Images conjured up by Belga include excellent beers, moules marinière, pommes frites, and waffles, but Chef Nico ignored these staples and instead laid on an innovative five-course menu that still paid homage to the Belgian theme.
Some who arrived early took the opportunity to sample the fine draft beers on offer, but our lunch officially began with tasty seared tuna and cheese croquet canapés accompanied by NV Alma Cuvee Franciacorta Bellavista (Lombardy, Italy), a refreshing and crisp Italian sparkler that all enjoyed.
Moving to the dining table, we were served Poached Canadian Lobster with Cauliflower Textures, Caviar, and Vanilla Dressing. The lobster was perfectly cooked, making it a colourful starter that was also surprisingly light tasting, as noted by Food Spokesman Mark Guthrie, who complimented Chef Nico on his use of a cauliflower puree blended with whipping cream (one of the “textures”) as the base.
This was matched with 2014 Tongue in Groove Waipara Riesling (South Island, NZ), which the wine maker said ‘offers a palate both rich and long yet perfectly balanced by the acid’. Wine Spokesman Jim Morrison (egged on by neighbours) was unimpressed, but all agreed it was better with food.