L’Air du Temps is situated in the middle of the fields, at a stone’s throw from Namur and Leuven in an environment that seems pretty much the epitome of ultimate tranquillity. This is a restaurant that has rightly built a solid reputation by responding perfectly to the needs and expectations of today’s value seeker in the world of gastronomy. Here, it is not just about good food, top products and an über-professional service. The location and cuisine of Chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre guarantee an exquisite experience. Would you like to know more? Then please continue reading. It only gets better. 🙂
L’Air du Temps: Top notch gastronomy on nature’s rhythm
Although visiting L’Air du Temps was well at the top of our to do list, we were only planning to schedule this culinary trip somewhere in spring or summer. In that period the garden’s wealth blossoms, making this place more beautiful than ever before. More about this later.
Tournée Minérale – water pairing
Our participation in the Tournée Minérale, where we accepted the challenge not to drink alcohol during one month, really speeded things up, as L’Air du Temps provides thé evidence that enjoying gastronomically is also possible without the wines or spirits you would normally associate with it. The restaurant does not only offer wine pairing, but also water adapted to the menu. No juices or soft drinks that often tend to dominate the flavour of the dishes, but different kinds of water infused cold with a special device with ingredients that you will find in the dishes. Or even the other way around, by working with flavours that contrast with the palettes of the dishes and thus ensure a proper balance. They will not work with added sugars in any case, and even the sweetest variants for example, served together with the dessert, only have a sugar content of about two percent. It is clear that the possibilities are endless, and that water pairing will never get boring.
Of course, you can also enjoy a nice selection of wines and drinks at L’Air du Temps. If you choose this option, then it is probably a good idea to immediately book a night in one of the five rooms too. Scroll down here to find out more.
Chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre – Widely praised and honoured
First a word about the restaurant. With 2 Michelin stars and 18.5/20 according to Gault & Millau there is no doubt that L’Air du Temps is located in the highest echelons of Belgian gastronomy. Chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre was honoured as Chef of the Year by Gault Millau. Although he dreamed about becoming a pharmacist as a child, his butcher training made him fall in love with the hospitality industry. By practicing a lot and by tasting wines and different flavours the chef refined his exquisite taste palette, resulting in a cooking style that excels through its nuances and sophistication. What you will taste today at restaurant L’Air du Temps is a reflection of Sang-Hoon Degeimbre’s highly personal and creative interpretation of contemporary cuisine. The region, the nature and the quality products are the starting point, but they are seamlessly connected with influences from around the world and with the most advanced cooking techniques.
Restaurant L’Air du Temps: in many ways a unique location
A classic farm house, a contemporary interior
Next to the fantastic cuisine, the location of L’Air du Temps also appeals to the imagination. A couple of years ago, the restaurant settled in a square farmhouse in ‘Haspengouw’-style highlighted with contemporary lines. As you drive towards the location, you are already immersed in the region’s tranquillity and beauty. When you arrive, that feeling just keeps getting stronger. In the middle of the fields and near the garden, magical lights and a cosy fire basket welcome you to the historic building via the overwhelming courtyard. We will have to wait until the next morning to see the full beauty of the location, but we already feel totally zen and are immediately greeted warmly.
The garden of Eden
The garden is one of the restaurant’s assets, it is the result of a desire for quality. It is formed by a passionate interaction between chef and gardener and by growing his own products, the chef’s inspiration is stimulated. The team handles the treasures provided by the garden with utmost care. A lot of vegetables are for example fermented and herbs are dried in order to be able to use them the whole year round. This way, you can enjoy the taste of pure products stored and prepared in different ways over and over again. They will ensure a different taste sensation every time.
Topservice at the chef’s table
We had the pleasure to be seated at the chef’s table, where you have a fantastic view on both the kitchen in full action as well as the fields and the garden. The warm, spontaneous and professional service gives you a special feeling throughout the evening. It’s just like being at home, but only much better. 🙂
Menu Terroir at L’Air du Temps
Now on to the most obvious thing in every restaurant article: the food. Those who opt for the chef’s menu and not the à la carte preparations at restaurant L’Air du Temps will only get to see the menu afterwards, to ensure that you try the dishes with an open mind. We feel that this totally makes sense.
We start with Humus water. Meanwhile, our attention goes to the first bite. It is not a lamp hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the table, but it is a piece of floating crispy bread. The tone has been set. Our enthusiasm and excitement just keeps increasing.
We then start with some appetizers and a glass of house champagne. We opt for the adapted waters to accompany the rest of the menu. Each dish has a title describing the concept, which is just enough to be both descriptive and to arouse curiosity.
‘Japan’ is the name of the first appetizer. Note that only the upper part of the black dish is edible, instructions we luckily get right away. 🙂 We taste kombu and smoked eel tartar. The delicious smoky flavour is distinctive and pronounced, yet very sophisticated.
‘Crispy’ is a dish consisting of two parts: grissini and chickweed, along with shiitake mayonnaise.
‘Bruxelles’. Everyone loves Brussels sprouts here, as the grilled cabbages, already tasting perfectly by themselves, are served with a crispy sauce based on beurre noisette.
‘Ceci n’est pas du crabe’. You will immediately think that the next dish will mainly contain crab, as only at the table a crab shell is removed. Nothing could be further from the truth, because topinabour is the main ingredient. However, a combination with a bisque is served, so the crab shell was not entirely misleading.
After the amuses you get a glass of water flavoured with liquorice and topinambour.
Everyone seems to think it is obvious that there is delicious bread included in a gourmet meal. It is worth to give it a moment thought however because the bread at L’Air du Temps is nicely crispy and served with two types of butter, a lightly salted butter from the region and one containing ponzu.
‘Comfort’ contains sour cream and lentils, but feels like a dish with caviar. Creamy, crunchy and soufflé-like textures refine the dish and make it deliciously crispy.
‘Gérard Ponce’. Bread soldiers? Is that not a bit too basic? Not at all, because in the egg shell you will find much more than just soft boiled egg. The aroma immediately reveals that a nice portion of truffles from Carpentras is added to the dish, so don’t forget to dip to the bottom.
‘Kiwître 2017’, a classic that has been given several different interpretations already. We can taste oyster, kiwi, powdery goat cheese, green olives and bergamot. The matching water contains horseradish.
‘Le jardin de Liernu’ contains vegetables from the garden, combined with the oil of the moment. This signature dish changes throughout the seasons, and a combination is made between fresh and fermented vegetables, given the fact that the garden does not expose its entire richness at any time. Fresh winter vegetables and summer vegetables preserved by fermenting them, and the other way around during summer, but just as special. Hogweed and fennel are the basic flavours in this dish’s adapted water.
‘Topinambour ou pas’: Jerusalem artichoke and crab. Just the opposite of what we tasted a few dishes earlier. You have to break the crispy crust of the roll to mix together all flavours. The main ingredients are combined with mayo, yuzu and parsley root. These last flavours also form the basis for the water pairing.
‘Blanc’. This dish with a white colour includes scallops, daikon, lemon, parsley and potato paper. By working with orange and saffron in the adapted water you really get a special effect.
In need of a break after all these delicious culinary delights? Fortunately, there is a ‘Pause cocktail’ with a tasty aspirin served. The drink is made from vermouth and herbs. It looks like a real effervescent tablet, only much better. 🙂 Still, quite a special experience, we must say.
At ‘Filip Rondou’ deconstruction is the main theme. Veal cheek, onion, capers and dried parsley form a harmonious entity. Onion and Sansho are the basis of the water served with this dish.
‘Joël de Schrevel’ contains Magret of Mulard duck (from a local farm), avocado, black garlic and a sauce of yuzu and coffee, a sublime combo you would never think of spontaneously. The adapted coffee- and sesame based water seems to highlight the flavours of the dish even more and thus strengthen them too.
This brings us to the desserts. “Brittany” is a combination of sablé, ice cream, chocolate, apple and cinnamon. These flavours can also be found in the adapted water.
“Citrus”, the name says it all. The mille-feuille with puff pastry is combined with saffron, candied citrus and hogweed. The sorbet is made from tangerine peel, and the crème Anglaise makes everything creamy. By putting all of that together, the dish gets an extra dimension. The matching water contains saffron and kaffir.
And so we arrive at the end of this creative, sophisticated and exciting menu. A series of mignardises that you can select yourself from a range almost worthy of the name candy store soothes the pain of the fact that this beautiful evening has come to an end.
Luckily for us, we only have to walk a few steps up to completely relax and to talk about this evening’s experiences.
Spending the night at L’Air du Temps
Smooth warm design and a wonderful night’s sleep
L’Air du Temps is more than a restaurant, as there are also five rooms where you can stay overnight. Next to enjoying the gastronomic aspects, you can also immediately benefit from a stay in the countryside. We got to discover the Agastache room and it pleased us without a doubt. The hotel part of the restaurant is intimate, small-scale and therefore often fully booked. Early reservation is recommended. Waking up to the view of the fields and a scarlet sunrise, just admit it, what could be better than that?
The room is simple, stylish and it immediately evokes a truly luxurious feeling, with a large shower, cosy lights and a modern interior. The delicious cake which was ready to welcome us will be for the day after, as the Terroir Menu was already awaiting us when we arrived. 🙂
Breakfast: perfect start of the day
Our breakfast expectations were quite high, given the tone that was set during a terrific dinner and a great night’s sleep. In addition to a refreshing cup of coffee, a juice of the season cannot be missed. The drink is made from grapefruit and clementines. The egg, cooked at low temperature is combined with funky soldiers out of bacon. We also feast on a few goodies such as fresh chocolate spread and green tomato jam. Brioche, rustic bread and homemade granola with fresh yogurt with honey complete the experience.
At restaurant L’Air du Temps you can enjoy innovative gastronomic dishes and flavours of the region and the garden. Chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre continues to surprise and amaze in a modest and elegant atmosphere. Once you are here, you will never want to leave again.
L’Air du Temps, Rue de la Croix Monet 2 / 5310 Liernu (Eghezée or Aische en Refail on GPS) | +32 81 81 30 48 | firstname.lastname@example.org | airdutemps.be | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram – restaurant | Instagram – chef