When you arrive in the center of picturesque Durbuy after passing enchanting forests, impressive cliffs, and winding roads, you will immediately experience the hospitality and the coziness of this small town. And you will also get that exact feeling when entering hotel – restaurant Le Clos des Récollets. A great start for a relaxing gastronomic weekend in the Ardennes. The wooden fire, the cozy interior and the warm welcome immediately put us in the right mood. No matter the rain, wind or fog, just bring it on as we are inside and do not have the intention to move any time soon. 😉
Durbuy as a tourist attraction
With its typical architecture, the historical ramparts, the adventurous outdoor activities, and the very popular miniature golf ☺, Durbuy is a place lots of tourists like to visit. The city is apparently also Belgium’s smallest town, but there seem to have been a lot of discussion on that topic, but now the argument with the city of Mesen has been resolved. Read more about that here. 🙂 It is in any case a fact that Durbuy is a very pleasant place to be, especially during the Christmas festivities as the atmosphere is absolutely amazing then. Nearly everywhere in the Old Town there are stalls with winter treats and beverages to warm you up. Christmas trees and lights decorate the streets and the fire baskets are crackling. Conviviality at its best!
Gastronomy at Le Clos des Récollets
Next to the beautiful surroundings, the gastronomic offer at Le Clos des Récollets is one of the most convincing arguments to come to this small hotel – restaurant. The chef and owner Frédéric Bruneel guarantees, together with his partner, culinary delight in a charming and warm atmosphere. Chef Frédéric has acquired his reputation in the kitchen of the Brussels Sea Grill led by Yves Mattagne. Since 2000 he is the driving force behind Le Clos des Récollets in Durbuy.
The restaurant is housed in an old farmhouse that was given its name thanks to the monks of Durbuy. White tablecloths and fabric chairs, atmospheric lights and authentic, decorative elements add color to the room. Everything here just breathes charm, coziness, and relaxation.
All that matters is enjoying fresh products prepared by the chef in simple, classic but yet refined dishes in a tasty and honest way. The chef cooks to the season’s rhythm with quality ingredients at the heart of the preparations. In this region, there is no going around venison of course, but crustaceans and nice vegetables are also gladly put into the spotlight by the chef.
Although the chef has a preference for French wines this is by no means a limitation, as there is also room for a variety of other beverages and wines in the wine cellar to be able to offer the guests a wider tasting palette.
We will share the line-up of the wines adapted to and served with the menu of December.
This gastronomic menu is also what we have been served.
We started with three fine appetizers: ham mousse, a puff cake with cheese and a soup of scallops and curry.
The first dish of the menu was a small tower made from crab, avocado cream, green apple and yuzu sabayon.
We continued with seafood as the chef served scallops with caramelized chicory, lemon butter and orange and ginger caramel.
The veal cheek on the next plate had a very nice flavor of itself and combined with the crispy jacket langoustine things were lifted to an even higher level. This dish was finished with salsify and truffle.
The best dish of the menu according to us was the main course, a ‘chef style’ venison fillet with apples, wild berries, winter vegetables and pepper sauce.
As we could not decide between the cheese and the dessert, we decided to try one of the options each.
The cheese platter was quite surprising and had a very nice selection.
For dessert, we got a variation of nougat, almond and pine nuts biscuit, marinated lemon, kalamansi and Mojito sorbet.
We finished in style with a gorgeous, creative set of mignardises. Especially the mini-ice cream was surprising and extremely delicious. A classic espresso was the icing on the cake here.
It is of course very pleasant if you do not have to drive all the way back home after a gourmet dinner, especially because a fine dining experience is only complete when you can enjoy the adapted wines of the menu too. At Le Clos des Récollets, you can spend a quiet and peaceful night. The day after a refreshing cup of coffee awaits you, combined with a breakfast with grandmother’s home made jam and Ardennes-cured ham.
In short, Le Clos des Récollets is a mandatory stop when enjoying a gastronomic getaway around Durbuy. The dishes are tasteful and refined, the welcome is warm and the setting charming. Whether you are still in the mood for a long walk in the woods or not, you can in any case unwind in the comfortable rooms to enjoy a relaxing, Burgundian weekend away.