Sang Hoon Degeimbre leaves nothing to chance. Like a skilled conductor on the stage of flavors, l’Air du Temps’s chef weaves intricate symmetries between ingredients. He is as precise in cooking as he is with regards to the immediate environment of the plate. It is therefore nosurprise that he opened his second Belgian restaurant – baptized SAN – on the rue de Flandres, “the place to be” in Brussels. Bowls have now replaced the books in this former library with jade-colored walls.
“I wanted something that reflected the diversity of the European – almost global – city of Brussels: hence the choice of taking over something as universal as a library that is used all around he world.” San explained.
Same goes for the content. San uses his culinary experiences aboard to fill five bowls named after different cities or regions. “Denia” for the prawn risotto in homage to Quique Dacosta, “Seoul” for the Korean beef tartare – a nod to his origins – and the “Sichuan” for an immersion into the eponymous pepper-spiced broth. You can also opt for a stay-cation with the “Lieurnu” bowl, a 100% vegetarian option that offers the best of the region, including vegetables grown and fermented by the chef himself.
This mini tour around the world, guided by Toshiro Fujii – L’Air du Temps’ sous chef – and Quentin Lolios, is absolute bliss. Armed with only a spoon in lieu of luggage, you twirl around the bowls, travelling from one continent to the next. The gesture is novel, and the cuisine follows. Instead of babbling the usual breviary of creative gastronomy, Sang Hoon Degeimbre, invents something new, and has fun doing it. A chance for the diner to put down his knife and fork and take in cuisines from all around the world with a spoon.