The organization of Jong Keukengeweld (‘Young Kitchen Violence’) offers you the chance to discover famous Flemisch restaurants at a discount price. They have a list of 58 chefs, are all under 35 years old, who like to welcome you at their table. I used their invitation to have dinner at L’epicerie Du Cirque, a one Michelin Star restaurant in Antwerp, lead by Dennis Broeckx.
Welcome to L’epicerie Du Cirque
It was my first time in L’epicerie Du Cirque and I immediately loved the atmosphere. We received a warm welcome, with a choice out of multiple aperitif options. Since all their wines and sparkling wines are bio or natural wines, I went for the ginger ale with vermout, and a selection of beers during the menu. The truth is I have a love/hate relationship with natural wines and I don’t always think they are an added value. I loved the aperitif and the amuses, which were plenty and creative. Two fun quinoa cracker with sorrel and smoked fish, a carrot cupcake with carrot mousse and caraway seeds, and a roasted cauliflower with roasted nuts.
We got a three course meal, which started with a vegetarian dish. A mix of broccoli, crème of broccoli, grated hazelnut, and a vinaigrette of brown butter. The presentation was okay, as I’m not a fan of these plateau things. I loved the crème of broccoli, but unfortunately it was the only real highlight of the plate. The custom beer was Triple Karmeliet, which is a great beer and excellent choice for this course.
I love meat! So when I saw they’re presenting thick skirt, I got a huge smile on my face. The saignant meat was accompanied with celeriac, kale, and bearnaise, my all time favorite sauce. The course was great, but to be honest, not that special. Excellent meat, but nothing more. They were also so stingy with the bearnaise, that I ran out with over half of my skirt remaining. The custom beer was Chimay, which yet again is a great beer.
The dessert, which I would call their best course, was a combination of corn, popcorn, white chocolate, and salty caramel. I loved the mix of soft corn and crunchy popcorn. The caramel was a little thrifty again, but all in all a very nice dish. The final custom beer was a Kriek, a cherry beer.
We paid €55 a person for the three courses, the amuses, and the custom beers. The aperitif was an extra €13. When we left the restaurant after two hours, we both had a disappointed look on our faces. It was good, but surely nothing more. The main course wasn’t special, and both other courses didn’t surprise us either. I was kinda upset by their custom beer selection too, as all three beers were great, but all very well known. You can order them in any bar in Belgium, and I hoped for a little more under the radar beers. So: a nice restaurant, but I found it too pricy for what I got, which is sad as I had dinner at a discount price.