Go West

kortrijkBy Robyn Boyle

Kortrijk’s hidden treasures are worth the trip
Bockor’s Bellegem is one of many charming rural villages located near Kortrijk, but there is plenty more to see in and around the vibrant city near the French border. The Broel Towers are a great place to start your tour of Kortrijk proper, as they are the last remaining vestiges of the city’s extensive medieval fortifications. From there, just a small jaunt in any direction will lead you to the area’s best addresses for beer and food. Here’s our pick of the restaurants, shops and breweries worth your visit.

Where to eat:

‘t Rusteel: Heulestraat 168, 8560 Gullegem;, www.rusteel.be
Serving up quality bistro cuisine in their cosy country restaurant since 1984, Peter and Kathleen joined hands with the brewers at Gulden Spoor (see below) to create their own source of local, traditionally brewed beers. The chef regularly cooks, pairs and organises events around these unique beers.

Table d’amis, Kortrijk: Walle 184, 8500 Kortrijk;, www.tabledamis.be
While it’s not known as a beer restaurant by any stretch, this intimate restaurant is located inside the former Brewery Sint-Huybrechts which dates back to 1601. Now it’s a place for pure and sophisticated cuisine and an address for foodies to remember. After being named young chef of Flanders 2013, Matthieu Beudaert earned the restaurant a Michelin star in the same year.

Het Brouwershuys, Bellegem: Bellegemplaats, 2; Bellegem; 0476.50.07.86, www.brouwershuys-bellegem.be
Nathalie and Geoffrey make you feel welcome in their renovated brasserie with a cosy brown pub atmosphere. Here you can enjoy numerous dishes prepared or paired with beers from the pride of Bellegem, Brewery Bockor.

Het Bourgondisch Kruis, Kuurne: Brugsesteenweg 400, 8520 Kuurne;, www.het-bourgondisch-kruis.be
If there’s one word that describes the Belgians it would be ‘Burgundian’. The name of this restaurant reflects their seemingly innate affinity for indulging in earthly pleasures. The Cross of Burgundy stands at attention in this sober interior which features rugged wooden and stone materials, earth tones and a cosy vaulted cellar. Chef David Demey and Kathleen Hostens serve up refined business lunches as well as outstretched tasting menus that include a long list of seasonal delicacies, from langoustine and smoked eel to succulent Simmenthal entrecote and much more.

Where to buy

Dranken Pauwels: Guido Gezellelaan 157  8501 Heule (Kortrijk);, www.drankenpauwels.be
The team at Dranken Pauwels has two zythologists on hand to guide you through an extensive range of more than 500 different beers, plus beer baskets, gifts, tasting kits, etc.

Worth a visit:

Brewery Gulden Spoor: Heulestraat 168, Gullegem; 0497.54.88.80, www.guldenspoor.be/abouten.html

What began as a hobby in a converted barn in 2003 turned into a full-blown brewing operation for brewers Björn Desmadryl and Kim Olievier in 2009. That’s the year the brewery (formerly known as the Brouwkot) got a giant lift thanks to a partnership with restaurant ‘t Rusteel (see above), which now lists the Gulden Spoor range on its menu as house brews. For information about brewery visits, visit the website.

Brewery Alvinne: Vaartstraat 4a, 8552 Moen/Zwevegem; 0496.35.96.19, www.alvinne.be
This innovative little brewery got its start with two homebrewers, Davy Spiessens and Glenn Castelein. Since their expansion from Heule to a larger space in Moen, the West Flemish brewers are the youngest addition to the burgeoning craft beer scene in Belgium.

Brewery Eutropius: Mellestraat 138, 8501 Heule; 0492.31.68.60, www.brouwerij-eutropius.be
A passionate threesome – Alain Debusschere, Bernard Vandamme and Gudrun Vandoorne – took over the old brewery and tasting attic at Alvinne when the latter moved to a larger location. The new artisanal brewery Eutropius is named after the patron saint of the village of Heule. And it seems there is a saint watching over the new initiative as it’s already mustered up quite the reputation among beer aficionados.