After the Knighting ceremony of Todd and Jason Alstrom, Charlie Papazian, and Greg Koch by the Knighthood of the Brewers' Mash Staff (Belgian Brewers' Guild), we were invited to have lunch with Michel Moortgat of Duvel, the next day. We were told meet at a certain cafe and have some beers and then lunch.
We didn't know lunch was going to be such a fancy ordeal. I certainly didn't know as I showed up in capri pants with Chuck Taylor's on and no socks! My version causal and European casual should be explained in the fine print of all events we're invited to.
Also, in not being prepared for such an exquisite meal, this post is full of lame quality iPhone images. Had I known what we were in for, I surely would have brought my big camera with me. I did manage to get some fairly decent shots however. Enough that you will still be jealous and you will understand the general idea of how fantastic the meal really was.
We were then taken from the cafe to this gorgeous restaurant called Comme chez Soi.
It all began in 1926 when Georges Cuvelier, a brave inhabitant of the southern Belgian Borinage region escaped the coal mines to open a small restaurant in Brussels.
A regular customer told him each visit : "Georges, in your restaurant we eat like at home." It did not take long for him to come up with the name "Comme chez Soi".
When the restaurant moved to its present location on Place Rouppe, Georges Cuvelier's daughter married Louis Wynants, a pork-butcher from the Flemish town of Tienen. Louis Wynants took the quality of the kitchen to higher levels.
Their son was Pierre Wynants.
He studied at famous restaurants throughout Europe and met Marie-Thérèse. From this union came two daughters, Laurence and Véronique.
Laurence, the eldest, has married Lionel Rigolet, a young culinary talent who rapidly became a key element for the thouse.
The couple now has little Jessica and Loïc, a fifth generation...
They opened their famed private dining room to us, set in their kitchen to watch the chefs prepare the food and then serve it to us. On the walls were autographed placards from Leonardo DiCaprio, Catherine Deneuve, and Woody Allen to name a few.
Image via Comme chez Soi website.
We were given printed menus with the chef's signature on it. The lunch prepared for us was a sample from their regular menu only tweaked with beer.
We opened the lunch with pours of beers from Liefmans Kriek, and a new sweeter, fruitier, yet still tart Lambic from Liefmans. As well as being serves shrimp bites and mille-feuille of salmon.
Tiny, little shrimps rested in the center of these crispy rings. For such tiny shrimps, they packed quite a bit of flavor. Nice little decadent noshes with a very rich and fruity beer to kick things off.
Then we were served a trio of tastes. Melon sorbet, kriek gelatin, topped with Jamon Serrano or Jamon de Iberico. Don't quote me on the ham. It was a cured Jamon of some kind, but I didn't write down the exact name. Delicious non the less.
The center was a cool gazpacho with a prawn and cabbage topping. And the last taste was a cabbage roll with lamb. All fantastic with the Liefmans Kriek and the newer sweeter Kriek.
Marckerel fillet marinated with yuzu, squid salad with olive oil, and a coulis of sweet peppers.
Catfish with lemongrass, butternut mash, and baby carrot coulis.
Grilled chicken stuffed with shitake and tarragon and a Maredsous sauce.
Selection of Belgian and French cheeses with a beer glaze garnish. (Look at the detail in the beer glaze.)
Fruit Consomme with mint, and Kriek sorbet. (Kriek sorbet in a bath of fruit consomme with mint, a molding of fruit and gelatin with fruit leather on top, and a praline garnish.)
And last but not least, we were treated to "Delicacies" of Pate de Fruit, Chocolate filled with a soft passion fruit filling, housemade nougat, Macaroons, white chocolate, and filled micro pastries.
I would only be able to top a meal like this if I could return the favor for Michel Moortgat if I were to take him to Craigie on Main here in my neck of the woods. That's saying a lot.