes,” made using a recipe from his grandfather, the famous Pépé Mouth. This is eco-conscious cuisine, right down to the complex infusion of chicory, malt and sunflower that replaces the post-lunch coffee – excluded because of its guilty carbon footprint. To drink, there’s a well-balanced list: Grand Cru Bruoscella beer from the Cantillon brewery (€40 for 750 ml), an Alsace-Gewurztraminer from the Domaine Pierre Frick (€6 a glass), a Roussillon red from the Domaine Gauby (€7), a white Côtes-du-Jura from Ganevat (€59 a bottle) or a Languedoc red from Romain Pion (€37). Menus €21 (weekday lunch), €40 (€30). // P.A.