Exquisite cuisine into the woods

Nested inside a national park that borders Belgium and the Netherlands, this newly designed heavenly spa resort houses a 2 Michelin star restaurant, where I had one of the best meals of my life.

Exquisite cuisine into the woods

Hamachi & foie gras with apple, green curry, celery

Nested inside a national park that borders Belgium and the Netherlands, this newly designed heavenly spa resort houses a 2 Michelin star restaurant, where I had one of the best meals of my life.

La Butte Aux Bois is composed of 3 different parts: le manor, la villa, and the newly designed spa retreat la foret. The original manor used to be the private home of the owner, Sir Lagasse de Locht, who later turned it into a hotel with a gastronomic restaurant, La Source.
In May 2017, they built an extension called La Foret, a contemporary spa retreat.
I check into my cozy room in the Manor with a view of the garden, and then headed down to ‘test out’ their new spa. 

Upon entering, there is a room where guests can dine or enjoy a beverage in their robes. This beautifully designed spa consists of a pool, outdoor whirlpool, hammam, and sauna. After a few hours here, I felt completely relaxed and far far away from the hustle and bustle of Paris.

Having recently received its second Michelin star, I was excited to experience chef Ralf Berendsen’s cuisine. The amuse-bouches camed and wowed: olive 2 ways (green with vermouth, black with foie gras), razor clams with fennel and citrus, oyster with foie gras snow and sunchokes. I knew from that moment it was going to be a memorable meal.
The hamachi & foie gras with apple, green curry, and celery blew my mind. It was a perfect balance in textures and flavors. The combination of sashimi with foie gras and green curry was something I’ve never seen blend together before.
Then came langoustine prepared two different ways with same ingredients: yuzu, paprika, tandoori masala, coconut. Chef Berendsen uses the best local ingredients but takes us around the world with the spices he uses.
Next was the turbot topped with a thin slice of foie gras with miso, smoked eel, asparagus and purslane leaves, in dashi broth with yuzu cream. A complex, earthy dish brightened with citrus flavors. We then traveled to the middle east with Pyrenean lamb with couscous, lemon yogurt, spices, and morels.

Chef continues to wow with desserts: foie gras ice cream with yuzu and ginger beer foam, hazelnuts, followed by a sorbet version of the Waldorf salad. The meal was made even more memorable thanks to Sommelier Thijs van Sambeeck’s perfect pairings.


Although there seems to be a common theme / pairing in chef Berensen’s menu- foie gras, citrus, spices - the way each dish was composed completely stood out from the next. Perhaps it was my love of foie gras and Asian ingredients, this dinner was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life.

 

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