Hendrik Dierendonck, the renowned nose to tail Belgian butcher who also owns the Carcasse restaurant next door to his butcher’s shop in Saint-Idesbald, Koksijde on the Belgian coast invited his friends and guests for a four-hands dinner with the team of Brussels Korean restaurant Maru.
There is a reason why Dierenonck chose the Maru team. It is one of his favourite spots in Brussels and he loves the Korean flavours which marry very well with his style and philosophy of cooking. As one would expect from a dinner at Carcasse, this was clearly a dinner for meatlovers and also not for the faint-hearted though the message was clear. At a time when sustainability is the talk of the town, we need to forget prejudices and if we are going to eat meat, then we need to ensure that nothing goes to waste.
That was the philosophy and the story behind this four hands dinner. From the blood sausage which Hendrik prepared in front of guests to fried cock’s combs (prepared by the Maru team), pig heads served at table, veal tongue and brain croquettes this dinner pushed boundaries at least for many sitting at my table.
Hendrik started by serving his charcuterie with parmesan. This was delightful and melted in the mouth.
For the dinner, the first dish was fried cock’s combs served with Korean spices, a dish prepared by the Maru team. They then served veal tongue followed by a brain croquette with a tomato foam.
Hendrik served blood sausage two ways. He served one grilled on ginger bread toast and another freshly cooked after having prepared it himself. He told us to eat it with bread.
Then came the pig’s head served at table. This was served together with corn and smoked sour green, bell pepper and green onion kimchi and was followed by a beef tartare prepared the Maru way with garlic. An exceptional dish where the quality of the meat as well as the preparation merged to create something incredible.
This was followed by meats selected by Hendrik himself. One was the Rubia Gallega from Spain as well as the Belgian Red breed which he breeds on his own farm and is an extremely rare breed of cattle that is a recognised regional product of West Flanders. The cattle has the capacity to produce quality meat from a grass diet. The permanent pastures located in the Ijzervallej and the polders are suitable for these animals. Dierendonck considers that these pastures called “fat pastures” give the Belgian Red its distinct flavour.
This was served with fermented cabbage, daikon water kimchi, cauliflower and basil, daikon water kimchi and a Korean salad pickle juice.
For dessert, they served a selection of pastries by Stephan de Strooper. The wines for the evening were selected by Ewe Le Moigne of Saturne, Paris.