It doesn't get more European than this: a meeting of some of Europe's finest chefs in the heart of Brussels, cooking up a dinner with no less than 15 courses. The occasion was Steven Plotnicki's long awaited announcement of the Top 100 European Restaurants 2014, a list released by Opinionated About Dining every year. Throughout the year, registered members have written 140,000 reviews and taken part in a survey to determine the final ranking, also factoring the experience into the rating system.
In De Wulf was awarded No.1 restaurant in Europe and Kobe Desramaults was celebrated throughout the evening. Restaurant Troisgros, France and Quique Dacosta Restaurante came second and third, respectively, followed by 41 Degrees, Barcelona; Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse, Monte-Carlo; Amador, Mannheim; Noma, Copenhagen; Fat Duck, Bray-on-Thames; Astrance, Paris; and L'Arpège, Paris.
With the announcement out of the way, the 110 guests sat down for a dinner prepared by 6 Michelin star chefs and their teams, among them Esben Holmboe Bang of restaurant Maaemo in Norway, Quique Dacosta of his eponymous restaurant in Spain, Sergio Herman of restaurant Jane in the Netherlands, Gert de Mangeleer of restaurant Hertog Jan in Belgium and Tim Raue of his eponymous restaurant in Germany.
Two dishes by each chef featured a tremendous range of different styles and ingredients, and often included the respective chef's signature dish. Gert de Mangeleer started off the menu with a seemingly simple but exceptional dish of Avocado with tomato powder and olive oil, and later on presented his famous Grilled pointed peppers with fresh goat cheese, green olives, anchovies and clarified leak of roasted peppers.
Esben Holmboe Bang featured Oysters from Bømlo with dill and mussel as well as a fabulous combination of Lightly pickled mackerel, ramson and sauce of preserved apples. Sergio Herman contributed West Flemish red beef, smoked "oosterschelde" eel and beetroot, as well as an incredibly tender and flavourful Iberico Neck, aubergine, miso and sesame. A highlight for many that evening was Quique Dacosta's Cherries gazpacho & gamba "de Denia" confite, due to its outstanding combination of colours on the plate and combination of flavours on the palate, and he later presented a dish called Ashes, both dark in colour and deep in flavour. Tim Raue introduced his two dishes as Asian-inspired, namely Wasabi langoustine and the Creamy truffle, Chinese rice wine, roasted celery & grape, waking up tired palates with punchy spices.
All dishes were accompanied by a wide selection of wines, sake and beers.
It was an evening of celebration in an atmosphere not unlike a big family event, where Europe was united in its love for tremendous food, fabulous wine and the good company of people who all share a passion for fine dining.
For the Top 100 European Restaurants 2014 list, please go to opinionatedaboutdining.com.