Innesto is the restaurant of the domain ‘De Barrier’, located on the Grote Baan in Houthalen (5 minutes from the highway). Once inside the domain you leave the busyness of the big road behind you, to find a tranquil domain with a big garden, a small lake and the nice authentic premise where the restaurant is located.
You can also spend the night here, and the rooms are really worth the stay. The authentic feeling of the building is kept, while modernizing the comfort and the rooms are big, clean and romantic.
Koen Verjans is one of Belgium’s young talents. He is only 27 years old but cooks like an experienced and inventive chef. He learnt the cooking magic in famous restaurants like Oud Sluis, De Librije and ‘t Zilte and presents his own vision on gastronomy in restaurant Innesto, which is managed by ‘catering-king’ Bart Claes (www.bartclaes.be) .
In Innesto Koen is accompanied by his charming girlfriend Sofie, who is responsible for the service.
The dishes proof that Koen Verjans masters a special finesse and that he has an eye for details and great – yet often very natural – tastes. He employs both the classic as the contemporary cuisine and combines the two in surprisingly light, but very complex, dishes.
Our dinner menu was well balanced, fresh, with surprising flavors and very innovative. Every dish was extremely tasteful, combining the right tastes and a beautiful presentation.
We visited the restaurant on June 3th, 2011 and opted for the “Menu Innesto”, which counts 5 courses and comes with our without the matching wines.
Appetizers (mussels, oyster, ansjovis, crackers) – we had the opportunity to have the appetizers & champagne on the lovely terrace with a great view on the garden. The perfect start for a wonderful evening!
Structures of crab and asparagus from the “Provence”
Fluffy cream of parmesan, emulsion of citron verbena and fresh spices.
Sole and Yellowtail tuna
Preparations of young carrots, freshly marinated tuna, risotto juice with dashi and citrus
Lamb from Texel
Tastes from green spring vegetables, soft potato – garlic cream aioli, juice of lamb and Chermoula
Pistache, white chocolate and basil
Cream of white chocolate, flan of pistachio, ice-cream from basil and lemongrass
(Cheese, selected by Michel Van Tricht)
Strawberry, strawberry, and…. strawberry
Coffee & Sweets
Highlights for me were the second course, the crab/asparagus dish, and one of the deserts (white chocolate / basil / pistachio).
We started the evening with a nice glass of champagne, the home aperitif, but I forgot to note the brand. It was a dry and smooth champagne, a perfect start of the evening with the sun going down in the garden.
The matching wines with the menu were of good quality, but not memorable. They were poured at a steady rate – not too fast and not too slow.
The “Belgian Taste Buds” Experience
We had a great experience in Innesto. Great food, a beautiful domain, lovely weather, a perfect place to spend the night … The perfect ingredients for an unforgettable weekend.
It is indeed the combination of these elements that makes a weekend this good, but nevertheless our gastronomic experience was excellent. We felt this was almost a perfect dinner, as all necessary ingredients were present and nothing disappointed at all.
The menu comes at 70 euro, with 25 euro for the wines. In total, we paid +- 120 euro per person and felt this price was justified.
When we visited Innesto, it did not have 1 Michelin star. It received its first star some months after, and we feel the restaurant will certainly receive its second star in the future if it continues the same way.
Belgian Taste Buds:
– Food Buds 9/10
– Wine Pairing Buds 7/10
– Price/Quality Buds 8/10
– Experience Buds 8/10
Grote Baan 9
011 525 525