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Features 1 minute 12 January 2021

Confessions of a MICHELIN inspector: Belgium’s new 3 Star restaurant Zilte

The inspectors of the MICHELIN Guide are shrouded in mystery. Anonymity is in their DNA. Yet with this article they want to give you an insight into their world. That's why they’d like to explain why restaurant Zilte has been awarded Three Stars.

MICHELIN Guide Belgium & Luxembourg 3 Michelin Stars Zilte

Two MICHELIN stars have been adorning the façade of restaurant Zilte since 2008. The inventiveness and technical skill of Viki Geunes has been praised for years. He has described himself perfectly as a 'food designer'. Eating on the top floor of the MAS, an imposing building in Antwerp, is accompanied by a lot of ooohs and aaahs when the plates arrive at the table. But, in recent years, chef Geunes brought a lot of ingredients together which sometimes made the dishes a little too complicated.

The recent move to the other side of the MAS, with its dazzling design and stylish restyling of the restaurant, also changed the food on the plate. Chef Geunes remained true to his style, but returned his dishes back to their essence. Fewer ingredients, even more depth and complex nuances show that this chef's quest led him to master his craft.

“You don't earn a third MICHELIN star in one year.”

Whereas in the past he sometimes used to let his flavours dominate, today he has perfected that balance. Take the stunning lobster dish we enjoyed this year: firstly it used produce of exceptional quality; then a creamy sauce in which the exotic sugars of spicy mango lent extra depth and dukkah for tantalising spiciness while different preparations of carrot provided additional excitement and textures. And then there was the perfect preparation of pigeon that we also enjoyed; powerful and refined, with morels and an intense sauce. De-li-cious!

You should also know that these dishes were part of a well-thought-out succession of fresh, spicy, rich and then full preparations. The clever composition of the dishes and attention to the digestibility of the menu only added to the pleasure. Everything was right, down to the last detail. We would also like to mention the work of the sommelier, who adroitly adapts his advice to the wishes of his guest and surprises time and again with some gems.

You don't earn a third MICHELIN star in one year. We have been keeping a close eye on Viki Geunes for years, curious about the development of his cuisine. And rest assured, we too are delighted that Belgium has its second Three-Star restaurant!

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