Tour de Chasse – Going wild in Wallonia
The autumn & winter season definitely is our favourite time to visit restaurants. Great ingredients, a warm atmosphere and shorter days make us want to eat non-stop. Of course, game is one of the most interesting ingredients this season brings us. The months of October, November and December make up the best period for the precious meat. And the wooded Wallonia is obviously the place to be to get the best supply in Belgium. We went looking for the best game restaurants and their suppliers in Wallonia.
In Soheit-Tinlot we always love to visit Christophe Pauly’s restaurant Le Coq aux Champs. You can discover all about the restaurant in the review from our previous visit.
During our visit in November 2016 we enjoyed a truly great meal. After a series of sophisticated appetisers we were amazed by an exceptional langoustine with sauteed foie and dashi.
As the main course Cristophe prepared his famous lièvre à la royal. The chef firstly served a nicely cooked piece of fillet with red cabbage and salsify.
After the fillet, the royal is served as pulled meat. But it is especially the sauce that impresses! This is made by letting the bones boil with plenty of onions and garlic. Then they are boiled again with a strong game stock and fortified with a little chocolate and foie gras. Finally it is flamed with cognac and finished with the blood of the hare. No wonder guests come back for this dish every year!
Some other snapshots from our meal:
L’eau Vive is the gourmet restaurant of top chef Pierre Résimont. The restaurant was awarded two Michelin stars and 17/20 in the Gault & Millau guide. Pierre opened his restaurant in 1990 in an idyllic old mill in the woods of Profondville. He cooks with great respect for the products and the seasons.
One of the starters was an excellent preparation with big, juicy coquilles, mushrooms, foie, and fresh truffles. Truly delicious.
During the colder months, people come from far away for his Lièvre à la royale. This is served in two preparations: first the filet, which comes on the plate with autumn vegetables and a game sauce, and then the ‘royale’. The sauce here is made from all parts of the hare, cooked for 3 times with a game broth and finished with foie gras.
The dessert with lime, mascarpone and basil was the perfect end of a great meal.
The cheese selection & mignardises were impressive as well:
Pierre Résimont also opened a very cozy bistro in nearby Erpent a few years ago: ‘Le Comptoir de l’Eau Vive’. Here you can enjoy beautiful product-oriented dishes and fresh game dishes in the season at a reasonable price.
At Lemonnier, located in the scenic Lavaux-Sainte-Anne, father and son Eric and Tristan Martin receive their guests as members of their own family. We have beautiful memories about this restaurant from our visit, which you can discover here.
The game season is the busiest period at Lemonnier and that is very understandable. Eric and Tristan only work with the best products and roe is their favourite game. This noble meat is served as a main course in two courses. First there is a nice piece of steak with vegetable chips and artichoke sauce with coffee.
Then we taste a hamburger of roe, bread with potatoes, mushrooms, red cabbage, and beets.
Some other snapshots from our meal:
We were very curious about the origin of the game and visited Condroz Gibier in Ciney together with Tristan Martin. In this official wholesale shop, wildlife is treated, cut and packaged. In addition, the operator Pascal Desmedt developed its own quality label to certify the traceability of the meat.
The legislation on hunting and buying and selling of game have changed greatly in recent years. Restaurateurs are now required to purchase game through an authorized vendor. Many well-known top chefs buy here their meat at Condroz Gibier, because of the quality and the clear traceability. The meat and carcasses might give a lugubrious impression, but quality and taste are always paramount here. In the shop you can buy fresh wild, delicious homemade pate and other delicacies.
L’Éveil des Sens can be discovered near Charleroi, in the village of Montigny-Le-Tilleul. The restaurant is run by Laury and Nadia Zioui. Laury hails from Morocco and this influence can still be tasted in his dishes. With a Michelin star and a score of 17/20 in the Gault & Millau guide, his restaurant is one of the most famous of the region.
Guests come here from miles away to enjoy beautiful game preparations during game season. A la carte dishes like the pheasant and ‘lièvre royal’, with or without fresh truffles shaved at the table, are very popular. But the real fans choose for the “Gala de chasse”. This menu brings in about 8 courses an excellent introduction to Laury’s cuisine and the best of the game. You will taste dishes with partridge and mallard, but also deer and hare. All this topped with delicious sauces and a Moroccan touch. Delicious!
PS: One of the best activities to burn your restaurant calories in Wallonia is hiking (in- and outside restaurants, that is ;-). For stylish in- and outdoor footwear, make sure to visit Sacha Shoes.