Every now and then you end up in foodheaven and this last Friday it was bingo!!! R and N, one of our French speaking Belgian friends, had invited us over to Huy!!! It is not one of these postcard villages and rather surrounded by the so typical industrial fumes and grey plants that you most of the times would rather cruise by. R and N live there already forever and had invited us over before and then it already had been a culinary success but this time R had added the words:'C'est formidable que cette femme faites dans sa cuisine!'
So last Friday I ran out of my lecture to get in a record time to my car, tried to beat the traffic rush, jumped into my outfit, tried to hide my thousand wrinkles and jumped into P's car!Arriving in Huy the first thing that is rather tricky is finding parking space but we managed to find a one rather close to the city center! Huy isn't that big and if you ever intend to go it won't be that hard to find this foodie-heaven! Once you are standing in the middle of the market square search for the smallest building and there it is: restaurant Li Cwerneu! And when you pass over it's treshold you will be in for a culinary discovery lovecruise!
First of all you will notice that there are not that many collegue taste inspectors! Only about twenty a night can book a table and that already makes it a special place to dine! In total you will meet three to four staff members and that includes the chef, if she feels like peeping out of her domain!
The menu is the next surprise and might turn you a bit nervous: only a few courses and one menu for you to choose from. But then no difficult dillemas!! By then we were nipping of one the house cocktails and we were off to get our tastebuds warmed up with some appetizers. Our favourite 'the virtual olive': a real taste explosion in your mouth! R and P then decided to let the man of the house, Pierre and wine connaisseur (in a previous life a car mechanic!) make up his mind about the wines to serve with the food his beloved wife was preparing in her tiny kitchen!
I am not going to describe in detail every dish that passed by that night but they were just so unique and so creative that our respect started to grow for this exceptional ladychef out there working to treat us like king and queens. My favourite courses of the night the goose liver (foi-gras) soup with figues (!) and the violet sorbet. P raved about it till he fell asleep and it really made us remember the moment that we tasted for the first violet candies as a child!
Now and then our glasses were filled up with divine grape flavours that just made the delicious food feast complete. We stuffed the empty spaces that were left over with talks about our latest adventures and by midnight we felt like we were on cloud number nine! Outside the first snow of the season was arriving but here we were sitting in perhaps one of the smallest restaurants of this country we had this warm feeling that makes some evenings memorable!
And if I have not tickled your curiousity then this might help: Arabelle is the lady chef of 2008, exceptional creative with ingredients including plants and flowers, one of the modest chefs I know (she will turn red when you make her a compliment), keeps her kitchen running smoothly by herself, doesn't make it too complicated (what you see is what you get), tries not to go too big (living proof the size of the restaurant), a devoted mother (when you stay long enough you might get to see the youngest resident of the house: a tiny baby daughter) and last of not least her women's friendly ladiesroom! I can rave on for hours but the taste of the pudding is in the eating!
Arabelle Meirlaen is one our Belgian cooking gems to keep close to your heart. So when you happen to drive by Huy next time you might want to leave the highways and check out if Arabelle still has the magic touch! Don't be surprised to see me there because I will be back graving for more of her culinary beauty!
If you really can't resist:http://www.licwerneu.be/