Two of Belgium's most famous foods, waffles and fries, are getting a Michelin-starred makeover.
At Gaufres & Waffles, which opened recently in central Brussels, two Michelin-starred chef Yves Mattagne is swapping waffle toppings from strawberries and cream to lobster and foie gras.
The restaurant is the result of a close collaboration between Mattagne, his son Sebastien, and food industry professionals Michael Chiche and David Ghysels.
On a recent day in early October Gaufres & Waffles' topping menu included beef tartar with watercress, a vegetable alternative with passion fruit and asparagus, lobster and tarragon, and foie gras with coriander and cucumbers.
"So we're not the first ones to do savoury waffles, there's been loads of different versions, but the way we're doing it, we're the first ones," says Sebastien Mattagne.
"After the first week we saw that we had 10 per cent of Belgian people and 90 per cent of tourists. And in the first week there was already 50 different nationalities, so it went pretty quick. So now we must be around 80 different nationalities, there's really people from all over the world.
"We're getting great feedback because it's a different cuisine and people think of waffles as something sweet. They're very astonished when they try it."
While over at Frites Atelier, three Michelin-starred Dutch chef Sergio Herman is busily dusting frites with olive powder and basil. While the chip in Belgium could never be described as humble, here it is getting a luxury upgrade.
The restaurant chain was established in the Netherlands in 2016 by Herman, to elevate frites to the next level. he began with a search for the perfect potato. After a year and a half of research and testing, Herman found his match in the Agria, a variety common in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The next task was to fine-tuning the frying. All Frites Atelier potatoes are steamed, pre-fried and then fried in vegetable oil.
The toppings on offer include carbonnade flammande (a beef stew marinated in beer), parmigiano with olive powder and basil, and Catalan cream with spicy ketchup, aioli, and lemon zest. Customers can also top up their fries with freshly made sauces including truffle, béarnaise or harissa.