Nuance, Duffel, 4/28/17

IMG_5567
entrance

Nuance is a small place in Duffel – a short train ride from Antwerp.  Thierry Theys is the chef of this 2 star Michelin restaurant which he started in 2008 with his wife Sofie who manages the service part of the house.  She not only brings out the food but gets by to visit with every table to welcome them.  They make a great team, so young (they started Nuance at 21 years of age) and yet very capable.  If you’ve read many of my write ups you know I’m a nut for flavor with appearance being secondary.  This place managed to pull off both spectacularly.  I can’t remember when I’ve so enjoyed looking through my photographs to chose which ones to include and yet so fondly remember the flavors of the experience.  They offer a 6 course tasting menu with optional wine pairings or an a la carte menu.  

IMG_5568
building 
IMG_5574
dining room before others arrived
IMG_5576
interior
IMG_5719
table set up

 

While sipping a glass of champagne (20 euros per glass, which fine sommelier Steven Wullaert topped off while we munched) they brought several snacks: a tomato with rice puffs stuck to the outside was tart, crisp and great and beef tartar inside a crisp roll was fun and delicious.  We chose the tasting and the pairings.

IMG_5583
beginning champagne
IMG_5579
tomato and rice puff
IMG_5581
beef tartar in crisp roll
IMG_5587
Frankie looked over the amuse
IMG_5590
menu cover
IMG_5591
tasting menu
IMG_5594
menu 2
IMG_5596
menu 3

 

The snacks continued with a beignet stuffed with Peking duck which was amazing and had a truly great sauce.

IMG_5603
beignet of Peking duck

 

A parmesan mushroom was topped with cous cous and surrounded by a sauce of chervil and lemon leaf.  It was great and had a wonderful mushroom taste.

presentation
presentation
IMG_5614
mushroom with cous cous
IMG_5571
Frankie found a plant

 

An oyster with jalapeños, cucumber, something creamy and elderflower was not spicy but just plain good. The oyster was from Holland and was a perfect bite.

IMG_5621
oyster
IMG_5623
closer

 

The tasting started with green asparagus with a cream of browned butter, cream of lemon and a crab sauce.  The second dish was the meat of the crab surrounded by a soup of asparagus.  An amazing set of tastes that all blended and complimented one another.  The dots of lemon and butter mixed well with the asparagus which worked great with the crab.  Terrific course.

IMG_5631
wine for crab and asparagus
IMG_5633
presentation
IMG_5642
asparagus with sauce
IMG_5646
closer
IMG_5637
presentation
IMG_5663
crab in asparagus broth
IMG_5573
Frankie struck a pose

 

Breads were a selection of spelt, brioche, white and one other.  All were quite good but the spelt was outstanding and the brioche nicely buttery.  Butter was either regular or goat’s milk (long rectangle).

IMG_5670
bread selection
IMG_5672
warm loaf for the table
IMG_5675
some selections
IMG_5755
spelt and brioche breads
IMG_5585
goat’s milk butter
IMG_5985
Sommelier Steven Wullaert and Frankie

 

The langoustine, both raw and cooked, was paired with Jerusalem artichoke broth and marinated vegetables.  Underneath was a pile of nicely spicy red rice that mixed totally well with the other ingredients.  This one was a lick-the-plate dish for sure.

IMG_5677
wine for the langoustine
IMG_5679
langoustine
IMG_5704
closer
IMG_5718
underneath
IMG_5753
Did Frankie lick that butter?

 

Sea bass was served with fennel, squid, avocado and lemon vinaigrette. The fish was cooked perfectly almost getting the “stick” of nicely cooked salmon.  An excellent mix of flavors and a perfect portion size.

IMG_5721
wine for the sea bass
IMG_5729
presentation
IMG_5735
sea bass with fennel and avocado
vegetables
vegetables
fish
sea bass closer
IMG_5751
Frankie checked for leftovers

 

Pigeon was the last savory dish and the red wine served with it was in glasses that had to lay on the table as they had no base.  Different, fun and functional!  The pigeon was served with a natural sauce with chicken and plated with chickpeas (hummus), chanterelles, pigeon liver and Romanesco.  It was nicely rare, tender and blended great with the other ingredients.  Another winner.

IMG_5772
wine for pigeon
IMG_5775
Frankie was fascinated with the glasses that laid down
IMG_5806
presentation
IMG_5815
pigeon with sauce
IMG_9001
photograph on the wall

 

For dessert we were served 2 dessert wines to mix and match with the desserts.  First dessert was meringue with blackberries, lychee and cream patissiere.  The combination of sweet, crunch and creamy was delightful.

IMG_5916
dessert wines
IMG_5845
meraingue with blackberries
IMG_5862
closer
IMG_5867
inside
IMG_5873
inside
IMG_5842
art
IMG_8987
dining room filling up

 

The second dessert was chocolate, praline, miso, yogurt cream, yuzu, coffee ice cream and blown sugar.  It was really fun to look at and another great combination of flavors and textures. Sweet, chocolate, butter, creamy – what’s not to like?

IMG_5838
dessert wines with Frankie
IMG_5877
chocolate with coffee ice cream and miso
IMG_5886
closer
IMG_5887
from the side
IMG_5894
other side
IMG_5907
end

 

With coffee come more treats a lemon cake, marshmallow with grapefruit, raspberry macaroons, bar of macadamia nuts and chocolate and cake of vanilla and orange blossom. All terrific and a perfect finish for a fabulous meal.

IMG_5926
Frankie and the espresso
IMG_5944
extra treats
IMG_5956
bar of macadamia nuts and chocolate
IMG_5935
another angle
IMG_5940
lemon cake
IMG_5941
marshmallow and macaroons
IMG_5953
raspberry macaroons
IMG_5954
marshmallow with grapefruit
IMG_5937
cake of vanilla and orange blossom
IMG_5969
from the side
IMG_5980
kitchen
IMG_5982
kitchen
IMG_5975
Sophie and Thierry Theys with Frankie

2 thoughts on “Nuance, Duffel, 4/28/17

  1. This is outstanding in the photos and description of the courses. I am noticing the changes in language as you travel across Belgium. YUM!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s