For a country with an outstanding reputation for its beer, this doesn’t seem all that surprising at first glance, but spectacular it most definitely is.
In 2019, the restaurant named De Gebrande Winning, run by 47-year-old business owner Raf Sainte from Zepperen, near Sint-Truiden, had already reached second place on the international beer website RateBeer, but now, it has climbed to the top of the world rankings. Together with his girlfriend, parents and five employees, he has been relentlessly seeking out the perfect combinations of beers and dishes for six years now.
In the meantime, his business has built up an undisputed reputation for that reason and that is something that hasn’t escaped the notice of the critics at RateBeer.com. Elated and full of pride, Raf successfully fought off the competition from no fewer than 74,000 pubs, restaurants and drinks outlets.
In his cellar, he keeps 225 kinds of beer from almost every corner of the world. Some are very rare, like the German sour beer, of which there are only twelve bottles the world over. Beer fanatics, also somewhat irreverently referred to as beer geeks, come from far and wide to taste Raf’s extensive and valuable collection, which is worth an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 euros.
The cuisine of De Gebrande Winning has its origins in the ladies Simone and Mariette, respectively the grandmother of the chef and the grandmother of his girlfriend. They are mainly inspired by their love to choose good products and by mouths watering when the chef thinks back to the grandiose things that Simone and Mariette could conjure up with limited resources.
The memory of how they travelled with their “big shopper” all over town to buy the best turkey, or a prime rib, the best minced meat, the best chicken for the spit, the pinkest salmon or the freshest celery and onion for the pot of mussels. This love for the products, this love for extreme care and for what will be on the table for the guests. This is what De Gebrande Winning tries to pursue with a new edge and some creativity.
Some of De Gebrande Winning’s specialties include:
- Creamy potato with buttermilk, smoked trout, wild asparagus and chives
- 36-hour cooked bacon, and glazed young carrots with bay leaf
- Strawberry salad with cold sabayon with cherry and lemon geranium
This first prize calls for a huge celebration with, of course, lots of beer. Once De Gebrande Winning opens its doors again, Raf will offer his first hundred customers a glass of delicious champagne beer. Not to be missed.