L’air du Temps – Revisited (Liernu)
L’air du temps is an exceptional 2 Michelin star restaurant in the Namur province (Belgium). Previously located in an inconspicuous building in Noville-sur-Mehaigne (visited in June 2012) the restaurant moved 8 months ago to a new location in Liernu.
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.
The interior of the dining rooms is minimalistic and modern and the place conserves calmness and tranquility, keeping a natural transition with the surrounding fields.
Sang-Hoon Degeimbre is the chef at L’air du Temps and 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 wife Carine Nosal and his team (around 20 people) he created one of the most surprising gastronomical restaurants in Belgium.
The garden, the fields and the farmhouse are an important part of the restaurant’s philosophy: almost all of the vegetables and spices that are served in the restaurant are cultivated in their own gardens and fields. Hundreds of different varieties are bred by Benoit Blairvacq, the chief gardener, who is a passionate expert in gardening and cultivates exceptional herbs and vegetables. Next to Benoit, there are 3 other people working in the L’air du Temps’s gardens to guarantee the highest quality of vegetables available.
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. we revisited L’air du Temps in June 2013 for a reportage for www.wbpstars.com and enjoyed the « Terroir Contemporain » menu:
Water – Bread
Mussels – fries
His appetizer ‘Belgian mussels and fries’ deceives in presentation: a real mussel is squeezed between an edible shell of potatoes and squid ink and is served with mayonnaise with the taste of fries.
Melon – Ham & Aubergine – Miso – Eel
‘Maatjes’ – Apple – Wasabi
Wan Tan – Poultry – Condiment with garlic
Egg – Ponzu – cauliflower
White asparagus – razor clams – Oil and shellfish jus razors
The starter with razor clams, white asparagus, green herbs oil, lobster oil and fresh herbs & flowers is beautiful both in presentation and in taste: when a juice of razor clams is added, the dish transforms into a beautiful landscape of colors and flavors.
Plaice – Rhubarb – Vanilla – Sorrel
Langoustine – Cherry – Nasturtium – Fresh Almond
The langoustine dish demands more effort from the customer: several ingredients like a fresh almond, a condiment of cherry and trout roe are drawn on the plate while the langoustine is grilled real-time on a special Japanese Ishiyaki stone. The dish comes with a timer so you know when to flip the langoustine (or leave it to cook on 1 side only) and the customer himself mixes the ingredients and eats this Asian-influenced course with his hands.
Lobster – Hazelnut Butter – Lacto Red cabbage
Mullet – Razor – Mecca Balsam – Apricot
Angus beef aged 50 days – Potatoes – Hay – Onions
Elderflower – Rhubarb – Cosmos – Lemon
Strawberries from Thorembais – Chocolate – Kalamansi – Angelica
The sommelier Maxim Demuynck was trained by Sang-hoon – who started his culinary career as a sommelier himself – and offers interesting wine pairing arrangements with an array of international wines.
The restaurant also offers juice pairings, which are highly recommended. The juices are made using ultrasonic vibrations to extract the flavors and colors out of spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. This way the juices (like strawberry-pepper or rhubarb) have an incredibly strong flavor while maintaining a beautiful color.
The “Belgian Taste Buds” Experience
Dining at L’air du Temps guarantees an unforgettable gastronomical experience with its exceptional cuisine and high doses of creativity. Sang-Hoon is a true food magician and impresses with his dare to use original ingredients and flavors and exceeds culinary boundaries with his combinations and preparation techniques.
* Pictures in cooperation with Shoot That Food (www.facebook.com/shootthatfood)
Belgian Taste Buds:
– Food Buds 8.5/10
– Wine & Water Pairing Buds 8.5/10
– Price/Quality Buds 8/10
– Service Buds 8.5/10
– Experience Buds 9/10
Original review made for wbpstars.com. Discover the ultimate guide for food lovers, travellers and the restaurant business. Discover many thousands of images and hundreds of films of the most amazing culinary wonders in the world. An exclusive documentation of the very best.