Hof van Cleve – the top
The Benelux region is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. The level of quality of the food and service is outstanding, the range of great products are extensive, and the complexity and finesse of the dishes is very high. One of the very best restaurants in this region, and a leading example to many, is Hof van Cleve. This restaurant is owned and managed by Chef Peter Goossens and Lady of the House Lieve Goossens. The restaurant is housed in a tastefully renovated farmhouse in Kruishoutem. This small and picturesque town is located a short drive from Ghent in the outskirts of East-Flanders. A surprising location for a world-class restaurant, yet food-lovers from all over the world find their way to this brilliant restaurant. Upon entering the property, one is immersed into a world of peace, luxury and finesse. The interior is bright and comfortable, with spacious tables and luxurious materials coming from Belgian artisans. A touch of gold is added subtly to increase the warm atmosphere. Modern artworks from Belgian artists are changed on a regularly base. The tableware is created by Anna torfs and the stunning knifes that are served with the meat courses are designed by the famous Antoine Van Loocke. The beautiful terrace is the ideal spot for the start or the end of your meal on warmer days.
Chef Peter and Lieve founded Hof van Cleve in 1987 and have earned most of the highest recognitions and accolades in the gastronomic world. Before opening Hof van Cleve, Peter Goossens worked at some of the best restaurants like the Parisian Pré Catelan. The Chef Patron has become world famous for his culinary talent and profound love for quality products. His cooking style has roots in the traditional French and Belgian cuisine, but with subtle influences from other regions such as Asia as well. Peter Goossens’ cuisine is all about the perfect balance between classic and contemporary elements and between creativity and intensity. The cooking is always on a very high-end level and all that is served makes sense. Flavour depth is key and each flavour remains recognisable for your taste buds, creating dishes that are pure, warm and simply delicious. Many of Peter’s sous-chefs became great chefs themselves and working at Peter’s restaurant has become a (trade)mark for quality.
The Flemish people have always been huge food lovers and the location of the region is ideal with all sorts of produce nearby, as well as a constant supply of gastronomic inspirations. Chef Peter Goossens is one of the few chefs who entirely optimises this advantage, using only the best products he can find. Indeed, at Hof van Cleve, it is all about the product. Only the very best products of the highest quality available are used, and products are prepared in a recognisable, pure manner. A dish like the “flat Zeeland oysters, size 6/0, combined with bergamot, cucumber, smoked eel, sorrel and apple”, excels in flavour, delicate finesse, and lets you discover how a perfect oyster should taste like. In game season, people from all over Europe try to book a table to sample some of Peter Goossens' incredible meat dishes. One of the most famous ones is the preparation with hare, one of Peter’s favourite products. Combined with apple cream, pudding, celeriac, gel of cranberry, green cabbage, and savoy cabbage, it truly is an example of the perfect game dish. Another epic dish is the grilled turbot which is served with a lobster béarnaise sauce.
Guests can choose from a carefully crafted à la carte menu, with classic dishes like the frogs legs from ‘les dombes’ with bellota, parsley and m’hamsa, or the amazing Wagyu A5 fillet with fries, lettuce and a gravy sauce. There are also three menus available, including a full vegetarian option. These menus are an excellent choice to get a full impression of the chef’s sophisticated cooking style.
The service at Hof van Cleve, led by Lady of the House Lieve Goossens, is impeccable and extremely professional. The team serves the guests with an eye for every detail and nothing is too much to create a memorable experience for every guest. Head Sommelier Mathieu Vanneste dares to think outside the box and surprises the guests with different and appealing wine pairings. In addition, several special artisan beers or sakes are also served and it is not a big surprise that the wine list is fantastic, with amazing references from all big houses.
Hof van Cleve is about perfection - inside and outside your plate. Expect to taste some of the very best products in the world, served in dishes that respect the ingredients, and that truly excel in flavour. Expect to be served with a smile by one of the most professional teams in the world. Expect to be immersed in an environment where subtle luxury and art create a unique, relaxing atmosphere. Expect to experience the very best.
Hof van Cleve scored 94 points of 100 points in our rating system. View our Top 60 of the world. Back to the reviews.
By Sven & Frank
Hof van Cleve
Phone: +32 9 383 58 48