The first gourmet vegan restaurant in Belgium is about to open its doors

Belgium is about to have its very first gourmet vegan restaurant.

The country is known for its meat and seafood cuisine. Take the cannibal, for example. And no, despite its name, this traditional dish has nothing to do with eating humans. (It’s actually a variation of steak tartare.)

There are also eels au vert, which is a plate of eel, and carbonnades flamandes (a thick stew with beef). But Amaranthwhich will open in Merelbeke this weekend, will not serve any of these dishes.

Instead, diners will find starters and mains filled with fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables, tofu and mushrooms. For example, one appetizer, developed by co-owner and chef Pieter-Jan Lint, is called Roots & Cheese and includes carrots and ginger, vegan cheese and bergamot.

Looking at the menu, you’d be surprised to learn that one of the owners, Carmen Duytschaever, comes from a family of butchers. But they said From Standard that they were pushed back to an omnivorous diet after realizing the amount of suffering involved in making animal products.

“I come from a family of butchers. Meat, potatoes and some vegetables: that’s what a normal meal looked like,” said Duytschaever. “But behind this piece of meat, there is also suffering.”

They added: “Even a slice of cheese hides a sad story. While milk production requires a lot of water and is harmful to the environment, cows also have to put up with a lot of it.

The vegan food scene

While Amaranth may be the first of its kind in Belgium, elsewhere in the world the vegan food scene is growing.

Last year, New York’s Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park announced it would reopen with a new meat-free and seafood-free menu. The resulting waitlist for a table at the restaurant topped 15,000.

Also in 2021, Alexis Gauthier, a Michelin-starred French chef, decided to turn his London restaurant, Gauthier Soho, completely vegan. At the time of the announcement, he said Great hospitality“There are no animal products in the restaurant, not even in the chef’s pocket. I am a vegan myself; it would be unethical for me to profit from the sale of dead animals.

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