A while ago, my friend Bernard and I visited the Castle of Grandvoir (Château de Grandvoir), a tall building in the area of Neufchâteau, where a restaurant, a hotel and a brewery have been implemented. This place is not yet on the radar of reputable food guides but is already worth a trip!
A global idea, a local project
The castle was taken over by Geoffroy and Barbara Dewitte about five years ago. This couple from Brussels wanted to build a global project in this beautiful corner of the Belgian Ardennes. They designed a first-rate hotel, a reception room, an artisan brewery and now a
restaurant. Everything has been done to turn this hunter lodge into a refuge for those seeking to escape the city for the weekend.
It is quite clear that a lot of money was invested. The brewery is brand new, the hotel was created from scratches, the reception rooms are carefully designed while the restaurant offers a lovely atmosphere. Intelligence is a trademark and it can be highlighted that the owners understand rural life. As we were talking with Geoffroy, we were joined by locals working for the castle. Respect is mutual here.
A gastronomic promise
We were particularly eager to try the restaurant. A young chef, Antoine Rigaux, is in charge. Originally from Petitvoir, he has worked for Maxime Collard for 18 months before coming here for his first experience as head chef. With his partner, Alison Goebels, they built a beautiful and generous menu and even a few superb courses! The desire to create, to bring forward local ingredients, is obvious.
Ingredients and skill
The menu that we enjoyed that night was filled with good ideas but will need to be perfected. We loved the fario trout, the rabbit, and the incredible dessert made with the local beer. One or two dishes could have been better executed but there was nothing unpleasant to report. Antoine will have to gain more experience to offer more constancy in the future (a friend went on another night and was not as happy as us), but it is a pleasant to think that we are witnessing the birth of a potential big name.
Dishes and tastes
Among the dishes that we tried, a few were particularly noticeable. The rabbit rillettes, a recipe of Maxime Collard (?), was delicious: rich but not sticky, perfect textures, a subtle but durable taste. The quail was probably the best dish of the evening. The leg was tender, the meat was tasty and perfectly cooked, the shallot purée was traditional but well balanced while the strong jus tightened the whole dish to perfection, giving it a real soul. The smoked trout, on the other hand, was not entirely convincing but the beef was very satisfying despite its rather chewy nature. The dessert based on the local beer, the Vaurien, was the star of the day. The beer sabayon, slightly acidic and bitter, was perfectly balanced by the cereal ice cream, which gave this typical rich smoky taste. A real delight!
The wine menu was rather short, even though pairing was done professionally and two-three bottles were priced fairly. We have been told that the restaurant will work toward offering more quality bottles in the near future.