Le Cor De Chasse

We first visited Le Cor De Chasse some years ago and had a very enjoyable meal, but in the intervening years it’s gained a Michelin star, which is as good an excuse as any for a return visit. Situated just outside the village of Barvaux in the Ardennes, about an hour and a half’s drive south of Brussels, it’s an intimate and stylish place with only about a dozen small tables. As we waited we sipped a sparkling rosé aperitif and were given a selection of amuse-bouches. They weren’t listed on the menu, so I’m trying to remember what was in them: on the left, beef tartare in a tube of gelatine, in the middle…no, sorry. It’s some kind of cracker, as you can see, and the blobs on top were sharp and acidic, but the ingredients escape me for the moment. On the right, the best of all: a truffle-flavoured mousse on top of traditional Belgian crevettes grises (I’m never sure of the exact translation of this: to which of these dozens of species of shrimp does it correspond?).

We then moved through into the dining room proper, and found our table prepared with bread, salt, butter and a pipette of olive oil (sadly the rubber teat was a little worn and saggy and didn’t provide enough suction, meaning that we had to let the oil just sort of dribble out the end onto the bread).

Starter: On the left, langoustine seared in pepper, cocoa, szechuan pepper and orange, with soya and a warm emulsion of foie gras, and on the right: tartare of langoustine with chayote, yuzu gel, ginger and green anise. Both very nice, although looking back on that list of ingredients now I couldn’t honestly say I tasted them all.

Fish course: a lovely tasty, firm piece of turbot with rice, Bellota ham, leek, beetroot and onion. For an added touch of theatricality the waitress poured dashi on top, which reacted with something hidden under the rice and created a dry-ice effect. We’d seen this before in The Fat Duck, but it was still fun, and the dashi added a pleasantly meaty, smoky flavour which contrasted nicely with the delicacy of the fish.

More fish: succulent seared scallops with truffle, smoked potato purée and quinoa. Smooth and velvety, and I liked the look of the various sizes and colours of the purée blobs, despite the unfortunate oily pool on the left.

Meat: a rather rare but juicy and tender piece of pigeon breast with celery. The stuff  in the foreground looked and tasted a little like muesli, and I can’t say it did much for me, but the meat itself was very moreish.

Dessert: chunks of banana, parsnip purée, yoghurt emulsion, and The Best Peanut Ice Cream In The World Ever.

And then something a bit wacky: a piece of card with a few drops of perfume (“L’Homme” by Guerlain for me, and “be delicious” by DKNY for my wife), accompanied by a dessert which, I assume was supposed in some way to reflect or reinterpret the scents as flavours. I got lime, rhubarb, mint, rum, green tea and bergamot;

my wife got green apple, cucumber, grapefruit and rose.

I’m not entirely convinced that this accurately represented the odour components of the perfume, but it was an interesting experiment. All that was left was a cup of decaf and some macaroons before we waddled up the stairs to our room. Although this isn’t our favourite restaurant in the south of Belgium, it’s probably a close second, and well worth a look if you’re in the neighbourhood.