Celebrating Belgian-style with Heverlee Beer
A delicious menu of food was prepared by chef Wim Dejonghe from the Het Land Aan De Overkant restaurant in Heverlee with a selection of Belgian beers specially-chosen by Joris Brams (of Heverlee Beer) who talked us through the beers he had paired with each course. We are big fans of Joris and his passion for great Belgian beer (and not all of it is brewed for Heverlee!), having first met him in 2013 and then again last month for the launch of Heverlee Witte.
A six-course tasting menu awaited and first up was steak tartare paired with the flagship Heverlee lager – a sweet golden pils with a crisp clean finish. I remember the days you couldn’t find steak tartare in Glasgow but we’ve had it four times in the last month! This dish was light, delicate and colourful, especially for steak tartare, with yellow, green, red, pink and black all on the plate, and this is probably the first time we’ve ever come across sprinkles of “radish snow” which was interesting though the tarragon was a bit overpowering.
Next Course, moules frites with Heverlee Witte – the recently launched witbier in the Heverlee range. This cloudy white wheaty beer had a really big head, clean aroma and sweet honey-ish taste with Hoegaarden-esque orange and coriander notes. This dish was again artistic and colourful – an intense orange-brown setting sun on a plate! It was also very minimal compared to moules that we’ve had before with the fries liquidized into the stock! Plump mussels with horseradish cream, thin slices of pickled onion and burnt leek in an earthy broth – gorgeous.
Round three was paired with Bruwerij Oud Beersel – Oude Gueze Vieille, the most difficult of the beers being a wild yeast gueuze, which means that’s made using natural yeast that’s in the air resulting in a dense beer with both a sour aroma and sour taste and an unusual salty pickle aftertaste. Some of the diners at our table struggled with this one but I quite enjoyed it. If you’re a scrumpy cider fan you’ll probably quite like it (and I have since spied this beer, along with another from the same brewery, for sale in Hippo Beers on Queen Margaret Drive). The sourness was in marked contrast to the meaty slow cooked cod cheeks and (we are told) pearl barley risotto and a sort-of healthy seed brittle.
Course four was our favourite though sadly we had a nut-allergy sufferer at our table who had to pass up on this unusual & delicious concoction! Sole cooked in hazelnut butter with hazelnut crumble and hazelnut cream. I can’t say I’ve ever had this combination before but the sweet nuttiness worked strangely well with the fish, which was matched with Kessel Blond from Brouwerij de Vlier, another sweet, dense and full-bodied beer with a vegetable earthiness but still very very sweet. It was strong at 7% but still very easy to drink.
The fifth course matched tender meat with not just beer but whisky too! The entrecôte was infused with Lagavulin 16 year-old and was just as pink and delicious as it looked! It was served with Brasserie de la Senne’s Stouterik – the first Belgian stout we’ve ever come across and a pretty good attempt aside from the thin head (which on a Belgian beer is a very rare thing indeed!), it had the usual dark chocolate and espresso flavours you would expect from a stout but was perhaps fizzier and livelier than your usual stout though it was served too cold so perhaps this altered the composition somewhat.
The sixth and final course was a dessert Brussels waffel paired with Brouwerij Boon Framboise. It didn’t look like any waffle I’ve ever had before being more like a pancake but it came with marinated cherries and cherry ice-cream so it was apt that the paired beer would be a sour lambic. We love Belgian fruit beers, especially raspberry ones and this one was on the sour end of the spectrum, we prefer the sweeter Liefmans variety (though perhaps that’s because it’s what we’re used to as the sour ones are more difficult to come by in Glasgow?) but it was still a really good beer and worked very well with pudding.
Wim emerged from the kitchen to rapturous applause and we hung about till finishing time and missed our train up the road (oops!) but you know it’s been a good night when that happens!
This was a fabulous night with fabulous food which has left us yearning to return to Belgium.
The Tontine Lane pop-up is tucked away in the lane just behind Glasgow City Heritage Trust on Bell Street and will be serving Belgian beer and food to the public until the end of the Merchant City Festival on Sunday 2nd August. Make sure you visit before it disappears!