Located in a row house in Hemiksem in the province of Antwerp, SELSation is is run by chef Wouter Sels and his wife Sandra. Hence the name. It has nothing to do with salt (‘sel‘ in French).
Sels graduated at the famed Antwerp provincial hotel and catering school PIVA and completed internships with The Jane ** and Hof van Cleve ***.
“My wife and I have transformed a cozy living room restaurant into a new full-fledged gastronomic restaurant”, Sels introduces his restaurant on his website.
France meets Japan
Sels loves Japan and its flavours. He blends it with French cuisine. “What you can expect from us? A journey through France with Japan as final stop. In between we will occasionally stop at the Middle East, to end up in the Far East. As a chef, I will surprise you with combinations from these ‘top’ gastronomic countries.”
“I will take fresh produce to a higher level with great care and passion, and your pallet will be challenged. My wife will also be able to surprise you with her smile and personal welcome that will make you feel immediately welcome. Her hobbyhorse is also the careful selection of matching wines with each new menu With us you are a guest, not a customer”, Sels says.
February – April 2022 menu
Sels changes his menu every two months. We had dinner at the end of February.
As SELSation is a small restaurant – we counted 18 couverts – the set menu is wat ypu get. You can choose between four courses (60 euros), five courses (68 euros) or six courses (76 euros). On Fridays, Saturdays and holidays you can only have the 5-course or 6-course menu.
Wine pairing is possible: 24, 32 or 40 euros respectively.
- appetizer: corvina / chorizo / parmesan / pea / Thai curry;
- intermediate course: salmon / zucchini / tsuyu no moto / horseradish / codium;
- intermediate course 2: skrei / broccoli / shiitake / dashi – truffle / coriander seed;
- main dish: guinea fowl / corn / sukiyaki / miso / sweet soy sauce;
- cheese: assortment of cheeses from cheesemonger Van Tricht;
- dessert: chocolate / mascarpone / sea buckthorn berry / marzipan.
To these six courses, you can add amuses-bouche before the appetizer and petits fours to accompany your coffee or tea.
The ‘France meets Asia‘ speech is no marketing talk. You do get a mix of French culinary practice with flavours from Asia. The appetizer was a clean hit. The corvina (a fish), with the chorizo and the Thai curry are a wonderful, original cocktail of flavours.
Different types of mushroom were a recurring theme, as are the tastes of Asia. The guinea fowl was incredibly tender and the miso paired deliciously with it.
The dishes were and are perfectly executed. The appetizer is memorable. As are the petits fours and especially the ganache tartlet with goldleaf. Yum. They follow up on a desert which ticks my boxes: chocolate and chocolate. That chocolate sauce is a wonder. I’d better not know how the chef prepares it.
If you are well-versed in gastronomy, SELSation will perhaps not blow your mind in terms of originality. But a perfect execution, some surprise and and a very competitive pricing for that level of cuisine make SELsation worth an excursion to Hemiksem if you’re in the general area.
Food, gastronomy and restaurants
- REVIEW | Breakfast at the 5-star superior Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp.
- REVIEW | Dinner at DINS Santi Taura in Palma de Mallorca.
- REVIEW | Restaurant 273 in Utrecht.
- REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
- REVIEW | Carlton President Hotel Utrecht Maarssen ft. Restaurant One24.
- REVIEW | Van Der Valk Hotel Hoorn.
- Afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason in London.
- The German Gymnasium, Kings Cross / St Pancras, London.
- Hoftrammm, the tram dining experience.
- An airline meal for the holidays.
- More than, but also sausages: rich cuisine of Germany’s heartland Saxony, Franconia and Bavaria.
- Bars and drinks package on Majestic Princess.
- Restaurants and food on Majestic Princess.
- Food and drinks on board Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas.
- Comparing Royal Caribbean to MSC Cruises.
- Culinary, food and drinks markets in Antwerp.
- 5 (surprising) hotspots in Stockholm, Sweden.
- 8 food hotspots in Madrid for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- POLAND | 3 hotspots of gastronomy in Kraków.