From comings and goings, the collection of blessed moments grows. At Bistrot Blaise, in the heart of Marche-en-Famenne, it's always smiles and welcomes. François-Xavier Simon and Hanna Matyja have a desire to create a genuine atmosphere of benevolence, a clear conviviality that immediately captivates the guest; a kind of 'we will take care of you' that perfectly reflects the spirit of these wonderful innkeepers, in the noble sense of the term. It would take a stiff and extinguished heart not to join them in this welcoming waltz.
As a native of the region, FX's path is sewn with golden letters. After hotel school in Namur and a stint 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 spending twelve years with the man who would forever be his mentor, Pierre Gagnaire. Heart accomplice, of certainties and doubts, Hanna shines in the dining room; she, born in Poland, moved from her homeland to Deauville first, then Paris and the George V, where her smile and joy still resonate.
The project of Bistrot Blaise was born, took shape, and grew during confined moments. These suspended moments have the good and beautiful quality of allowing time to settle, minds to breathe, ideas to be born, and projects to emerge. Shedding light on this realm of possibility, making these strong and well-inspired souls choose to reveal that from nothing everything can be born.
The story brings him back as if by necessity to his land, his family, and his grandmother, this Grandma who ran a store, one of those small shops with great treasures that we all had nearby once. A cherished nostalgia.
From FX Simon's kitchen, aside from a profound nature and a rare identity, you sense an openness to the entire world; as if the man had absorbed all the terroirs, spices, and fragrances of the world. A feeling nourished by those small details, those very small things that grab us, surprise us, and take us away without us expecting it; here a delicate spice, there a well-placed acidity. A kitchen, brilliantly conceived and executed by a young brigade driven by passion and entirely marked by the personality of its chef: full of taste, sunny in its soul, readable, bold, and controlled, where each element contributes to the whole.
Absolute favorite for the start with the Tartare of Dieppe Scallop bound with thick cream, pomelo, pomegranate, bottarga, fresh coriander, roasted nuts, Paimpol coconut hummus, raw turnip, and Plancha Langoustines, and the Croquettes of pig's trotter, cauliflower cream 'Terre de Sienne' saffroned.
To follow, the Roasted and lacquered Partridge with a bigarade of blackcurrant, salsify whistles, chanterelles, and kumquat, Brussels sprout petals, and the Confit thigh, sauerkraut with smoked bacon from the Poës butchery, supreme sauce, and of course, the Veal sweetbread meunière, celery and pak choi bound with burnt onion broth, topiflette, quince condiment, veal jus flavored with Genepi. And to close the meal, with a smile on the face, the Colonel Roquette, a lovely discovery.
There are men who create connections between products, plates, and emotions, our emotions.