Chef Patron Thierry Theys was born in 1984 and is a great example of a chef who reached the culinary top at a very young age. He and his wife Sofie Willemarck manage restaurant Nuance in Duffel, a small town near Antwerp in Belgium. The chef gained experience in top class restaurants such as Bar & Boeuf in Monaco and Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athénée. He also worked at restaurant De Oosthoek in Belgium, and Restaurant Beluga in The Netherlands. After six years of learning from top chefs in top restaurants, Thierry was ready to develop his own dream and opened restaurant Nuance together with his wife and Lady of the House Sofie in 2008. Since then, the duo and their team went straight up to the culinary top.
In 2014, the couple also opened restaurant Vintage located in Kontich, just a few kilometres from Nuance. Vintage is an accessible restaurant with a bistro cuisine in a rural atmosphere. Here, guests can enjoy outstanding dishes of the past, quality meats, and more creative dishes.
But also at restaurant Nuance, Thierry and Sofie continue to evolve. In 2015, the restaurant was completely renovated with a new interior, a new corporate identity and a new website. The place is still located inside an old bank but the interior got a serious upgrade. It was entirely redesigned by the owners, both of whom are very interested in interior design. Thierry describes the new style as “modern classic”, or “the feeling of dining in Paris in a modern way”. The interior is luxurious and contemporary cosy with grey, brown, blue and gold colours. At the back of the restaurant there is space provided for additional tables, though the number of seats (max. 42) remained the same. One of the main changes are the walls, which now include special materials to enhance the acoustics.
In the kitchen, things have not changed that much (and that is a good thing). Thierry Theys cooks on a very high technical level and demonstrates a perfect blend of texture and flavours in his cooking. The cuisine has a solid foundation in the (French) haute cuisine, although it is much finer, lighter and more elegant. The dishes are very complicated and often incorporate many different ingredients, combining intriguing and complex flavours to great perfection. Thierry Theys uses the newest cooking techniques, but only when it enhances taste and when it is an added value in the plate. The main products always prevail, and are supplemented with local as well as international ingredients. Contrasts play a major role both in flavour as well as texture. This combination results in a highly labour-intensive and complex cuisine, and very rich, but quite light, dishes. Another great asset is the presentation of the dishes, which are small works of art to say the least. At Nuance guests have the choice between à la carte dishes and a tasting menu of five or six courses.
An example of Theys’ kitchen is the preparation with langoustine. The langoustine is shortly grilled and comes in the plate with a mousse of raspberry, a raspberry sauce, marinated radish, whey with citrus, and the juice of langoustine. Another example is one of the desserts, which combines cucumber mousse, coconut, citrus ice, kiwi, roasted and caramelised jasmine rice, and a lukewarm emulsion of white chocolate.
Lady of the House Sofie still is responsible for the service and serves the dishes with a great smile and natural charm. Top sommelier Steven Wullaert, one of the best in Belgium, remains responsible for a memorable guidance in the glass. He selects great pairing wines to accompany Thierry’s menus or guides/surprises guests with perfect choices from the very interesting wine list.
Restaurant Nuance is an excellent restaurant where complex preparations, fine products and quality are paramount. Chef Patron Thierry Theys showcases a great maturity in his dishes and he and his team manage to create one of the most quality restaurants in Belgium. A solid choice for some top fine dining near Antwerp.
Written by Andy, Sven, Frank & Adriaan