A two star evening at Pastorale

photo: Hungry for More Magazine

Located near the church square of the village of Reet a stately mansion houses 'De Pastorale', the two star Michelin restaurant by top chef Bart De Pooter. One evening last October we had the pleasure with some fellow bloggers to being invited to taste the new menu and experience the restyling of the decor. I have eaten at one star restaurants before, but two stars was a first for me. I am one fabulous culinary memory richer now.  

Bart De Pooter is a chef with an impressive culinary resumé, he has years of experience and is always looking ahead of what the future of food will bring. The whole evening was a slick and perfect walk through the new menu, called Biotoop.  It is a tasting menu with 7 or 9 courses that can be paired with accompanying wines. Biotope or habitat is a word well chosen, this menu links the kitchen, biotope of the chefs, with the richness of oceans, fields and forests.

The recently refurbished rooms look highly sophisticated and artful. Your eyes are drawn immediately to the emerald artwork on the wall by Belgian artist Jan Fabre. From there your view wanders to the wooden art constructions that are edging the ceiling and the screens on the walls with videos reflecting the beauty of nature. The big round table we sat at was dressed with the most amazing cognac leather tablecloth, smooth as silk, it was a decoration coup de foudre for me. 

We started the evening with a glass of Bollinger, one of the world's most majestic champagnes. A great tone setter for what was yet to come. 

The beginning of the Biotoop menu was nothing less than spectacular. The entrance of the impressive appetizer course blew us all away. This wasn't just a plate with fancy fingerfood, this was a whole table full of heavenly appetizers that were insanely tasty and presented in the most original way. I have never experienced an appetizer moment like this before. Every bite looked like a painting, presented on a piece of clay 'bread', stones from the region. 



Did you ever have a cracker in the shape of a tree? A bite of daikon, shiitake and ginger presented on this special stone?  The way the team brought each piece to the table had something theatrical to it. Like a crescendo getting higher and higher, the round table got fuller and fuller and all we could do was gasp in amazement. This fascinating spectacle goes in my book of best culinary moments of my life.

What a feast for all senses was this opening. I couldn't take my eyes of the picture perfect and colourful food, I smelled fragile tones, I listened to the rhythmic walking of the people bringing in stone by stone and then the cadence of the maître's voice explaining what was waiting for us. It got my pulse racing and I couldn't wait to start tasting everything. Needless to say it was outrageously good. 

The attentive service continued throughout the evening with the pouring of sauces and dressings on each plate, but this ouverture was the most amazing 'Downton Abbey' moment I ever had in a restaurant. I continuously felt taken care of, top marks for the efficient and attentive staff that brought us an impeccable two star experience. It can be daunting being surrounded by such flawless service but we felt at ease and relaxed from the moment we stepped inside. Although I must say I was very cautious not to ruin the fabulous leather tablecloth with a sauce stain. 

You have to go and discover the rest yourself, but I can tell you that six beautiful and delicious courses followed and every single dish of this seasonal menu was equally executed with precision and flair. We experienced here a cuisine that is filled with technique, sophistication and creativity. 

After such a culinary journey we ended with gourmandises that showed the same originality and technical excellence as the majestic starter moment. I know how much work there goes into making just one of the sweets treats we tasted, again we were each offered six different pieces to chose from.


Such an artful and skillful cuisine comes at a price of course. I would say skip the brasserie menus for a few weeks and spoil yourself this year with a culinary experience that will stay with you forever. I know I will. 

photo: Hungry for More Magazine

De Pastorale
Laarstraat 22
2840 Reet
03 844 65 26
info@pastorale.be
website

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