Fine dining in lockdown times

One of the advantages of the lockdown was high cuisine take-away...
All of the restaurants had to close mid-March but the usual suspects kept on doing delivery or take-out. In Leuven we are blessed with a few dozen sushi places, kebab, Mexican, pizza, ... So if we were too afraid to go to the supermarket to fill our empty, or we were just lazy to cook and used the excuse that we had to support local businesses, we could still order in food as we've always done.   It felt so nice that some part of the world continued as always. It felt a reassurance that food could just be delivered at your doorstep  (good to know if we'd really get contaminated and even be banned from all stores).   But the Uber Eats or Deliveroo's of Leuven usually deliver just the day-to-day food.

When in April it became clear that the lockdown wasn't over yet for the restaurants, all of a sudden we noticed many of the top level restaurants reopen partially for take-away menu's. 
Obviously the fine dining experiences with all the pampering and the feeling of getting out of it for a moment is missing. Of course the feeling is not the same if you are eating at your same old dining table as always.  Yet fine dining at home sure also has its perks: no babysit to be arranged, no designated driver needed, no transport time, ... And so we've profited from this a few times during the 3 months of lock down. 


The first time was still a take-away from a seafood bar in Leuven early on but that proposed a really cool brunch box for Easter. Now that all family visit was forbidden, we took this opportunity to make Easter a little more festive and different from the day before and the day after that we'd also spend in our house. 

We ate it in our garden in the glorious hot weather we had at Easter (and most of the lockdown period) and we felt indeed a festive and spoiled.

Somewhere in May, the closest top-restaurant in our neighbourhood reopened with a take-away menu on the weekend upon reservation and I felt we had to support the initiative. Now that we are not going anywhere and therefore not spending our money on trips, we can spend it a little elsewhere. 

For a really fair price you get a 3 dishes menu that is easy to prepare at home. The instructions (including some serving tips) come along with the menu.  It was easy to make...therefore a little less sophisticated as a menu would be in the restaurant, but it tasted really well. 

In the mean time they've reopened (with reduced capacity as all restaurants) so I'm glad to see that until now they keep the take-away option going for another while.

Cum Laude by the Faculty Club

Inspired by the continuous stream of nice food pictures by my Leuven foody friend Yab, I continued to look out for fine restaurants in the neighbourhood and who was doing what.  After all, these fine dining options are not collected in an overview of some Uber Eats page. You must go and visit the individual restaurant pages to see what is offered.

When our anniversary was coming up, it seemed like the excellent opportunity to get a fine meal from the restaurant where we got married. We do not tend to celebrate lot at birthdays of anniversaries and we've somehow not done anything special at all previous year when we hit the 10 years-married milestone because we were travelling through Canada. So I decided to make it up with the best I could offer in a lockdown: a virtual return to our wedding location and get ourselves spoiled by the Faculty Club again. 

The pick-up of food took place in style with the waiter all dressed up (and classy facial mask).  The food did not only come with instructions to prepare (all easy to do again...(un)fortunately the take-away menu's don't have fancy preperation/serving options) but also with a personalised menu card to decorate the table with. 

From what I can see also Cum Laude is continuing the take-away menu alongside their open restaurant. They even added a BBQ box option recently.


While fine dining remains expensive and is not to be done frequently, it is so nice to spoil yourself now and then. Top take-away menu's are a great way to escape the lockdown and even in post lockdown periods they have advantages. They do not offer the same experience as going out for dinner but to me they have a lower threshold to decide and do. So I hope that the restaurants have had a positive experience with them and will continue combining them with their open restaurant as they seem to be still doing now in the short run after re-opening on reduced capacity.


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