Monday, July 14, 2014

Dining Out, Paleo-Style {Le Fiasko - Aubel, Belgium}

I've been meaning to do up a review for this restaurant for awhile now - I mean, I ate at the Fiasko around Christmas time last year! Better late than never...

This place was fantastic. It's a gourmet restaurant, so it may not be in everyone's budget, but the hubster and I got the chance to eat there as his company offered the evening to all employees and their spouse. But really, as far as gourmet restaurants go, the price isn't all that high. {Most of the holiday menus proposed are about 50€ per person.} So while it's not something most of us can eat weekly, or even monthly, it's still an affordable choice for a special occasion.

And it's a wonderful place to eat if you have food allergies or sensitivities!

The hubster's company received a menu shortly before the company dinner, from which each guest could choose between two different entrées, main dishes and desserts. Sadly for me, none of the choices were possible! The hubster's boss contacted the owners with this news - and received a surprising answer! They were perfectly happy to create a menu, especially for me, that very evening, to be sure I would only have good-for-me foods on my plate!

As soon as I stepped through the door, Freddy took me aside to discuss my meal. His wife, Astrid, who is also the chef, had prepared a list of suggestions and together we built my custom menu, mere minutes before eating! {They even nicknamed me Madame Allergies :p}

We installed ourselves at our tables and admired the decor. The dining room is superbly decorated with a very cozy, country style. And if you like whiskey, the Fiasko is the place to go! Hundreds of bottles line the shelves of the dining room and the bar room. The hubster was beside himself with awe and anticipation!

The meal started out with a round of drinks. I decided to treat myself with some red wine, and was not disappointed! 

There were many courses to the meal, well spaced out so we could talk between them - and digest the food we had just eaten before the next round started!

First up, I got a simple but delicious starter of arugula, asparagus, shrimp and tomatoes, all topped with pine nuts, walnut oil and various fresh herbs and spices! It was so good - and only the first course!

Next up was a plate of deer carpaccio. I had already eaten beef carpaccio, but this deer carpaccio was far superior! The meat was sliced ultra thin and the flavor was really boosted by the truffle dusting and the generous sprinkling fleur de sel. It was a plate of umami at its finest!

Following the deer carpaccio was a mixed salad. Now before you start thinking to yourself that a salad is just a salad, understand that I have never had a salad as good as this one. The different savors were so carefully chosen and balanced each other out so well - I didn't want this course to finish!

Various mixed greens, both wild and not, along with sliced Belgian endive, made up the body of the salad. Chopped walnuts and pine nuts were scattered throughout for a bit of crunch. Green grapes had been added and provided just a touch of sweetness that perfectly balanced out the smoky flavor of the thick cut bacon. And finishing it off was a simple balsamic vinaigrette. It truly was salad perfection!

Then we arrived at the main course. My dish made everyone at my table a wee bit jealous - it looked that good! I didn't forget to tell everyone {repeatedly} how delicious it tasted either!

I had a perfectly cooked salmon filet, surrounded by an abundance of veggies! I couldn't possibly remember everything there was on my plate, and this picture {like the others} is a horrible, low-quality, low-light picture that doesn't do the meal justice nor serve as a good reminder of all I ate! But from what I do remember, I had tender salsifies, black carrots cut into linguine and gently sauteed in olive oil, morille mushrooms pan fried until crispy, perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, burnt broccoli {yes, yes!} and much, much more!

And, to end the evening and the meal, I had a delicious dessert. The base was a sabayone cream, which is simply egg yolks gently cooked with sugar to create a sort of warm custard sauce. This was topped with figs {Astrid had picked and canned them herself that previous summer} cooked in a Porto wine sauce. A giant mint leaf and a sprinkling of chopped nuts finished off the dish.

So, to sum things up, this is the place to go if you're looking for a special restaurant to celebrate a special occasion.

Fred assured me that my food restrictions were not a problem for them at all - he only asks that they be warned in advance so as to prepare something suitable. If you have special dietary needs, and you're in the region, you can still enjoy a gourmet restaurant - just call ahead and explain your cans and cant's.

Also worth noting, the waitress Maité was amazing. Not only was she kind and looking out for my needs {she made sure no bread was placed near me, my plate, or my food} she was also a great joker and made the evening fun {she may or may not have checked under the table to make sure my feet weren't swelling up :p}!

The Fiasko was my first gourmet experience, and thanks to Freddy and Astrid, it was a great one! I can't wait to go back :)

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