L’air du Temps – ‘4-mains’ with André Chiang

André en Sang

The Place

L’air du temps is an exceptional 2 Michelin star restaurant in Walloon Brabant. Previously located in an inconspicuous building in Noville-sur-Mehaigne (visited in June 2012) the restaurant moved  to a new location in Liernu in 2013 (visited in June 2013). It is now established in a renovated farm complex in the middle of the fields, which boasts a restaurant with an impressive kitchen and several dining compartments; a premise with an extra kitchen for cooking courses; a big, impressive greenhouse; a barn; and several luxury rooms for accommodation.

Building
© Stéphanie BiteauBuilding 2
© 
Stéphanie Biteau

The Chefs

Sang-Hoon Degeimbre is considered as one of Belgium’s most creative and sophisticated chefs. Born in South Korea, Sang-Hoon migrated to Belgium at the age of four. He started his career as a sommelier, became a self-taught chef soon after and opened L’Air du Temps in 1997. He quickly earned worldwide recognition for his extremely creative, inventive, original and molecular cuisine. Together with his team (around 20 people) he created one of the most surprising gastronomical restaurants in Belgium. Sang-Hoon’s dishes are technically complex and evocative. Herbs, vegetables and Korean/Asian elements play an important role and most of the dishes incorporate special, unusual ingredients or flavors.  For more information about Sang-Hoon’s cooking, please consult our previous reviews (20122013).

San (Adriaan)
© Adriaan Van Looy

Since a few years Sang-hoon is also organizing regular ‘4-mains’ events. He already invited top chefs like Pascal Barbot, Quique Dacosta and Loïc Villemin and this year several unique events are on the agenda once more. We attended the most recent 4-mains with the Taiwanese chef Andre Chiang. André Chiang is the chef of Restaurant André in Singapore, the 5th best restaurant in Asia, according to San Pellegrino. André Chiang cooks according to his own ‘octa philosophy’ which is based on 8 elements: Unique, Texture, Memory, Pure, Local, Salt, South, Artisan. These elements are incorporated into menus with 8 snacks, 8 dishes and 8 sweet preparations. The basis of his cuisine is French, complemented with Asian, creative touches.

André© Stéphanie Biteau

Sang-Hoon and André met each other about 6 years ago during the food festival Omnivore. Since then they have regular contact and after Sang-Hoon at at Andrés restaurant last year, he invited the chef for a 4-mains at L’Air du Temps. The two chefs both cook with Asian accents and their cooking styles are fairly close together. However, Sang-Hoon is clearly cooking something lighter and with more vegetables, while André often prefers fried preparations and somewhat fuller dishes. Together they created a unique dining experience with surprising flavors and diverse textures.

André en Sang© Stéphanie Biteau

The Food

The experience consisted of 5 different appetizers, 9 courses, and 4 mignardises. The preparations were light but extremely flavorful, creating a coherent menu that certainly was not too heavy.

The menu of the night:

Bienvenue

Water (with elderberries) / Bread

Bread

Snacks

Oyster, pear, sour cream

Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips
© Stéphanie BiteauFish & Chips 2
© Stéphanie Biteau

The Sea

Kohlrabi, caviar

Degustation

The product imposed by San: Acacia, crab, pear

Acacia, crab, pear
© Stéphanie Biteau

San’s signature dish: Blue Lobster, geranium

Blue Lobster© Stéphanie Biteau

Lobster 2

© Stéphanie Biteau

The product imposed by André: coal, squid

Coal, Squid Coal Squid 3
© Stéphanie Biteau

The product imposed by San: Sweet peas, foie gras, lemon

Sweet peas, foie
© Stéphanie Biteau

Dishes ‘4-mains’: vegetables between Asia and Belgium

Vegetables 1
© Stéphanie Biteau

Juice from André© Stéphanie Biteau

Vegetables 3 © Stéphanie Biteau

Vegetables 2
© Stéphanie Biteau

André’s signature dish: Foie-gras, truffles

Truffle, Foie© Stéphanie Biteau

The product imposed by André: coal, matured Angus

Angus 1
© Stéphanie Biteau

Angus 2
© Stéphanie Biteau

Dessert by André: Red fruits

Red fruits
© Stéphanie Biteau

Dessert by San: Sorrel, fennel, lepidium

Fennel© Stéphanie Biteau

Mignardises

Verjuice, fir / Oxalys pie / Banana, parsley / Black Forest

Mign 3
© Stéphanie Biteau

Mign 2
© Stéphanie Biteau

Mign 1© Stéphanie Biteau

The Wines

The sommelier Maxim Demuynck was trained by Sang-hoon – who started his culinary career as a sommelier himself – and offers interesting wine as well as juice pairings. During this 4-mains Maxim presented an array of international wines that offered surprising combinations with the dishes.

Maxim
© Stéphanie Biteau

The “Belgian Taste Buds” Experience

This 4-mains dinner was a memorable and surprising gastronomic event. The two Asian-rooted chefs demonstrate a cooking style that is creative, innovative, and daring. Sang-Hoon and André surprised the guests with dishes that showed a lot of synergies, but where the personal accents of both chefs still pretty emerged. The menu served was therefore nicely balanced, light but flavorful, and full of creative, surprising flavors. Some dishes, such as the aged Angus meat with sesame, or the sharp preparation of corn with horseradish, will appeal more to the experienced gourmets. However, one can feel that this type of cuisine is innovative cooking and that it is right here that gastronomy is moving.

Group© Stéphanie Biteau

Belgian Taste Buds:

–          Food Buds                                                         9/10

–          Wine Pairing Buds                                              8/10

–          Service Buds                                                    8.5/10

–          Experience Buds                                                9/10

L’air du Temps
Rue de la Croix Monet 2
5310 Liernu
Tel: 081.81.30.48 / Fax: 081.81.28.76
www.airdutemps.be

André
41 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089855
Singapore
Tel.: +65 6534 8880
www.restaurantandre.com

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