¡Toma! Restaurant (Liège)

© Jeroen Jorissen

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¡Toma! Come y cálla! “Take it, eat and shut up!” his Spanish grandmother would say. What better name for the new joint from Liège chef Thomas Troupin (ex-Menuiserie in Waimes) and Roger Gehlen. With its chiaroscuro dining room contrasted with the neon-lit dry-aging fridge in the background, velvety seats, an opening out onto the vegetable garden and ringside tables in front of the burning stoves, boy does ¡Toma! shine. That evening, the chef showed off his locavore-led “immersive cuisine”: perfect trout churros as an appetizer; a Petits Gris de Namur snail pizzette; puffed up bread with tortilla cream and black garlic aiolii, olé!; then a divine toasted bread layered structure with mushroom butter, mustard mayo, black truffle shavings and thin slices of flash-smoked veal from Lothar Vilz (which later appears shredded in a massive beetroot gnocchi – zero waste!); extremely tender Ondenval trout buttered with coffee and crowned with caviar made in Belgium; Menapii pork from Dierendonck, prepared three different ways (shredded on dauphine potatoes, slow-cooked with hoisin broth, and braised on a Japanese BBQ). And for the finale, a myriad of bite-sized Humberto root vegetable and citrus sweets, including a vibrant roasted celeriac flan with uda pepper and candied kumquat. // Lea Pelotti

FEELING THIRSTY? Well-chosen bottles for all persuasions, from the conventional to the naturalist: Château Thébaud, a mineral Muscadet from the Domaine de la Pépière (€65 a bottle), Terre Blanche, a Jura Chardonnay from François Rousset-Martin (€115), Tout Compte Tout Compte Fait, a 100% joyfully spicy red Mollard from the Domaine du Petit Août in the Hautes-Alpes (€69)…
PRICE: Menus (including water) €105-130, food and wine pairings €38-57, non-alcoholic pairings €20-30.

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