Tastes and textures. Herbs and happiness. Gastronomic restaurant Bouchéry, a recent opening in the suburban south of Brussels is all you could want for in a gourmet experience. “My inspiration comes when I am cutting the herbs I need,” explains Damien Bouchery of his locally sourced seasonal menus. And local means local, with herbs culled from the terrace garden upstairs. The menus are short, with only three starters and three mains, but varied; the three-course lunch (a snip at € 24) stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the à la carte choices. The cooking is outstanding. Veal cheeks, a set menu option, glisten darkly on the plate; “melt in the mouth” good, enthuses my dining companion. The firm white flesh of the sizeable chunk of Iberico Pata Negra pork fillet is succulent and flavoursome.
But the real pleasure is to be served food evidently prepared with passion and sourced with knowledge.
But the real pleasure is to be served food evidently prepared with passion and sourced with knowledge. The herbs and unusual vegetation crop up throughout the menu. Nasturtium petals plucked from a plant growing on the tree-shaded terrace outside decorate an amuse-bouche. A platter of cheeses arrives before dessert with a side of sharply dressed salad leaves. Some look prickly as if they might sting, but their slightly bitter taste cuts through the butteriness of the cheeses. Bouchery also gives plenty of textural contrast both through his choice of ingredients and their preparation. A cappuccino of lobster bisque, the second amuse-bouche, is topped with an airy celery foam. Hidden is the surprise of little cubes of crisp, Granny Smith apple. Slices of pure white radish or organic beetroot add crunch to the juicy Pata Negra and veal cheek. Similarly to The Word, colour plays its very own part at Bouchéry: a mash of violet potato swirls across a plate and the orange nasturtium petals sit lightly beside the crispy carroty spring roll. Bright, really bright yellow egg yolk captures the attention in a starter served in a bowl with Trumpet de la Morte, black chanterelles, and crunchy bits of Jerusalem artichoke. There’s that texture thing again.
Interiors are simple but classy and thought through. The timeless blond wood-framed Wishbone chairs by Hans Wegner front tables pert with crisp linen. Cream leather banquettes opposite are accented with spherical pale turquoise pendant lamps. This is the only colour besides a simple red wild flower amongst a vase of green grasses. The lunchtime dining room receives light from two sides and looks towards the terrace. The additional main dinning room with high ceilings is overseen by twin Spanish landscape images of ‘escape’ taken by Bouchery’s actress-partner and the restaurant’s charming host, Bénédicte. Bouchery from Breton leads the kitchen of his eponymously named restaurant. Sharp readers will have picked up the accent on the restaurant’s name. This was added by Bénédicte to lend a bit of glamour to the name that also references boucherie, a butchers. Having earned a Michelin star at his last restaurant, Bistrot du Mail in Ixelles/Elsene, the cuddly men from Michelin will doubtless be deliberating on Bouchery’s Bouchéry soon.
Bouchéry, Chaussée d’Alsemberg 812A Alsembergsesteenweg, 1180 Brussels