It is mighty impressive how much quality there is in the region of Flanders. Numerous top restaurants, and one of the very best is Pastorale. Chef Patron Bart De Pooter and his wife Marie-Claire Braem are representatives of the very finest from Flanders and the best keepers of the Flemish culinary heritage from the past and into the future.
The level of innovation and playfulness of textures and flavours is at its best at Pastorale. The Chef and his team seem to have an endless source of inspiration to constantly develop new concepts, ideas and recipes. The refinement of the cuisine and the endless securing of the very best produce is something your taste buds will worship. Most of the produce comes from nearby, but the most impressive of all the ingredients is the amazing meat coming from the Dutch butcher Gosschalk in The Netherlands. There are several meet dishes to sacrifice a finger for like the beef Holstein that is five years old and dry aged for 50 days. Of course there are many other kinds of ingredients than just meat dishes, like the turbot that is grilled on the bone with béarnaise and langoustine or the delicious hake with smoked milk, cockles, razor clams and celery.
Pastorale is located close to Antwerp and Brussels in the small town of Reet. You will find the restaurant in a former presbytery, but it feels more like entering a grand villa or a château. You might think that this food temple is stiff and too much into traditional luxury, but you are wrong and will notice that even before you enter the restaurant. A modern bronze statue is standing by the entrance which starts a laughing sound once you pass by and you will immediately notice the art installations by the Belgian artist Arne Quinze when you enter the main dining room. The art is present both outside and inside at Pastorale – from the first second at the entrance to the time spent in the garden filled with contemporary statues.
Chef Patron Bart De Pooter and his team have refined Pastorale for many years now and they are still developing. The culinary movement towards low fat and sugar continues, the phases in the service become more polished with less ketchup effects of everything coming in at once after long waits. The wine list which has always been great just gets better.
Pastorale is not the typical fine dining experience, no, it is more than that – it is a refined experience which gives all your senses a pleasant massage to cherish and remember for the rest of your life.
Written by Andy