Bookalokal: Gastronomic Vegetarian

Last night we squeezed in another bookalokal verification, and I’m glad we did as this one was something special. It’s billed as “gastronomic vegetarian”, and our host had some impressive credentials. As noted on her bookalokal page, Myriam is a graduate of the  Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Française in Paris, with many years experience working in Michelin-starred restaurants in several countries, and also as a journalist and food stylist for a range of French food magazines. Originally from France, she’s been in Belgium for a few years now, offering cooking classes and dinners for small groups.

Frankly it felt a little presumptuous of someone like me to “verify” the work of someone of her experience, but of course I wasn’t about to turn down the chance of some free gastro-nibbles. Myriam and her husband welcomed us into their (recently renovated) spacious and warm home. In the background you can see the dining table, but for our small tasting session we relaxed in the living room.

Untitled

The open fire made it feel even cosier.

Untitled

Myriam prepared us an aperitif of her own invention combining white wine, orange peel syrup and beetroot. We had more than one.

Untitled

I’m afraid I didn’t take full notes so I can’t remember all the ingredients, but everything we tried was fantastically tasty and beautifully presented. While what we ate was essentially a selection of starters, normally she would offer a full three course menu in addition to these. These little sandwiches in her own home-made bread contained a mixture of various types of seaweed.

Untitled

Various combinations of beetroot, quinoa, mushroom, olives, etc. I had several of each of these, and not just because I was hungry: they were all very moreish.

Untitled

Dried pepper wafers with a mushroom filling.

Untitled

Marinated tofu with mint and radish. I don’t usually like tofu, finding it too bland, but this technique gave it a strong yet delicate flavour.

Untitled

We chatted about her travels in India and her interest in ayurvedic cuisine, the techniques she used in these dishes, the paucity of interesting vegetarian offerings in most restaurants, and they showed us some mouthwatering photos of some of the events they’ve recently hosted.

In all it was an eye-opening evening. While I’m in no way prejudiced against vegetarian food I was still surprised by the variety, quality and sheer deliciousness of Myriam’s creations, and before we’d even finished eating we were mentally checking our agendas to find a date for a return trip for a full length meal. Book now: she’s going to be very popular.