Pitch-perfect plates in pastoral surrounds by the patriarch of modern Belgian cuisine
A potted history: A regular presence on the 50 Best list, Hof van Cleve started life as a working farm before Peter Goossens elevated its status to a worldwide gastronomic great. Set in bucolic East Flanders, he has been delighting guests with his refined Belgian cuisine for over 30 years.
Who’s behind it? One of the country’s finest chefs, Goossens earned his stripes in Paris at Pré Catelan and Pavillon d’Elysée.
Following the seasons: Local produce is the backbone of the restaurant, which offers five- and seven-course tasting menus (plus à la carte) driven by the seasons. Craftsmanship, creativity and uncompromising attention to detail results in classic, yet interesting flavour combinations balanced out by myriad textures and colours on the plate. Frog’s legs with bellota, parsley and cous cous is case in point. Fish and shellfish feature heavily, too: think sea bass with ponzu and black rice, turbot with romanesco and pollack with white asparagus.
The dining room: Don't be fooled by the rustic farmhouse exterior; inside is a sleek, elegant space decorated with works of art, furniture and crockery from Belgium’s leading artists and craftsmen. Beautifully tailored waiters provide smooth, personable service, and there’s the added bonus of an outdoor terrace boasting knock-out views for spring and summertime eating.
Don't miss: The epic cheese and dessert trolleys that glide and clink their way between the tables.