Humus refers to the fertile soil in the undergrowth. It is especially project of Caroline and Nicolas. In 2012, the couple launched a table d’hôtes concept at their home offering a unique 100% plant-based menu, made with local products and served with natural wines.
Hortense was the first high-level cocktail bar in Brussels, founded by Matthieu Chaumont.
In 2016, the two worlds came together in the current location, to launch Humus x hortense a year later, with the idea of combining a tasting menu with quality cocktails.
Chef Nicolas Decloedt learned the trade in the best restaurants in Europe. He links his love for the rich Belgian culinary tradition with sustainable choices, botanical research and wildlife harvesting. With his photographer’s eye, he makes an artistic composition of each plate.
Caroline Baerten started out as an art historian, then trained at the Ter Duinen hotel school in Koksijde. She is also a nutritionist and WSET certified sommelier. Her artistic side is expressed in the design and the ceramic service, which she makes exclusively for Humus x hortense.
Together with botanist-gardener Dries Delanote and scientific researcher Maxime Willems, the kitchen and bartender teams investigate the properties of plant varieties. Between the kitchen and the dining room, it is teamwork, always striving for the highest quality.
Humus x hortense defends the principles of sustainability from field to plate: regenerative and biodynamic agriculture, zero waste cocktails, botanical gastronomy …
Its mission is to show that gastronomy can be sustainable and plant-based, and to contribute to a healthier and more benevolent world for humans and the planet.
The cocktail bar plays an essential role in the sustainable philosophy and the zero-waste approach. Unused herbs and vegetables survive in herbal teas and fermentations. The farmer-botanist, the mixologist and the Chef work together to link the cocktails on the tasting menu to seasonal ingredients.
This philosophy is also reflected in the decoration of the place since the furniture is custom-made by artists from the region and Caroline creates exclusive ceramic plates for the restaurant.
On the menu
The restaurant offers two menus: The ‘pure tasting menu’ is a 100% plant-based menu available with 9 courses. The ‘wild tasting menu’ is also a 9-course tasting menu, including vegan and vegetarian dishes. Vegetarian dishes can be perfectly adapted in a 100% vegan version.
Each week, the Chef creates a new dish for the tasting menu, favouring local and seasonal products. The vegetables come from their organic market gardener Monde des Mille Couleurs (Dries Delanote), the flours come from Flieter Molen and L’Epeautre d’Ardenne, the nuts and dried fruits from Migino (Peter Derycke), to name a few.
Award-winning botanical cuisine
Humus x hortense is renewed at the rate of 24 micro seasons and a botanical cuisine in search of the best quality, with love for nature and in close collaboration with Belgian producers.
For this effort, Humus x hortense was awarded 3 toques by Good Food.org, the highest distinction for a sustainable restaurant (see Sustainability Report).
In 2019, Nicolas Decloedt was elected ‘Best Vegetable Chef’ by the culinary guide Gault & Millau with a score of 15/20. The restaurant also received the award for ‘Best Vegan Restaurant in the World’ and is ranked 7th in the top 100 best vegetable restaurants by We’re Smart Green Guide.
Translated by Malvika Kathpal