North of the Belgian Ardennes, is a small town called Kruishoutem. Here, you will find a rustic restaurant with a classic, warm interior and where quality is key. This is where Vinto holds house.
It was only two years ago Pieter Fraeyman and Karel van Oyen decided to start their own restaurant. With their experience in catering and working for star restaurant Hertog Jan, it was no surprise that Vinto made it big immediately. The taste and quality of the menu, as well as the story behind the ingredients, get the most compliments. “We spend a lot of time finding the best of the best,” Van Oyen explains.
Every day, they work to find better and tastier ingredients. “It’s important to us that ingredients are full of flavour, then they don’t need a lot of extras. You know how sometimes you may wonder what kind of flavours you really taste in a dish? We don’t want that.”
The menu is recognisable, but not too classic. “It’s based on known products and dishes, but we use certain techniques to make it just a tad more special. Thanks to the quality of the ingredients, we don’t want to add too much to a dish. If we serve dove, a guest has to be able to taste the dove and not some sauce we pour over it. Taste is most important to us, the way it looks comes second.”
To achieve that kind of quality, there is no limit. Not in food – their up to 22-yearold Txogitxu beef from Spain is unlike any beef you have ever tasted – and not in wine. Fraeyman was voted Sommelier of the Year 2018 in Belgium so he certainly knows what he is doing. His secret? “Don’t go for the classic wines, but try to find new countries,” says Van Oyen. “We skip France and head up to Germany, Hungary and Austria. Our house champagne, for instance, is from a small farm South of Reims that Pieter discovered. We’re the only ones serving it in Belgium, and it tastes delicious.”
Vinto is telling a story with their products. Brands do not matter, taste does. And guests appreciate this. “They are often surprised when they hear our story behind something they eat, and that’s always nice to hear. This is our passion, after all.”