Sunshine and fresh, clear weather outside, enough reasons to put away our to-do list for Saturday afternoons and go find a nice place to walk near the water. Our destination is Sint-Amands, where we refuel at the new Café d’O.
This establishment has only just opened at the location where restaurant ‘t Ebdiep used to be. The building was given a modern, Scandinavian look and soft and clean materials immediately give you a warm feeling. The beautiful view on the river Scheldt with lots of green and birds will get you relaxed in no time. The new owners, Jan & Annick, have the ambition to pamper their guests with honest, tasteful bistro cuisine. In the afternoon, cyclists and hikers can enjoy a nice refreshment.
The staff still seems a bit uneasy, but hostess Annick gives us a warm welcome. Although it is already 2:30pm, so a bit on the late side, we can still have lunch. As the restaurant has only opened three days before, the menu was still a bit limited at the time. No problem for us, as we unanimously decide to try the four-course menu. The wines adapted to the menu can also be chosen by the glass, so we chose that option.
While enjoying our glass of cava as aperitif, we get a tuna tapenade with sesame, home-marinated olives and bread sticks.
As starter we choose the cheese and shrimp croquettes. The two homemade croquettes are a good size and they have a crispy, thin crust. The savory, soft flavor of the cheese croquette immediately stands out. This dish does not need more than a grilled lime and some fried parsley.
The salmon, marinated in Gin & Tonic, arouses our curiosity. The plate is nicely decorated with pomegranate seeds, sour cream and radish. The fish is of good quality and the combination with the other ingredients is quite tasty. The Chardonnay “Les Plants Nobles” (Ropiteau, Languedoc) on the menu combines really well with the fresh, soft salmon.
The intermediate course is a combination of fried scallops and spinach, finished with beurre blanc and a biscuit of scallops and wakame. The spinach is quite salty, but other than that, everything is very tasteful and pure. The recommended wine, a Friulano (Villa Chiopris, Friuli), turns out to be an excellent choice as the fresh, tender wine really makes the briny, creamy taste stand out.
Time for the main courses. The skrei fish with leek puree and cherry tomatoes is finished with nantua sauce, which is a classic béchamel sauce flavored with fish and crayfish. The subte acid taste of the cherry tomatoes combines really well with the other ingredients, just too bad that there are only three of them. 🙂
The other main dish is veal loin with cabbage and cauliflower cream, accompanied by veal gravy with Port. A polenta croquette provides just the right variety in structures. The flavors are excellent.
Time for dessert now. The menu does not really reflect the reality, as everything sounds quite basic. But actually there are some exquisite dishes here.
First, the Grand Café d’O is served. This coffee with coconut macaroons, madeleines, brownie and ‘advocaat’ is perfect for those who would like to try a bit of everything. You can immediately taste and smell that the sweets are all homemade.
The second dessert is vanilla ice cream with chocolate. This description really dishonors the dish, as the homemade ice cream is served at our table. The ice is soft with a subtle, rich milk flavor and fine vanilla speckles. It is accompanied by dark chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a traditional, Italian biscuit. Simply delicious.
More than satisfied we finish our brunch and dinner in one with a short acquaintance with Chef Johan Yon who used to work at De Ster, Kokarde, Il Carpaccio and Alex. He is now determined to make Café d’O an established name. We believe that his uniform could not have been better chosen. It suits him very well.
Meanwhile it is already 5pm and our hiking plans have been forgotten. Next time we will start with the hiking and finish with a lovely dinner.