To be able to fill leisure intel by fjzhxb

VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 30

									To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.
Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)

© www.douglasmoors.be

CHAPTER 4
Dining and Hospitality

Dining and Hospitality

Expo 58 and Other Must-see 2008 Events in Belgium
One of the highlights of 2008 is Expo58, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the year that Brussels hosted its landmark World Fair and emerged as the modern capital of Europe.

Expo58 In April 1958, the first World Fair of the postwar period was enthusiastically inaugurated in Brussels in an atmosphere of optimism, scientific progress and peace. In 2008, the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Brussels 1958 World Fair with a whole range of year-long events, exhibitions, guided tours and festivities which underline the importance of this event in Brussels’ history. This was the year that Brussels shook off its image of provincialism to become a modern capital of Europe which was to provide a home to the new European institutions. The most powerful symbol of the 1958 World Fair is of course the Atomium, the 102-

© Etienne De Graeve

metre high “giant steel balls in the sky” which has become synonymous with Brussels. Representing an iron molecule magnified 165 billion times, the structure is a striking piece of architecture which manages to be both historic and avant-garde at the same time. It is a tribute to the Atomic Age and reminds us that the splitting of the atom, which ushered in the era of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, was a defining image of the cold-war generation. The Atomium’s designer, Andre Waterkeyn, commented a month before its completion that it was “the symbol of our age, when scientists have greatly expanded our knowledge of matter”. This matter, he said,

is condensed energy “which, if the people themselves so wish, can be used for the greater well-being of our civilisation”. Renovated between 2004 and 2006, the Atomiums’s 9 spheres have since attracted more than a million visitors and are one of the tourism highlights of Brussels. Architecturally, the 1958 Expo was characterised by many other groundbreaking designs which abandoned the symmetries of the pre-war years and used oblique lines and curves, walls of glass, smooth and coloured materials as well as tensile structures and hyperbolic shells. The ‘58 Expo was also a celebration of emerging consumer culture and opened people’s eyes

82

Best of Belgium

to a consumer lifestyle, largely demonstrated in the modern gadgets and conveniences brought over by the Americans. The 2008 Expo captures the feel of the ’58 version through exhibitions of fashion, furniture, posters, models, antiques and other paraphernalia from that time. One of the highlights of the year-long commemoration is the ‘Pavilion of Temporary Happiness’, a temporary structure built from 33,000 yellow beer crates, which considers central themes in previous World Fairs, namely progress, universalism and happiness. “Between Utopia and Reality” is an exhibition in the Atomium which uses archival material including plans, films and models to take the visitor back to the idyllic, hopeful world of 1958. This was a time when progress and happiness were inextricably entwined and Belgium was the tenth most powerful country in the world. Another notable exhibition at the Royal Museum for Central Africa recalls Belgium’s former colonies. Brussels Open Monuments Days The annual Open Monuments Days is the perfect opportunity to experience different aspects of Brussels’ architectural heritage. The theme of the 2008 event is “Expo 58: before and after. Brussels’ heritage since the Second World War” and allows visitors to appreciate the importance of this historical event in the architectural history of Belgium. Putting the city’s post-war architecture under the spotlight, the programme will provide access to both public and private buildings, houses, businesses, sports and recreation facilities, churches and other places of architectural interest. Visitors can see the buildings on their own or join a guided tour for a more in-depth experience. Cityscape “Cityscape reflects a moment frozen in time, an instant,” says Belgian artist Arne Quinze, the creator of an 18-metre high giant sculpture of tangled wood that is on display for a year in Uptown Brussels’ Quartier Louise. The sculpture, which is 40 metres long and 25 metres wide, rests upon 12metre high wooden stilts and will be drawing curious onlookers until September 2008. Quinze says that his sculpture was designed to be a “place of introspection, silence and interaction”. One of a series of giant wooden structures (the previous one was built in the Nevada desert in 2006), Cityscape is deliberately open to interpretation and is built in a way that encourages observer interaction. The

© Etienne De Graeve

sculpture was partly sponsored by the Brussels Louise Association and reflects the regeneration of Uptown Brussels. Ghent Festivities Once a wealthy medieval city and the secondlargest city in Europe after Paris, Ghent has been called one of the most beautiful historic cities in Europe. This historic heart of Flanders hosts its annual Ghent Festivities for ten days in September with an enormous festival which includes a parade, international music, dance, theatre and puppetry festivals, fireworks displays and other free events. More than one and half million people attend every year to bask in the wealth of cultural activities. The festival was started in the middle of the 19th century to attract prosperous people to the city. From horse races, jousts, tournaments, hot air balloons and parades of giants, the festivities have gone through numerous changes before arriving at the format they have today. Four separate festivals make up the current programme — the Blue Note Records jazz festival, the international street theatre festival, an international puppet-buskers festival and the dance festival 10 Days Off. Scattered around the picturesque city, the festivities attract a range of internationally-renowned theatre companies, jazz and contemporary musicians and puppeteers. Ghent’s city centre offers numerous places of interest. From St Michael’s bridge there is a wonderful view of the Ghent skyline with the three impressive towers of St Nicholas’ Church, the bell tower and St Bavo’s cathedral with its famous painting “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by Jan van Eyck. Bruges From November 2008, one of the highlights on the Bruges festival calendar will be “The

© Egicarte

Face of Lace”, a four-month long celebration of the delicate fabric in its hometown. Four museums highlight different aspects of lacework, juxtaposing historic lace collections with the works of today’s fashion and design gurus. No longer associated with dusty and derelict tabletops, lace is back and it’s hip. Artists and designers use cutting-edge techniques and materials to give new meaning to this historic, intricate fabric. Visitors are given a map to lead them through the lace route, and the English design magazine Frame will be publishing a special edition in time for the event.

© Egicarte

www.expo58.eu

Best of Belgium

83

Dining and Hospitality

The Conrad Brussels, Home Sweet Home
There is a place where elegance and luxury meet to create unforgettable memories. Welcome to the Conrad Brussels Hotel, where the individuality spirit is respected through the Luxury of Being Yourself for every guest’s enjoyment.

84

Best of Belgium

The Conrad Brussels is undoubtedly the most beautiful and contemporary luxury hotel in the capital. Located on the famous Avenue Louise, it offers its guests a proximity to the most elegant shops in the city. Opened in 1993, the hotel has preserved its magnificent 19th century façade, giving it a unique charm. The hotel has 269 magnificent rooms and suites, the Loui Lounge & Bar, the restaurant Cafe Wiltcher’s, and a traditional Lobby Lounge. All are imbued with authenticity and character. In addition, away from the hustle and bustle of Avenue Louise and exclusively for the sunny days, there is the Terrasse Rouge with access to the internal courtyard. Ideal for all business meetings and conferences, the hotel provides a 1,200m² area suited for this purpose. The hotel’s guests also have direct access to Aspria Avenue Louise, the health & beauty club. And when excellent service rhymes with satisfaction, the recognition is not too far to be found. Therefore the Conrad Brussels’ recognition has been rewarded many times over the years. In 2007, three prestigious awards were conferred to the Conrad Brussels, of which two in September and a third one in November. Firstly there was the “Conde Nast Traveller UK Award” which recognized the Conrad Brussels as the best overseas business hotel in the Benelux. Secondly, the “Five Star Diamond Award” was conferred by the American Academy of Hospitality Services which has been attributed to the Conrad Brussels for seven years in a row. And finally, the Conrad Brussels was voted the 69th world’s best hotel, with the “Institutional Investor 2007 World’s Best Hotels Award”. The contemporary attitude at the Conrad Brussels involves variety, delicacy and talent which are the key to its success. The Loui Lounge & Bar is equipped with sofas, deep leather armchairs, American shutters and a warm ochre and celadon touch which dominate the area. This mixture of diverse

classic furnishings and placid ambience will tempt guests to come back over and over again. The perfect spot for leisure reading or a fun gathering with friends over a drink; for coffee, light lunches, cocktails and even latenight snacks, the table rises to your height. It is astonishing how it welcomes guests almost around the clock. While business people come in the early afternoon, the fashionable crowd appears in the late evenings. Guests are attended with an attractive smile, newspapers are finely selected as is the music, spirits and champagne. At the restaurant, Cafe Wiltcher’s, there is a more relaxed atmosphere to be found. Subtle shades and dominant hues such as orange, camellia, purple and lily blue have been harmoniously mixed to perfection. The Café Wiltcher’s innovating design evokes a sense of serenity, which sustains the brightness of the room. On fine days you can enjoy meals outside on the magnificent Terrasse Rouge, whereas on weekends the exquisite and fashionable Sunday Brunch is everyone’s favourite rendezvous. Last but not least, located near the reception, the Lobby Lounge is perfect for the traditional afternoon tea, to gather with friends or just for a drink during the day. The Conrad Brussels is the city’s ideal place for business, meetings and conferences. As The Conrad Brussels is located in the international business quarter, it has been able to take advantage of this situation by offering facilities adapted to the needs of business people. The hotel offers postal, faxing and translation services. The Business centre provides photocopy service, internet access as well as secretarial services. In addition, the exceptional infrastructure of the hotel makes it ideal for hosting events. To custom-design each event is the Conrad Brussels’ priority. The Conrad Brussels has the largest ballroom area without columns in the city. Whether the client desires an intimate diner, a walk-in banquet or a reception-

style event, the talented team of experts will take care of everything from planning to execution. Its lodging capacity is entirely flexible. The hotel also has 9 meeting rooms accommodating from 10 to 60 people and all benefit from natural lighting. At the leading edge of technology, the Conrad Brussels has a “video-conferencing” room. These rooms are particularly appreciated for management meetings for companies or press centres. The sophisticated traveller is exhausted of being on the road. Therefore, whether the travelling is leisure or business, the Conrad Brussels is the home away from home. The Conrad Brussels is simply the place where the Luxury of Being Yourself meets with the guest’s highest expectations and a departure will be followed by a future and certain return.

Conrad Brussels Avenue Louise 71 1050 Brussels Belgium Tel: 02/542.42.42

Best of Belgium

85

Dining and Hospitality

Hotel Metropole
Open since 1895, the Hotel Metropole (only remaining hotel of the 19th century in Brussels) is noticeable by the quality of its service and its internal decoration.

86

Best of Belgium

In fact, the main entrance has been decorated in French renaissance style, the reception hall in Empire style, some rooms in Art Deco or in Louis XVI styles and the restaurant in Italian baroque style. In April 2002, the Council of Monuments and Sites of Region of Brussels-Capital formally protected the Métropole Hotel’s façade as well as the ground floor. The Metropole Hotel is marvelously well located right in the historical center of the European capital, just a few steps away from the historical monuments such as the “GrandPlace”, the “Bourse” and the “Theatre de la Monnaie” and close to the city’s most exciting shopping thoroughfare. The hotel features an elegant bar “Le 19ième”, a gastronomical restaurant “L’Alban Chambon”, a Room Service 24 hours a day, 22 venue rooms for reception, banquets, meetings and seminars accommodating up to 500 guests (including the Metropole Executive Center – M.E.C.), a breakfast room « Le Jardin Indien » (for up to 180 people) and

298 appointed rooms incl. 15 spacious suites, containing original pieces of art and furnishing. Prestige & Smartness Famous and loved for its entrance hall that has been walked upon by celebrities, and for its huge reception desk covered many times by film makers, Hotel Metropole is undoubtedly the master of the tradition kept up. From its debut in 1895 to the present day, Hotel Metropole has been welcoming stars and personalities from the worlds of film, music, business and politics, who are attracted by the quality of its service, creative cuisine and grand surroundings.

31, place de Brouckère, B – 1000 Brussels (Belgium) Tel : +32-2-217 23 00 Fax : +32-2-218 02 20 info@metropolehotel.be www.metropolehotel.com

Best of Belgium

87

Dining and Hospitality

Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp: the Biggest in Antwerp!
The 4-star Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp hotel is a bright shining star in the Antwerp hotel sky.

Its ideal location in the heart of the city, opposite the Central Station - where the high speed train Thalys stops - makes it a perfect venue for people coming from London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, etc. The remarkable hotel building emphasizes this “deluxe” hotel’s extraordinary style and atmosphere that has only intensified since the start of its refreshment beginning 2007. Then, all of the 228 guestrooms were renovated from top to toe, including new furniture, lighting, carpet and new paintwork throughout. Recently, Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp opened 19 additional luxury apartment suites on its 3rd floor, specially for long stays. In addition, the hotel has bought the Atlanta Hotel, a few meters from its doorstep on the Astrid Square. Renovation has started to transform this building into

an additional attractive business hotel. Opening is due for the end of 2008. At that point the Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp will represent the biggest offer in guestrooms and conference space in Antwerp! Extra privacy Recently, Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp answered the market’s request for hotel rooms with more privacy and individuality and created 19 deluxe apartment suites (www.anewdimension.be). The luxury apartments, from 55 to 75 m², have a separate bedroom, luxury bathroom with bath and trendy shower, seating area, desk, dining space with kitchenette, micro wave, Nespresso machine, fridge, dishwasher, etc. Guests can enjoy the privacy of home with all the comfort, service and benefits

88

Best of Belgium

of a 4-star hotel. This means that the apartment is cleaned daily and that guests can call room service, make use of the fitness club, the swimming pool, etc. A central lounge area on the apartment floor offers the possibility to invite relations or friends to have a cozy meeting or drink at any moment of the day. It is also possible to rent a fully equipped private office on the same floor, to offer apartment guests the joy of working while the homely spirit and comfort of their apartment is being respected. Full comfort zone Speaking of comfort, the Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp offers all its guests extensive relaxation facilities. The 5-star Health & Leisure Centre corresponds with a genuine fitness center, offering the latest for an intensive work out. The indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and solarium invite guests to relax thoroughly. Facilities also include several types of massages, including hot stone massages. For a culinary treat, guests are welcomed in The Square, the hotel restaurant/brasserie/ terrace where the chef and his team offer an international, trendy menu, based on the traditional French cuisine. This means light dishes, delicately presented, with an excellent taste and not flooded with heavy sauces. All of this can be enjoyed in the contemporary interior of The Square – overlooking the Astrid Square through huge windows - inviting for a nice cocktail, a timed business lunch or a romantic diner. Conference & Banqueting Last but not least, the Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp is known in Antwerp as the largest meeting & conference hotel with 18 flexible and multi-functional conference rooms (welcoming up to 1.000 delegates), featuring air-conditioning, wireless LAN and modern audio-visual equipment, e.g. videoconferencing. Comfortable seating areas on the conference floors are inviting for informal contacts during events. Additionally, the hotel offers Aquatopia, a unique wonderwaterworld, showcasing over 10.000 exotic fish and reptiles in their natural environment. Here you can organize an exceptional training break, an exotic start of a conference or an exclusive reception within 2 meters distance of sharks! And the future is promising with the transformation of the former Atlanta Hotel a few meters from Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp’s doorstep. A personal approach and homely atmosphere will be even more sensible in this new hotel. Opening is due end of 2008. We’ll see you then!

Park Plaza Hotels Europe is a full-service hotel company providing management, franchise, sales, marketing, reservations, training, procurement, technical, licensing and design services, operating from regional offices in London, Amsterdam and Berlin. At the beginning of 2007, the company had 30 hotels and nearly 6,000 guestroom open and under development in 7 countries throughout EMEA, with the vision to double its portfolio by 2009.

Park Plaza Astrid Antwerp Koningin Astridplein 7 2018 Antwerpen Tel: +32 (0)3 203 12 34 Fax: +32 (0)3 203 12 51 E-mail: ppaares@pphe.com www.parkplazaantwerp.com www.anewdimension.be www.parkplaza.com

Best of Belgium

89

Dining and Hospitality

B-Aparthotels: “Wherever you are in Brussels, we’re right there!”
Since the spring of 2008, the Brussels hotel market has gained a new player.

B-Aparthotels is the former Europarthotels united with the Hilton Résidence hotel, which this new hotel chain recently bought. Having more than 150 luxury apartments in the city of Brussels, B-Aparthotels combines a full hotel service with the privacy and homely atmosphere of an apartment. Every fully furnished apartment is designed in a distinctive style and offers all the comfort guests need to make their stay perfect, whether it is for one night, a few weeks or even for months!

An additional plus and characteristic is that the four B-Aparthotels are located on the main axes of Brussels: • B-Aparthotel Montgomery is easily accessible by metro and located in a prestigious neighborhood within walking distance from the European Commission headquarters and NATO. Close to the historical center and its famous shopping areas. • B-Aparthotel Louise is ideally located

near the elegant Avenue Louise and just a few steps away from the most important shopping streets, surrounded by cozy bars and restaurants. • B-Aparthotel Ambiorix, the former Hilton Résidence, is situated in the heart of the European district, in the residential area on the art deco “Square Ambiorix”. Both The European institutions and the historic and vibrant city centre are only a few steps away. • B-Aparthotel Grand’Place, currently being

90

Best of Belgium

built and due to open in the fall of 2008, is located in the historical center of Brussels, next to the Grand Place and the famous wine and dine area “Rue des Bouchers”. It is the ideal location to discover the treasures of the city such as the prestigious Galerie de la Reine or the National Museum of Art. Here guests will feel the lively vibrations of the Brussels city life! Through the name B-Aparthotels, people can immediately recognize what it’s all about:

aparthotels. The B can stand for Belgium or Brussels, but much more important is the total resonance of the name in which lies the welcoming intention that this aparthotel group carries out: B A PART of us! Every guest of B-Aparthotels should feel welcome and almost at home, through a personal and flexible approach, of course, always with high respects for his or her privacy. To support this inviting name, a palette of fresh colors has been chosen. The colors are there to brighten up one’s day (and your stay). For every hotel there’s a color, returning in logos but also as elegant, colorful touches throughout. B-Aparthotels is the answer to the rising demand for long term residences and the limited offer of it on the Brussels hotel market. Therefore, the ambition of B-Aparthotels

is to grow and to have an apartment hotel on every key location in Brussels in the end. That’s why from now on, there’s a new saying in Brussels: “Wherever you are in Brussels, B-Aparthotels is right there!” B-Aparthotels is there to welcome you and to have you enjoy Brussels, the sparkling capital of Europe, in your own personal way!

Thierry Vermeiren General Manager B-Aparthotels | Head office Square Ambiorix 28 B-1000 Brussels Tel: +32 (0)2 743 51 11 Fax: +32 (0)2 743 51 12 info@b-aparthotels.com www.b-aparthotels.com

Best of Belgium

91

Dining and Hospitality

‘Kasteel Coninxdonck’
Incomparable festivities...

Five minutes from the centre of Ghent is a luxurious building in Empire style in the middle of an oasis of a beautiful park with a lake and double walls. A festive welcome in the garden, a sparkling cocktail in the attractive bar followed by a lavish meal or a delightful buffet in the banquet hall for 230 to 250 people or in one of the other lounges. There are innumerable possibilities. A couple of svelte and proud mother swans float by on the ponds of Coninxdonck with a string of little ones behind them. Every year they come from the North to spend the winter here and for centuries they have been defying time, such as the daughters of China in the world-famous bestseller “Wild Swans” of Jung Chang.

History The history of Coninxdonck goes back to ancient times. In the Middle Ages, the castle became property of the family Borluut (1302) through marriage with Elisabeth Muysconinckx, Dame van Coninxdonck, and in the 18th century it was a summer residence for nobility, generations of barons de Thysebaert, gentlemen van Coninckxdonck. Consequently it belonged to the rich flax merchant - family De Sloover and it became the favoured venue for an aristocratic petanque club from Ghent. An attractive interior This Middle Age castle has been attractively decorated. A floor in natural wood, white walls harmoniously combined with Prussian-

blue, lemon-yellow and lively-green curtains. Candle light and fresh flowers from the garden ornate the romantically laid tables. Culinary edifying Organising parties is a real life ambition for the owner, Dirk van Brussel. He himself stands in the kitchen and he is only too happy to inform you of the possibilities of his refined art of cooking. His well balanced wine list, the freshness of the products and the quality of his meals belong, among many other qualities, to the attractions of this castle. Coninxdock beer His passion for cooking led Dirk to brewing his own beer - a white beer “CONINXDONCK” - the Dobbel and Tripel flow abundantly in

92

Best of Belgium

this place. Remember, Belgian beer is world famous, especially for its ‘special’ beers, the top-fermented aromatic beers. The Coninxdonck Dobbel and Tripel are perfect examples of such wonderfully crafted ales. Club house for various service clubs In addition, Coninxdonck is the club house of: • Rotary International Wetteren • Rotary International Ghent Zeehaven-Maritime • Probus International Scaldis • Probus International Ghent Zeehaven-Maritime • Round Table International Wetteren • Marnix Ghent International Corneel Heymans

• 51 International Ghent • Innerwheel International Also the “Confrérie du Sabre d’Or” Belgian Embassy de la Belgique, the wordfamous Champagne Guild, prefers the Coninxdonck castle as their meeting place.

Kasteel Coninxdonck Koningsdonkstraat 118 9050 Gent Tel: 09 - 230 31 64 Fax: 09 - 231 05 99 E-mail: dirk.vanbrussel@pandora.be www.kasteelconinxdonck.com

Best of Belgium

93

Dining and Hospitality

Kasteel van Lebbeke
A unique, stylishly restored décor and well-cared-for service.

You already have a view of the open kitchen that was furnished in the original cellar, from the two entrance gates. Just like the natural kitchen of yesteryear, Jan Cami’s meals are based on herbs from the castle’s herb garden and fresh products. Your taste buds will be spoilt and you will enjoy refined

cuisine with home-made oils, sauces and syrups, depending on the seasonal offer. The restaurant is known from afar for its superb four- or five-course dinners. You will be surprised by a menu that changes every month or during a meticulous business lunch in a unique, stylishly restored décor

94

Best of Belgium

and well-cared-for service. You can also go to Lebbeke Castle for receptions, seminars and parties for up to 150 people. Parties for up to 400 people are held in what used to be the coach house and accompanying orangery. If you have specific wishes, you can contact us without obligations.

Leo Duboisstraat 41 9280 Lebbeke Tel: 052/38 09 09 Fax: 052/38 09 10 E-mail: info@KasteelVanLebbeke.be www.kasteelvanlebbeke.be

Best of Belgium

95

Dining and Hospitality

The Essence of our Philosophy? Hospitality and Pampering.
Welcome to the unique ambience of La Butte aux Bois, a paradise for guests who are looking for the ultimate in attention and service.

The fairytale estate was built in 1924 for Knight Lagasse de Locht. The Bullens family acquired it in 1970 and lived in it for 15 years. In the 1980’s and 1990’s large-scale renovation and decorating work transformed the residential section into a comfortable and versatile hostellerie. Hostellerie La Butte aux Bois is situated in a restfully green and natural setting. The majestic garden features a lake, little avenues and idyllic spots for you to forget the cares of the

world. The 5 C’s of Relais & Châteaux (Courtoisie, Charme, Caractère, Calme and Cuisine) represent the gastronomic philosophy of personal hospitality you’ll find at La Butte aux Bois. Lunch or dinner can be served in the elegant Restaurant La Source or on the sheltered terrace with glorious view over the park. The cuisine of ‘La Source’ is a gastronomic treat with its combinations of refined dishes and excellent wines from our unique wine cellar. After a liqueur or

96

Best of Belgium

a cup of coffee in the atmospheric bar or by the open fire, you can retire to one of the 40 comfortably furnished rooms dotted throughout the manoir and villa. The park of the Hostelry is adjacent to the large Hoge Kempen National Park nature reserve, with walks, mountain bike and horse riding trails right at the door, plus 5 golf courses within a 20 km radius. The central location of La Butte aux Bois between the Burgundian city of Maastricht (6 km) and Liege (30 km)

and Aachen (40 km) offers a wide variety of cultural and recreational sights. ‘Aquamarijn’ is the health and wellness centre in the vaults of the castle. The swimming pool, sauna, whirlpool and various treatment rooms offer you the change to relax and recharge your batteries. Come and visit the Hostellerie La Butte aux Bois. The philosophy of providing the best in personal attention and pampering is your guarantee of a totally unforgettable stay.

Hostellerie La Butte aux Bois Paalsteenlaan 90 3620 Lanaken Tel: +32 (0)89 73 97 70 Fax: +32 (0)89 72 16 47 E-mail: info@labutteauxbois.be www.labutteauxbois.be

Best of Belgium

97

Dining and Hospitality

L’Albon Chambon
Open since 1895, the Hotel Metropole (only remaining hotel of the 19th century in Brussels) is noticeable by the quality of its service and its internal decoration.

98

Best of Belgium

In the historical center of Brussels, not far away from the “Grand Place”, the “Bourse” and the “Théâtre de la Monnaie”, the Hotel Metropole looms majestically. In its interior it shelters a famous restaurant “L’Alban Chambon” which is unavoidable as far as Brussels cookery is concerned. It distinguishes itself with its service and its sumptuous interior decoration in a typical Italian baroque style. Not less impressive, the cuisine, classic and innovative, is a real jewel in the gastronomic field. For more than 18 years, Dominique Michou, the Executive Chef, proposes seasonal menu cards suggesting a very large selection of his specialties elaborated with fish, meat, foie gras and lobster. Back to basics ... Noble products and raw material make real valued and chosen according to the seasons ... That’s the philosophy of the menu card, in permanent evolution. The Sommelier is always at the client’s disposal to make a selection between 250 different wines and more than 4000 bottles in the cave. “L’Alban Chambon” restaurant is open from Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner time and is closed on Saturday, Sunday and holiday. To begin or follow this exceptional moment, the bar “Le 19ième” offers an elegant, refined and relaxing atmosphere in a timeless decor, serving a large selection of cocktails and fine aged whiskies. Witness the Hotel Metropole history, a recent refurbishment let us discover a number of paintings dating from the beginning of the 20th Century on the ceiling. Open from Monday to Sunday. Musical entertainment by our pianist every day.

De Brouckèreplein, 31 B - 1000 Brussel BELGIË Tel: +32-2-217 23 00 Fax: +32-2-218 02 20

Best of Belgium

99

Dining and Hospitality

Museum Brasserie
Flawless cooking and real Belgian food

Some comments from our guests… “If you’re doing the royal museums at all (and the art museum is fabulous, from Breughel to Magritte) do make a reservation to lunch at Museum Brasserie (www.museumfood.be). It is a ‘newish’ venture of Peter Goossens, the three-Michelin-starred chef of Hof van Cleve. It is SUPERB - wonderfully refined takes on the Belgian classics - not very expensive and a gorgeous room to boot. “I can say that the Moules Nature were by far the best that I have ever eaten anywhere - huge and just seasoned enough to let the natural flavour standout. I am not sure that I even made a dent in it. Frites were great. Would definitely go back. “The menu offers a wide range of Belgian dishes which amazingly, is not that common in Brussels. There are traditional dishes, Belgian dishes with a twist and some classics. There is of course the option of a Menu Terroir Belge (Belgian Menu) including

100

Best of Belgium

Belgian classics such as Paté du chef, Flemish stew, or flan caramel. For anyone not familiar with Belgian food, a very good start. “We also asked for the wine menu, which again was a very pleasant surprise. Wines start at a very reasonable price and are conveniently divided into whites, fruity reds, medium reds and powerful reds. The choice of wines (and prices!) is though incredible and there is something to suit every budget and taste. There is also a good choice of Belgian beers on offer. “Personally, I ordered the pig cheeks in kriek sauce. The dishes arrived in small little pots, with Belgian frites on the side. We tried Eel in green sauce. Absolutely amazingly soft, tender meat, a great sauce, the eel was delicious and the frites were pure Belgian perfection. “Sounds like a lot? The portions are well designed, and there is very little to keep one away from the desserts. Have I not been living in Belgium, I know I would order the

Fromages Belges, a very tempting offer of four cheeses and their respective chutneys/ jams. Divine. A perfect end to a true culinary delightful dinner. “Flawless cooking and real Belgian food. You rarely come across this well cooked food (and not Michelin starred!), and such an interesting choice. A must for Belgian food lovers, a must for tourists wanting to discover more about Belgian food. Definitely a restaurant I will recommend further, and probably go back to myself. “Some restaurants in Brussels leave you feeling giddy, if not a bit ecstatic. Museum Brasserie 3, place Royale; 32-2-5083580; www.museumfood.be. A new place from the Flemish chef Peter Goossens, is among them. (His other restaurant, Hof van Cleve, has three Michelin stars.) Set in a Victor Horta building that’s part of the

Royal Museums of Fine Arts, the minimalist interior is dominated by immense black chandeliers and attracts Flemish hipsters and matrons alike. The kitchen specializes in updated Belgian classics like eel in green sauce, veal kidneys with Ghent mustard and spit-roasted cockerel? all accompanied by perfect frites. The wine cellar, encased in sleek glass, offers a nice mix of French and New World varieties, including a delightful Flemish chardonnay with hints of seaweed. For dessert, order the waffles from Liège, a town in Belgium, which manage to be baroque without being too sweet.”

MuseumBrasserie Koningsplein 3 Place Royale 1000 Brussels Reservations: +32 (0) 2 508 35 80 Email: info@museumfood.be www.museumfood.be

Best of Belgium

101

Dining and Hospitality

On the Way to 20 Years of Top Quality
“Taste and enjoy the smells of my open kitchen! I promise you a tasteful experience!” Chef Huis De Colvenier - Patrick Van Herck

Huis De Colvenier in the very heart of Antwerp is a real trendsetter. Its slogan is ‘class and quality’. The restaurant is located in an exultant patrician’s house in the Sint Antoniusstraat. A summer terrace – which also serves as a winter garden – and a stylish salon make this a very special house. But the wine cellar is especially unique. The cellar is impressive and with much character, exceptionally suitable for drinking an aperitif with owner/chef Patrick Van Herck. In his open kitchen you will smell, see and taste the flavours of foie grass, shellfish, fresh vegetables,

cheeses and desserts. Tell the chef your wants and desires and he will work his magic to make your personal menu appear on your plate, adjusted for your taste, time and budget. Discover and experience Huis De Colvenier. This will become a personal and surprising experience. Open, French kitchen – “We serve class and quality at an honest price.” Patrick Van Herck is a top chef. Just like his teachers (Bruneau, Scholteshof, ’t Laurierblad, Belle Epoque in Leuven and Robuchon in Paris) Patrick swears by a French kitchen, giving it an own identity using the creativity he was born with. His menu follows the seasons, but asparagus,

102

Best of Belgium

the stairs or the elevator and enjoy your before-dinner drink underground, right next to hundreds of high-quality wines, representing the whole world. The wine list was established by Danny Vanderschueren, sommelier and wine ambassador 2007 and also the owner of the star-rated restaurant Folliez in the Belgian town of Mechelen. The stylish and charming wine cellars date from 1897. In 2007 Patrick expanded his cellars. No fewer than 150 people can enjoy world-class wines, classified by themes for each country. Wine radiates elegance, prestige and quality. That is why this unique wine cellar is eminently suitable to add that extra touch to your event. A meeting in the wine cellar or a wine tasting as a quick break in your meeting? A remarkable environment for celebrating a birth, birthday or anniversary? Huis De Colvenier’s wine cellar is eminently suitable! The wine cellar as a unique backdrop for your: • birthday, anniversary • birth, first communion • funeral • wedding • conference, meeting, etc. Sample Menu Aperitif Reception with a tour of the wine cellar Champagne and horse d’oeuvres First course: cold appetizer Enjoy foie gras, Belgian veal and mixed small pieces of salad Jonagold apples and salad with nuts, sprinkled with honey vinaigrette Second course: warm appetizer Spooning light-creamy asparagus cream soup, pieces of lobster, scampi and scallops, perfumed with curry

Third course: warm appetizer Sea bass baked in the skin with celeriac, together with Ostend grey shrimp Freshen up Granité of red wine and orange sherbet Main course Crispy lamb pieces with Flemish grain mustard with potatoes gratin Cheese Assortment of ripened cheeses with grapes and nuts Dessert Soft Doyonné pears filled with anise liqueur, Marie-Brizard, vanilla icecream and raspberry sauce Coffee Coffee or tea with sweets and Belgian chocolate Art and gastronomy go hand in hand Patrick Van Herck has a good, personal and permanent collection of wall paintings, paintings and etchings. He chose southern colours and playful murals for the summer terrace. A Mastenbroek mural shows a red parrot. Patrick himself dared to put in two of his own oil paintings. He painted a lobster’s antennae and a lemon peel over the frame. The result is playful and surprising. A gigantic cabbage by Antoon Verbeeck decorates the salon. Patrick also owns about 10 hand-coloured etchings by Thomas Ross, but he also has a painting by 19th century animal painter Karel Verlat and a collection of replicas of Joseph Linnig, the Antwerp 19th century landscape painter.

scampi and lamb remain at the core of the house. The menu features daily-fresh products like foie grass, exclusive kinds of fish, game and homemade desserts. Discuss your menu with the chef while sipping your aperitif in the wine cellar. You can shorten the proposed menu or make it longer, choose the wine you prefer, your preference for fish, etc. The chef and his employees fulfill your wishes. The Grand Cru of wine cellars “Clear a path through the maze of snug little underground cellars and niches.” Let yourself be spoiled in restaurant Huis de Colvenier and don’t forget to visit the wine cellar. Take

Restaurant Huis De Colvenier Sint Antoniusstraat 8 2000 Antwerpen Tel: +32 (0)3/226.65.73 Email: info@colvenier.be www.colvenier.be

Best of Belgium

103

Vincenzo Regine Chef par Excellence
Our chef, Vincenzo Regine, born in Ischia has been brought up in the purest tradition of the island. Off Naples, Ischia is rich in Mediterranean flavors: Venetian style calf liver, fried polenta, sun dried vegetables in olive oil, calamari, octopus and shellfish are specialties that echo Vincenzo’s childhood.

Vincenzo always intended to go into cooking and his visionary uncle initiated him in this discipline. His collaboration with two masters of Italian cuisine, Sergio Mei, Four Season’s Chef of Milan and Alberico Penati, restaurant’s Chef of the Aspinalls refined his talent and led him to Brussels, where he participated at the Bocconi launch. This year, as Executive Chef, he celebrates the fifth anniversary of the best Italian restaurant of the city. He has received many prestigious awards such as Maître Cuisinier / Master Cook of Belgium 2008, as well as prize winner

104

Best of Belgium

Chef Vincenzo

for the Best Italian Cuisine in Brussels by the Deltas of Gastronomy 2007. Italian experience Italian cuisine is cuisine par excellence; it associates pleasant colours and various savours. Its simplicity and conviviality explain its success around the world and why it is present in the finest gastronomic places. Its basics are classical, but leave the door open for evolution, depending on trends or on one’s will. Chef Vincenzo Regine: “Personally, I enjoy the fact that it is so diversified, with products and preparations proper to each individual region of Italy. I do like the idea of inviting

Bocconi’s guests to travel and discover my country from a different point of view through my cuisine. My aim is to achieve the highest possible quality and for that I select most of the ingredients from their place of production - troffie from Liguria, extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany, Parma ham and parmesan cheese from Emilia Romana.” As seasons go by, products follow one another on the markets. In our Gourmet Menu, our Chef wishes to highlight those products. As from June 2008, Chef Vincenzo will focus on a specific Italian region season by season, starting with Napoli, his birthplace. So visiting the Bocconi is a real rediscovery of Italian Cuisine, more open to creativity

than most of the traditional restaurants in Belgium. Hence business people, diplomats and demanding gourmands dine at the Hotel Amigo and feel at home.

Restaurant Bocconi Rue de l’Amgio, 1-3 1000 Brussels Tel: +32 2 547 4715 Fax: +32 2 547 47 67 E-mail:bocconirestaurant@roccofortecollection.com Website: www.roccofortecollection.com Media Communication and PR Tel: +32 2 547 47 03 E-mail: pr.amigo@roccofortecollection.com

Best of Belgium

105

Dining and Hospitality

Brasserie Pakhuis
Fresh, contemporary tinted French-Italian cuisine

106

Best of Belgium

Brasserie Pakhuis is located in a cosy alley with the towers of Ghent in the background. On entering, you are overwhelmed by the enormous space that still reflects the atmosphere of this former warehouse. Portuguese architect Antoine Pinto gave the building its distinctive warm character. The unique combination of a 600 square meters storage space with the specifically designed interior is what distinguishes Brasserie Pakhuis from any other restaurant, and even more so, the restaurant’s fresh, contemporary tinted French-Italian cuisine. Brasserie Pakhuis is famous for it’s royal oyster and seafood platters, which can be accompanied by a French classic or a glass of excellent wine from the new world. Enjoy “al fresco dining” on our beautiful outside terrace.

Brasserie Pakhuis Schuurkensstraat 5 9000 Gent Tel: +32 (0)9 223 55 55 Fax : +32 (0)9 255 71 55 Email: info@pakhuis.be www.pakhuis.be

Best of Belgium

107

Dining and Hospitality

The Stage Dinner Theatre Unlimited – Never a Dull Moment
Five seasons in a row running now, The Stage Dinner Theatre Unlimited offers her visitors a unique combination of entertainment on stage and refined food on your plate.

This renowned Art Deco theatre can be found in the very heart of Antwerp and offers a complete package for a stylish night out—think theatre, cabaret, variety, revue, and off course great food. Every Friday and Saturday, The Stage Dinner Theatre Unlimited is an original alternative to your classic dinner out. It’s ideal for those who want to surprise their family or business relations with a special treat.

New Classic Stories with Contemporary Music The Stage is always looking for original approaches to classic stories. For example, last spring The Stage presented a particularly successful musical version of Cinderella. Everyone knows the classic story of the girl that loses her glass slipper when she goes to the dance at the palace. But the creators of this unusual version gave

the fairytale a contemporary feel, mainly via the musical element. That’s why the story of Cinderella was interspersed with international pop classics from artists such as Madonna, Queen and Robbie Williams. You also get to see some of the greatest musical scenes from movies such as Moulin Rouge and Chicago. All this is integrated in the classic fairytale and combined with new characters and twists

108

Best of Belgium

in the story. This kind of formula might be well known in cities such as London and Paris, but for Belgium this is a novel and original concept. In the past five years The Stage has attracted an increasingly large fan base. The audience is not only from Antwerp: since all the shows are in English more than fifty percent of the visitors are tourists visiting the city, looking for an entertaining night out.

Food The kitchen always offers you the choice between two distinctive, four course menus and thus offers a dining experience that flows through most of the evening. The menu is often refreshed, because The Stage wants to keep up with the latest trends, as well as in stage entertainment, as in the kitchen. Finally, the evening isn’t over after the show – the night typically evolves into a party. Don’t forget your dancing shoes. Special arrangements The Stage Dinner Theatre organizes exclusive shows on every day of the week for companies and organizations. It’s possible to adjust the program to your own wishes. For example, the show can be combined with a business meeting.

Have a look at the Theatre’s website for more detail on these opportunities. Luxury weekends Why not make a weekend of it? The Stage offers two luxury weekend packages, combining the Prestige Formula at The Stage, an overnight stay with breakfast at one of two exclusive Antwerp hotels and an excursion of your choice the following day.

THE STAGE DINNER THEATRE UNLIMITED Anneessensstraat 10 2018 Antwerpen Tel: +32 (0)3 226.50.00 Fax: +32 (0)3 226.30.00 E-mail: info@thestage.be

Best of Belgium

109


								
To top