Do you want to enjoy gastronomic food at a triple A location? Then restaurant ‘t Zilte is the place to be. There are few places that appeal as much to the imagination as the top floor of the MAS in Antwerp, and even more if you know that you are not only spoiled with breathtaking views, but here, your taste buds too will be taken care of.
Restaurant ‘t Zilte & the MAS
It’s very hard to imagine a pre-MAS era, in which the distinctive red architectural artwork was not yet overlooking the surroundings of ‘t Eilandje. A time also in which restaurant ‘t Zilte was still situated in Mol. However, chef Viki Geunes had by then already established an impressive culinary track record, with already two awarded Michelin stars. When the restaurant moved to the roof of the city of Antwerp in 2011, it managed to keep its stars and to become a hit far beyond the city walls. Since then, we have seen how Chef Geunes and his team succeed in achieving that continuity day after day. Not during the weekend, however, because ‘t Zilte is one of the few restaurants that dares to close its doors on Saturday and Sunday. Nevertheless, an interesting choice, as it enables them to keep their staff motivated and qualified and at the same time create room for other projects.
Stylish interior and atmosphere
Once inside – after a ride with the elevator to the ninth floor of the building – the interior completely fits the expectations, and we can say that they were quite high. Vittorio Simoni’s design is rigid, stylish and particularly light and fresh, thanks to the large windows. Because the restaurant has a lot of space, there is sufficient privacy for each table, a nice plus when you are going to dine extensively, according to us. High trees – and buildings – catch a lot of wind, and in April it’s an insurmountable obstacle if you want to enjoy an aperitif on the terrace in the spring sun. We will have to wait until summer to be able to do that.
Chef Viki Geunes
We probably don’t need to introduce the man behind restaurant ‘t Zilte. Chef Viki Geunes – who is an autodidact for the biggest part – stands for perfection, sophistication and balance. Beautiful products are honored in the refined, creative cooking style of Geunes. The chef’s way of playing with texture, temperature and taste is also what is typical for his kitchen and the thing that impresses us the most while enjoying the whole menu.
Refinement & excitement
Over to the lunch menu now, which seems to be a great choice on an ordinary week day, even though the menu is everything but ordinary. If you go for the full Monty, then take your time to fully enjoy all details, because the three-course lunch – which comes in nice, generous portions – will be an afternoon-filling activity that consists of more than seven dishes.
We start with a glass of champagne (Ruinart, Blanc de Blanc) and some appetizers, like a taco with ceviche, jalapeño and corn.
Next to that, we also try an onion roll with a romesco-based sauce.
We finish with a crispy bite with cauliflower structures.
Before we really start the menu, a dish with a tartar of mackerel, structures of peas and sea lettuce is served.
Then a tartar of calf, rucola cream, apple and anchovy follows.
We just cannot remember when we have eaten bread that was as delicious as it was here. The assortment contains three types of bread: brioche, fougasse and bread based on trappist beer.
Tuna is served as our menu-appetizer. The fish is combined with kombu, kohlrabi, black Spanish radish, koji and wasabi ice-cream powder. A side dish with croutons and tuna tartar brings a nice, crunchy change.
Chicken, girolles, asparagus, hazelnut butter and ramsons, these are the components of the main course. This is probably the tenderest chicken we have ever eaten.
As we absolutely adore trolleys in restaurants, we decide to taste the selection of cheeses. The choice is impressive and the accompanying cherry compote and bread with nuts and raisins is simple but very tasteful.
The dessert could be described as a deconstruction of ice cones. Rhubarb, hibiscus, yogurt and galanga are the main flavors in this dish.
We finish again with a trolley, this time packed with mignardises and sweet delicacies. There is, amongst others, a tarte of quince with whipped cream, a tiramisu pie and a chocolate cake with pistachio. A true delight!
Restaurant ‘t Zilte stands for refinement, surprise and detailed perfection. A constant and added value in all dishes is the variety and richness of taste, texture and temperature. Beautiful products and an interesting structure throughout the menu ensure a true taste sensation and experience. Plenty of arguments to prove that the impressive view of the Antwerp skyline is not the only reason to book a table here.