KORTRIJK: Matthieu Beudaert and Sofie Delbeke are not afraid of change. Two years after closing gastronomic restaurant Tables D’Amis and after their successful opening of Trattoria La Bicicletta they are again embarking on a new chapter in the Belgian city of Kortrijk.
After having served 1366 pasta dishes with truffle, grilled 1753 entrecotes and sold 4888 arancini during the COVID-19 pandemic they have announced the closure of their highly popular Trattoria La Bicicletta. This will make way for a return to a gastronomic restaurant Table d’Amis and Pizza Sofia, a new project by Sofie Delbeke who is determined to take Neapolitan pizza to this Belgian city.
“Two years ago, I decided to quit fine-dining. I had enough of it. But there are two reasons that have rekindled my passion. My weekly column in Sabato magazine (the weekend supplement of Belgian newspaper De Tijd) toether with Thijs Demeulemeester and Piet Dekersieter made me see new connections between art and gastronomy. And my second impluse was a visit to chef Niko Romito’s restaurant Reale, where I ate an incredible meal which made me reconsider everything.” he said.
Matthieu knows that he can now start over again but he considers this to be a big advantage. “When starting afresh you can filter and take out what is good. Running a fine-dining restaurant has many pitfalls and challenges. Operating costs are high and margins are small. In the meantime, I have learned that gastronomy is not about having huge brigades, serving caviar and having table linen. In essence, it is about conveying emotions. It is about making connections between people, those who inspire you such as artists, colleagues or parents, the butcher around the corner, your staff who lift you to a higher level each day, the farmer who grows rare vegetables with passion and the winemaker who brings his soul into the wines he makes,” Matthieu said.
With Table D’Amis, Matthieu wants to go back to his roots cooking casually to the rhythm of nature.
To reinforce the informality of dining, he has specifically designed tables that are organic. “The shape reminds me of a study trip to Sweden and Finland where the architecture and thinking of Alvar Aalto have left a deep impact on me. For me the tables symbolize the connection with nature, the seasons that are constantly changing but keep returning,” he said.
Table d’Amis opens on 5 October from Tuesday to Saturday with a team of five people.
In the same space, Sofie Delbeke is opening a Pizzeria. She used to be the sommelier and front of house at Table D’Amis but during the second lockdown she left for Naples to learn the tricks of the trade and make connections at the Pizza Napoletana Verace Academy. She had never cooked before but decided to follow this new passion researching not just Neapolitan pizza but also the benefits of making a sourdough pizza which which she has been serving at Trattoria La Bicicletta over the past few months.
After some renovation works and the bricklaying of an authentic Neapolitan wood burning oven, the pizzeria will open in early October.