L’air de Rien (Fontin)
L’Air de Rien is a gastronomic restaurant located in Fontin, a small village near Liège in Wallonia. Fontin is the hometown of chef and owner Stéphane Diffels and is a typical town where time stands still. The small hills and typical farm-like, mud houses make you forget you’re only a few kilometres from the big city of Liège.
The restaurant is housed in a small and discrete building in the centre of the village. The interior is simple but warm, with lots of wood and dark colours. With the decoration the chef wants to tell the story of the region: boulders from the Ourthe, pottery from potters from the neighbourhood, a tree stump from the neighbouring woods … All elements that reinforce the story that is told in the plates.
Stéphane Diffels was born in 1973 and is a completely self-taught chef. After several challenges in various sectors Stéphane decided to follow his dream and opened his restaurant L’Air de Rien in 2009. In just a few years he managed to create one of the most interesting restaurants in Wallonia.
The chef also gathered an excellent team to help him in the restaurant. Marc Delvenne is responsible for the wine list and provides wonderful liquid accompaniments for the dishes. He serves the wines with flair and gives expert advice.
For Stéphane Diffels and his team, regional products are essential. They try to work with small producers only and the products and their true flavours are the fruit of good, hard work. Simplicity is another important aspect of the chef’s kitchen. He brings the products in their purest form and improves the flavours by using the right (slow) cooking techniques. Everything that can be made in house, is made in house: oils, macerations, sauces, pickles, lacto-fermentations, sourdough bread … the chef does not make any sacrifices in this area.
Together with colleague foodie Be-gusto we enjoyed a well-balanced, flavorful and creative degustation menu at L’air de Rien in May 2015. On the menu: 18 small creations (8 appetizers + 10 courses). The price/quality ratio at L’air De Rien is excellent with the full menu coming at 75€ (wines + 42€) and the smaller menu (8 courses) at 67€ (wine + 32€).
Fermented carrot, fennel
Crisps of St. Jacques, lentils
Jerusalem artichokes, shallots
Foie gras, hazelnuts
Soufflé of bread, Herve, syrup of Liège & Soufflé of pig skin, miso mayonnaise
64 ° egg, bacon, cream, onions
Norway lobster, beurre noisette
Holstein beef, onions
Lamb, wild garlic
Herdier, brioche, pear vinegar
The “Belgian Taste Buds” Experience
We were very happy to discover restaurant L’air de Rien and concluded this restaurant is a great value for the (creative) gastronomy in Wallonia. The food is tasteful, terroir based and creative, and all of this is served at an unbeatable price/quality ratio. Recommended!
Belgian Taste Buds:
– Food Buds 8/10
– Wine Pairing Buds 7.5/10
– Price/Quality Buds 9/10
– Service Buds 7.5/10
– Experience Buds 7.5/10