We tested the elegant cuisine of the Cécila restaurant in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve

We tested the elegant cuisine of the Cécila restaurant in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve
We tested the elegant cuisine of the Cécila restaurant in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve

It is with undisguised pleasure that we find chef Mélanie Englebin, who has disappeared from the radar since September 2017, when she closed her Brussels restaurant Cécila – a name that pays homage to her mother – located a stone’s throw from the Grand -Place, opened four years earlier…

The 41-year-old chef had nevertheless been elected “Young Chef of the Year 2017” in Brussels, but, cramped in her old address and some personal problems later, she had struggled to find the ideal place to put her knives.

All this time, Englebin was doing consultancy work, training – she followed various modules in baking and pastry making at the Lenôtre school in Paris – and, above all, practicing the tough job of being a chef at home. An experience that allowed him to be in direct contact with the client and to adapt to all circumstances… “I said to myself: the next restaurant will be the one of my dreams! A place with parking, a terrace or a garden, and where the kitchen will be of sufficient size. A project where there are possibilities for development: rooms, a vegetable garden…”

It was at La Villa Monceau, in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, that Mélanie Englebin found the rare pearl. Having become a tenant of this residence with its superb thatched roofs at the end of October 2023, the chef is currently focusing on her kitchen, but plans, in the medium term, to take over the six rooms managed by the owner and to develop, in the concierge service, a laboratory for making bread and pastries.

“It’s sad, people eat their pasta cold because they take photos”

A nice course

A graduate of the provincial hotel school of Namur, it was at Pascal Devalkeneer’s Chalet de la Forêt** in Brussels that Mélanie Englebin cut her teeth. Then, after a stint at Le Gril aux Herbes in Wemmel, she joined Yves Mattagne’s brigade at the Sea Grill**, then at the Radisson Brussels hotel, where she held the position of sous chef for three years.

Then we find her in London where, always attracted by haute cuisine, she works for The Greenhouse or the Atelier de Joël Robuchon, before flying to the Four Seasons Bora Bora in Tahiti, to discover new products from the Wed. A passion that has never left her (see below)…

In this new peaceful environment, in the heart of Walloon Brabant, Mélanie Englebin has returned to work, offering elegant cuisine, where she excels in land-sea dishes. As with this veal nicely combined with gray and dried shrimp for strength, sweet potato for sweetness, and candied lemon for an oriental touch.

“Today, I have an infrastructure that allows me to do better. My cooking is more accomplished, more composed, more refined,” assumes with clairvoyance Mélanie Englebin. We cannot blame him.

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3 avenue du Parc, 1340 Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve. Open in the evening from Wednesday to Saturday, and for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays. At lunchtime, menus at €79 or €105. In the evening, menus at €130 or €165. Vegetarian menu at €105 or €130. Information : www.cecila-restaurant.com.

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