Our recent visit to Dunas Dine in Knokke-Heist was not only a culinary voyage of discovery, but also an immersion in a world of sophisticated aesthetics. Located in a breathtaking location on the dike of Heist, with an unforgettable view of the sea, Dunas Dine effortlessly combines the relaxed atmosphere of Ibiza with subtle references to the North Sea. The interior of the restaurant is a true work of art, with every detail carefully thought out.
On entering, one immediately notices the splendor of the limed walls, which cast a warm, inviting glow. The table settings, served in unique holders hewn from stone from local breakwaters, reflect a deep connection to the coast. Perhaps most striking is the bar’s ceiling, covered in dune grass, which creates a unique, natural atmosphere and brings in the essence of the coast.
During our visit, we enjoyed the Chef Choice Lunch, a masterfully curated experience illustrating the creativity and talent of Chef Fran Mertens. This Boechout native, who honed her culinary skills at the PIVA hotel school in Antwerp and gained experience with top chefs such as Syrco Bakker and Edwin Menue, displays an impressive level of gastronomic sophistication.
Our culinary journey began with refined “Bites”: a Sorlut oyster enriched with citrus apricot and cucumber salad, vitello tonato that melted on the tongue, and a delectable duck croquette with a ras el hanout-based cream. The appetizer, a tartare of sea bream, was a harmony of flavors that paired perfectly with gently cooked beet on salt, a cream of goat cheese and walnut.
The main course, a sublimely prepared venison calf from the bbq, bathed in a gravy of vadouvant and ginger, was a true highlight. The pointed cabbage, cooked in the oven with pomegranate, and the sweet potato gratin were the perfect accompaniments. The dessert, a symphony of tangerine in various preparations, united with a cake of green cardamom and an enchanting lemon verbena sorbet, closed our meal on a high note.
To accompany these gastronomic delights were wines that took each dish to the next level. The Domaine Clement (Mentou-Salon, France) and the Pietro Rinaldi Bricco Cichetta Barbera d’Alba Superiore (Piedmont, Italy) were not only accompaniments, but stars in their own right in this culinary symphony.
Our visit to Dunas Dine was an unforgettable experience, where every bite and every detail of the interior reminded us of the beauty and richness of the Belgian coast. Chef Fran Mertens and her team left an indelible impression on us. A visit that will remain in our memories for a long time.