Tuesday, October 9, 2018 — Autumn is off to a flying start at Drohme Park with the opening of Le Pesage! For its design, Drohme CEO Michel Culot brought on interior designer Lionel Jadot, who has transformed this unique space through recycling and the circular economy. The choice of bright colours and its industrial interior help to make Le Pesage a uniquely fun, festive, and friendly place. Le Pesage is a creative dining experience built around slow, savoury Spanish-style barbecue, which gives the dishes a colourful, spicy touch. Le Pesage is just one more reason to come (re)discover Drohme, a park that grows more appealing every day!
A new reason to visit Drohme
With its 32 hectares of nature preserve at the edge of the Sonian Forest, Drohme has a plan for the Uccle-Boitsfort Hippodrome site: to develop a new kind of resort, showcasing the natural setting and architectural heritage, where people of all ages can be as active – or as leisurely – as they like.
Drohme is a living park, steeped in history and built for all kinds of gatherings.
Le Pesage is an integral part of the new lease on life that Drohme was given in 2014.
For the record, Le Pesage (“Weighing”) takes its name from its original use. It’s the building in which the jockeys were weighed, in uniform and holding their saddle. In fact, to give everyone the same odds on the racetrack, the lightest jockeys would have to be weighted down!
The restoration of Le Pesage as a creative restaurant space is an important step in the Park’s future. In addition to the culinary experience and the friendly atmosphere, dining at Le Pesage is the perfect opportunity to (re)discover this magnificent location so prized by walkers, horseback riders, families, cyclists, and golfers.
Lionel Jabot’s choice
For more than a century, the Uccle-Boitsfort Hippodrome played a major social and recreational role in Brussels. The end of horse-racing in 1995 spelled the end of that era.
After their golden age in the ’50s, racetracks lost their appeal, and, little by little, the venue fell into disrepair before sinking into abandonment. The Le Pesage structure, built in 1900 by architect François Kips, suffered the ravages of time, along with the rest of the site.
In 2017, it was totally renovated by the Urban Development Corporation (SAU), and just needed a kick-off to begin its new life.
Drohme CEO Michel Culot wanted to develop a strong project in Le Pesage: a one-of-a-kind creative, urban, family-oriented gathering place. Le Pesage also had to reflect Drohme’s values, based on a respect for nature, togetherness, and an absence of barriers of any kind. The obvious choice for interior design was Lionel Jadot, a wizard of ambience.
Lionel Jadot is well known for his many creations, including the Jam Hotel, the new coworking centre Silversquare, and the Paris restaurant Rural.
Jadot, who defines himself as a self-taught utopian, works by feel. His guiding motto? Try everything, mix it up, question it all!
Faithful to his convictions, he has designed the space with his unmistakable DNA, through recycling and the circular economy. Le Pesage gives off a special energy thanks to Lionel’s radical leanings: he has showcased the raw materials already in place, refusing to plaster over the walls, choosing bright colours, and working like a real craftsman, generous with the artistic touches, and drawing heavily on antique and rummage sales to find everything that plays a part in the décor. Nothing in Le Pesage is from a catalogue! This highly personal approach creates a disruptive, warm, energizing, and playful setting for visitors.
At the restaurant’s helm are Lionel’s sister Sandrine Jadot and her son Charlie Delval. By happy coincidence, Sandrine was a skilled equestrian in her youth and a regular at the racetrack, so it has a special place in her heart.
Both Sandrine and Charlie have substantial experience in the restaurant world, having launched venues that have energized Brussels (Odette en Ville and Chalet Robinson come to mind). Now they have brought their family magic to inventive dishes that emphasize the product, preserving its nutritional qualities while focusing on taste. It’s quite a challenge, and they have met it with gusto, with a slow-and-low approach to cooking enhanced by Spanish-style barbecue, giving the dishes generous colour and flavour. Special attention is given to products with short supply chains, like Boitsfort honey, or with the element of surprise, like ketchup from Namur!
And vegetables are not forgotten: the barbecue’s also great for cooking vegetables on a special board called a plancha.
The restaurant’s concept also includes sharing the food. Everything is set on the table, a bit like the Indonesian dish rijsttafel. Diners serve themselves from a multitude of platters and a range of highly varied flavours, inspiring culinary discovery and conversation.
Very soon, there will be a “non-stop” snack format between lunch and dinner service. And children will get their own menu, plus ice cream and crêpes.
Following the Le Pesage opening, the park’s development is moving along with the permit process.
In anticipation of the park being fully operational in 2020, Drohme is bringing in more and more visitors, who are drawn by the gradually restored racetrack, the Drohme Golf Club and its restaurant, and the many excursions and activities offered on the premises.
Le Pesage is open from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Closed on Monday, Tuesday evening and Sunday evening. No afternoon service as yet.
Address: 51 Chaussée de la Hulpe – 1180 Uccle
Tel: 02 242 81 38