L’air des Sens (Zoutleeuw)
L’air des Sens is a small restaurant in Zoutleeuw, a small town near Sint-Truiden in Belgium. The inconspicuous building dates from 1900 and offers a small dining room for a maximum of 16 guests. The interior has a simple, homely setting in black and white colors with lots of wood and boasts different works of art.
Chef David Schulz was a philosopher, psychologist and musician in a previous life and started as an autodidact in the kitchen. He gained some experience in former restaurant Clos St. Denis and is inspired by the seasons and nature. David presents a creative contemporary light cuisine and offers tasting menus with matching wines.
Together with Be-gusto and the girlfriends we tried the degustation menu ‘Leeuwse Velden’:
Giant Puffball, tarragon, pickled fennel, quail egg
Kohlrabi, edible crab, melon
Zeeland mussels, cucumber, coriander, green apple, algae
Smoked eel, beetroot, Chioggia beet, horseradish cream cheese
Scallops, Jerusalem artichoke, parsley, nasturtium
Tuber vegetables, gravy, Kriek Lambic vinegar emulsion
Farm chicken (poulet noir), sage gravy, potato
Apricot, almond, tonka
Peach, kaffir, lime
Tanzania chocolate ganache, coffee, nutmeg
The wines at L’air de Sens are managed by lady of the house Anna Kempeneers and she focuses on (dry) German wines from renowned wineries. The menu is supplemented with bottles from France and Spain. We opted for the matching wines, which were pleasant but without any highlights or discoveries.
The “Belgian Taste Buds” Experience
L’air des Sens offers an interesting take on Belgian gastronomy but the execution still needs some improvement. We had the feeling it might be better for the chef to focus on fewer, but better, dishes (our menu consisted out of 13 dishes, half of which were good). There’s always a danger of letting quantity prevail over quality, and it is the strength of a good restaurant to find the right balance. If the chef manages to concentrate on improving the flavors in the right dishes, we are curious about the development of L’air des Sens in the future.
Belgian Taste Buds:
– Food Buds 6/10
– Wine Pairing Buds 6.5/10
– Price/Quality Buds 6.5/10
– Service Buds 6/10
– Experience Buds 6/10