The first feeling is happiness; as soon as you step into the Bistrot Blaise in the heart of Marche-en-Famenne, you are greeted with smiles and welcomes. François-Xavier Simon and Hanna Matyja have the desire to create a real climate of benevolence, a clear conviviality that immediately wins over the guest; a sort of "we´ll take care of you" that wonderfully translates the spirit of these magnificent innkeepers, in the noble sense of the term. And one would have to be stiff-hearted not to join them in this welcoming waltz. 

Child of the region, the path of FX is sewn with golden letters. After attending hotel school in Namur and working in the dining room at the prestigious Georges V in Paris, the call of the kitchen led him to the brigades of Joël Robuchon, followed by the double macaron ´Il Pagliaccio´ in Rome, before joining the man who would forever be his mentor, Pierre Gagnaire, for twelve years. A partner in heart, certainty and doubt, Hanna shines in the dining room; she was born Polish and moved from her native land to Deauville first, then to Paris and the George V, where her smile and joie de vivre still resonate. 

The Bistrot Blaise project was born, took shape and grew during the confined moments. Suspended moments are good and beautiful because they allow time to settle down, to let spirits breathe, to give birth to ideas and to give birth to projects. Making day of this domain of the possible, making that these strong and well inspired souls choose to reveal that from nothing can be born everything.

The story brings him back to his land and his family, and to his grandmother, this Grandma who ran a store, one of those little stores with great treasures that we all had near our home. A Grandma to whom the crowds went during hunting season to find the most beautiful game. Nostalgia dear.

From FX Simon´s cooking, besides a deep nature and a rare identity, one feels an opening on the whole earth; as if the man had absorbed all the lands, all the spices and all the perfumes of the world. A feeling nourished by these small details, these very small things that catch us, surprise us and take us away without our expecting it; here a delicate spice, there a well done acidity. A cuisine entirely marked by the personality of its chef: full of taste, solar in its soul, readable, daring for the area. 

I absolutely love the sweetbreads, an exceptional product with a dazzling cooking, set with salsify, spinach and a macaroni apple. Otherwise, today and now, we have chosen for you, among others, the Crispy rice and spicy prawns to share, the Croquette of pig´s feet, topped with a salad of razor clams, lentils, chorizo and white grapes, the Scallops a la plancha, sauerkraut, buckwheat, avocado and beurre blanc with pale ale (local) PAM! Roasted pigeon fillet on the trunk, Jerusalem artichoke, apple, blue cheese, confit leg in tempura, Grandma´s garnish and Brussels sprouts.

And to die full and happy, the White Lady.

So many witnesses of the method of a man who refuses to dictate to his fellow men what they should eat, he just wants to propose, invite, offer. And to delight.