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Sensuous, multi-ethnic: Brussels, Belgium's The Restaurant by Pierre Balthazar

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However you dress for lunch at The Restaurant by Pierre Balthazar, you're probably not going to feel up to the chic elegance of the rest of Brussels patrons. After all, The Restaurant is located in The Hotel, a fashion-oriented accommodation in the capital of Belgium. This is where models mix with the BCBG and that's a high bar. But if you're up for losing your self-consciousness, they serve a lunch that's innovative and well, sensuous. I was very happy to be hosted to experience it!

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The Restaurant has a very interesting concept:

At The Restaurant, three international guest chefs are invited by Pierre Balthazar to propose their interpretations of the same basic ingredients: Luigi Taglienti (*) of restaurant Trussardi alla Scala in Milan, Michaël Fulci (*) Les Terraillers in Biot-Cannes, Oth Sombath, of the Thai restaurant Aux Trois Nagas in Paris 16ème.

Each chef uses the same nine seasonal products to create two a ‘personal’ interpretation.

With this international scala of top chefs’ inspired menu, fine dining at The Restaurant is bound to tickle your imagination and surprise your senses!

To match that global feeling that the city's earned as NATO's headquarters, they have an international gin and tonic menu. That's a good way to celebrate Spring. Of course, you might be fighting jet-lag like I was, thinking to get more alert. I say, do as I did and go the other direction! I ordered their Scottish version: Cao Runn gin, Indian Tonic Thomas Henri, garnished with green apple, red apple and nutmeg. It had a hint of sweetness and plenty of refreshment.

A couple of true amuse bouches were served. I say, "true," because there's more to a proper amuse than just being teeny. One time at a restaurant, I was served a piece of cucumber with cream cheese. I thought, "Really?!" It's supposed to awaken (or technically, amuse) your mouth. The first amuse at The Restaurant was black olive tapenade, onion, veggies, a baby white anchovy. The other amuse was a small cup of smoked red pepper vichyssoise.

These are the 9 ingredients they were playing with:

EGG

ROOT VEGETABLES

ASPARAGUS

SCALLOPS

SEA BREAM

SOLE

BEEF FILLET

SWEETBREAD

PIGEON

The Restaurant puts its daily creations on a tablet that they bring to your table. On this day, the egg offering -- for example -- went like this:

France - fried quail eggs with caviar, candied lemons, herbs and oyster mayonnaise

Italy -- poached egg with brioche, spinach shoots, foie gras and coffee

Thailand -- egg roulade with shiitake, gambas and Thai spices

I ordered the French version, which was like the most lucullian foie gras Benedict. The egg yolk bathed the very thick slice of foie gras in richness.

For more information, contact VisitBelgium!

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