SAN Sablon, Brussels – A Place to Put on Your Bucket List

There is a number of restaurants you
shouldn’t miss. SAN Sablon was kind of in the back of my head, as a restaurant
I could visit one day but not as one that is a must-do, such as La Buvette
(which I would always keep on my to-do list) or Humphrey (this I would cross
from it). Not seeing SAN Sablon as a must-must-must-go is definitely a mistake,
because you’ll miss out on something culinary impressing and beautiful.

The concept of the food is a very
unique one: you spoon it! All dishes come in a bowl and you eat with a wooden
spoon. It might sound strange, but the textures and ingredients allow for this,
without making you feel as if you’re eating baby food.
The owner of the place, San Hoong
Degeimbre, is spending his working time at the 1-star restaurant L’Air du Temps
(which now moved onto my to-do list as well), but is involved in all menu
decisions made by chef Toshiro at
San Sablon. Also, the menu changes every month, according to season and
products available.
The light green walls, golden
details, very beautiful wooden tables that remind of tree trunks, ornate and
subtle details and beautiful pottery kept mostly in pastel and earth tones made
us feel like a character in Alice in Wonderland. When we arrived at 19.30h the
place was still a bit empty, but filled up quickly with people of all ages,
families, friends and people on dates.
You can either order a set menu
for 65E or order a la carte, but I advise you to opt for the menu as it is a
collection of dishes thought through in details, ingredients carefully picked
and matched and there’s not too much time in-between the different dishes. A
deconstructed sushi was presented as an amouse bouche, followed by four kinds
of different tuna; a ravioli filled with tuna and some incredible other
aromatic ingredients such as shiso and yuzu bathing in a bouillon of seaweed
and tea couldn’t have been softer. Along with it came a tuna “blood sausage”
with apple, sounding worse than it was – a raw tuna paste made from all the
dark parts of the fish, avoiding any unnecessary food waste. The other two
kinds of tuna were carpaccio with yuzu and a piece of sashimi tuna with salt
and powdered sea weed.
The starter was followed by a
dish that impressed me least but was still very good: Galician pulpo, green
olives, ink mousse and grilled peppers. Now the two highlights of the evening
were served. First, a risotto with white asparagus served with a slightly salty
– in the good way – morel foam, crispy chicken brittle and Comte cheese. The
saltiness of this dish was on point, fitting perfectly with the fresh and
sweet-ish taste of the asparagus, not speaking of the textures mixed here:
amazing! Highlight number two was very tender veal cooked on low-temperature,
served with pickled carrots, passion fruit, carrot puree, finished off with a
crispy coffee, hazelnut and walnut crumble.
And while I was thinking it can’t
get better, the dessert arrived. Salsify. Yes, indeed. I only use salsify for
salty dishes, but at San Sablon it was caramelised with fresh vanilla, served
with a white chocolate ganache, gingerbread “brulee” with cassonade sugar and
caramel. I really felt like in the Alice in Wonderland movie, or something
close to heaven.
This place is very unique. You
get haute cuisine for a reasonable price with dishes that all match and are
well-thought through, reminding me a lot of some of the mind-blowing dining
experiences I had in
Cape Town. The service is very nice and
attentive and I love that the kitchen is open and there are even seats at the
bar, so you can follow all the complicated steps that precede the wonderful
dishes you’ll have in front of you.

Good to know: 5 course menu for
65E, excluding drinks

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