First Stop: La Villa in the Sky
Seeing as we had rolled the dice and landed on Brussels, I went to work researching restaurants, breweries, chocolatiers, and waffles compiling a list of can't miss places while we were there. There was one place high on my radar, La Villa in the Sky. Not only did it have one of the best views of the city, but one of Brussels most famous chefs, Alexandre Dionisio. Chef Dionisio has worked in kitchens since he was 16 years old, but most may know him from his appearance on Top Chef in 2010. Only six months after competing in Top Chef, Chef Dionisio opened up his first restaurant and earned his first Michelin star. Quite the accomplishment. In 2014, he joined La Villa in the Sky and most recently earned his second Michelin Star. Congrats, Chef Dionisio!
After an excruciatingly long flight and lost baggage (thanks, Delta), we made our way to the restaurant. Located on the roof of the IT Tower, it was more breathtaking than I could imagine. We checked in with the desk at the lower level of the tower and were escorted to the twenty-fifth floor. We were seated near the kitchen so I was torn, enjoy the breathtaking view of the city or watch the chef work his magic? Lucky for me, I was able to do both.
La Villa in the Sky offered two different lunch offerings: the standard prix fixe menu or a lighter "All in the Sky" lunch which included three courses with two different wine pairings and more desserts than a girl could dream of. It was perfect. Once we were seated, I wanted to make sure the chef and his team were aware of the dining restrictions as my dining companion was a vegetarian. I was slightly concerned because I notated that in my original reservation request and they acted as if this was the first that they had heard of it. In this day and age, almost every restaurant of this caliber accommodates dietary restrictions and La Villa did as well, it just seemed as if they were caught off guard with the request.
To tease our palates, the chef sent over a small bite of zucchini sandwiched between two paper-thin wafers placed atop a bed of green and white crumbles, mimicking the color of the dish.
What a perfect way to start the meal! The appetizers were just as lovely as the first bite. I dined on a warm sinfully tasteful shrimp croquette nestled on a bed of wood chips. I savored every moment of that bite. Delish!
Delighting my palate next was a combination of potato puree, egg yolk with chicken, mushrooms and micro greens. Such an interesting texture and flavor profile. The delicateness of the yolk balanced out the heartiness of the chicken. I am unsure what type of mushrooms Chef served, but they were some of the most flavorful and large ones that I have ever seen. Kudos!
For our final savory course, Chef served pigeon. You will have to forgive me as I didn't receive a menu and was completely jet lagged, so the details of this dish are a bit lacking, but the flavor wasn't. This was some of the best pigeon I have ever tasted. Colorfully plated, this was the pinnacle of my meal.
To end this tasting adventure, Chef kept it simple, yet elegant. We were served a medley of berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with basil puree, graham cracker crumble, and greek yogurt ice cream. Each spoonful was light and refreshing, not overly sweet.
Just when I thought we were finished, we were presented with a charming tray of sweet treats, including silver coated hazelnuts with a yuzu caramel tube that you squirted in your mouth with each bite, a lemon tart and a chocolate bark with raspberry and basil jelly carefully placed on top.
I may have only been functioning on a few hours of sleep but La Villa in the Sky and Chef Dionisio provided a wonderful lunch and a view of a lifetime. It was almost as if time stood still while I watched the clouds float by. If you find yourself headed to Brussels, make sure you pay La Villa in the Sky a visit.