d’Essensi ‘s-Gravenwezel (*) 8.5 out of 10

Not sure if we had a reason to visit, but why do you need a reason to eat great food? And as it was on my very long Belgian restaurants bucket list, we made some time and went. They just received their first star in 2015/2016, being open for approximately 2,5 years now, they were awarded rather quick in my opinion….but after the tasting I believe it was well deserved.

http://www.dessensi.be/dessensi/

First thing you will notice is that it is a very nice and warm entrance, a real charming and somewhat older building that has been refurnished in a cosy way. Warm welcome by one of the girls, taking of the coat and perfect guiding to your table. I was afraid in the beginning that business was very slow, no tables filled, 2 empty rooms to cross….soon to understand I was mistaking myself. There was another room in the back and as the night went on, it was almost full and every room and seat was taken. For a regular Thursday very remarkable…

What did we eat&drink?

  • Vodka – Martini perfect with my olive….
  • Carpaccio Langoustine, vadouvan oil, Caviar of herring, young leaks
  • Omber fish, beurre noisette, hazelnut (fucking awesome dish!)
  • Dutch Duck, young cabbage, bigarade sauce (?) Croquet of basmati rice
  • Rubarb, passion fruit, coconut, lime and dragon
  • CHEESE !!! As always, the perfecte finish!
  • Great red wine of “chocolate block”

 

Good / Bad Points:

+++ Let me start with the finish…. getting a hand written THANK YOU note on the bill, gives you the perfect ending and personal touch.

+++ Leaving the restaurant, they had the correct coat ready at the exit without asking, perfect eye for detail.

+++ Overall personal attention was good, open for suggestions and explanation.

+++ First time I ever noticed a special disabled toilet.

—– The olives and the bread were of a inferior quality to the rest. Bake-off cheap ass bread rolls….and cheap ugly olives as well…

—– Why did no one offer to pour our water? Had to fill my own glass every single time…. (wine they did perfectly, why not the water?)

—– They knew the sherry I asked for, however…. it must have been somewhere in the basement because it took the 5 minutes to present it…. (but now I am really searching for negatives…)

—– The restroom doors are always opened and close to the sitting area, not so nice, could be more private.

—– No wine pairing available, only wines by the bottle, I prefer to have both options.

 

Scoring points:

Food: Great “amuse” with oyster and horseradish ice & dragon, or small tartare of veal with bordelaise. Loved the Langoustine with SEA BANANA?! Great refined dish! Also the Omber fish and hazelnut combo with SEA CABBAGE, very nice. For me the duck was too heavy, missed the sublime touches of the previous courses and not enough sauce for my taste, duck was cooked perfectly. Dessert was a let down, bit boring, to sweet&sour, had some nice flavours packed into small packages, but was not blown away…. (8.8 out of 10)

Cosiness: Nice location, bit crowded inside, tables close to each other but without being really disturbing. Everything just was fine. (9 out of 10)

Staff: Same here, besides the water not being served, they were all very friendly and open, professional and quick. Only for my feeling that night there was no real sommelier available, maybe this is the plan of the restaurant, to have all staff with good knowledge but no real specialist? (8.6 out of 10)

Price: All Michelin restaurants nowadays have a bit of a similar price level….I sometimes even think they do not calculate at all, just all give the same menu price and we will see what we’ll serve you… It is just average pricing. It was worth the meal for sure, paid in total €247.50 for the 2 of us. (7.5 out of 10)

 

OVERALL another nice 8.5 out of 10 !!!

 

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