Butterscotch & Chocolate

FARM-FRESH FEAST: RESTAURANT FOGO OP ALTEMBROUCK

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As the sun set over the hills of the Altembrouck estate, we stepped out in search of the entrance to Restaurant Fogo only to spot our host Olaf through an ornate glass door. He led us through an alternative route through the back rooms of the reception area, past a private dining room and into a timber-walled library that finally brought us into the grand restaurant dining room.

We were seated by a large window overlooking the vast meadows of the estate, where we enjoyed a feast of farm fresh meats. I was instantly wowed by the appetiser of mangalica prosciutto which had a clean, sweet flavour and melted in the mouth. The teriyaki pork that followed was intensely flavourful, with a surprisingly dark and well-marbled meat that gave it an almost beef-like quality. The wagyu beef main was extremely rich in flavour, and the meat so soft I barely needed to use my knife.

Altembrouck’s slow food philosophy and focus on quality ensures that the true and unique taste of their free-range beef and pork is emphasised on the plate. Clean and simple flavours allow the meat to shine. Fogo means ‘fire’ in Portuguese, and the restaurant takes its name from the symbol for primitive preparation methods and authentic tastes. Having seen first-hand how the animals are raised on site with so much care and respect, it was a real privilege to dine at Restaurant Fogo, and to see that same care and respect reflected in simple dishes that allow the quality and flavour of the wagyu and mangalica to take centre stage.


m1Having been given the Altembrouck stables tour earlier in the day and seeing how well the animals were cared for, I had no qualms about going to dinner at the hotel restaurant that night. Restaurant Fogo is located on the ground floor of the hotel and it is a stunning space. We walked past a spiral staircase and were seated near a large stone fireplace with the estate name etched above it.

We decided on the three-course dinner featuring wagyu and mangalica, the animals we’d seen earlier in the day. A small plate arrived with a thinly sliced dark meat perched on top. I thought it was wagyu at first but then realised the meat was actually mangalica pork. The meat was dark red in colour, very fatty and looked more like beef than pork. The flavour of the pork was amazing. It tasted very similar to beef, and even the fat had a nice kick to it and melted in my mouth.

The entrée was a fillet of mangalica with a dark sauce covering the top. This was accompanied by a bed of vegetables and a side of foam. The meat was a little tough, but very delicious. The sauce was quite sweet but matched the meat perfectly. The serving size was huge and could have easily passed for a main course.

I chose the mangalica pork chop for my main dish and was not disappointed. It was served with mashed potatoes and what looked like ratatouille. It was another solid dish packed full of flavor. Like the previous dish, the serving size was extremely generous, leaving no hope of room for dessert. Even if you’re not staying at Altembrouck this restaurant is worth the drive – the food is great and the dining room is a perfect setting for that special evening.


Restaurant Fogo Op Altembrouck
Altenbroek 4, 3798 ‘s Gravenvoeren
http://www.altembrouck.com

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