Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for February, 2010

The good, the bad and the… sushi near the Bourse

Posted by rachelinbxl on February 28, 2010

I am a sushi fanatic. I adore it, and hate the price they charge in Belgium. Take me back to Paris Montparnasse… sigh

The Inari in the Parijsstraat in Leuven is fantastic, but that is a long way to go to satisfy my cravings, so Djazia and I loosened our belts and out wallets and set out to try 3 sushi restos near the Bourse.

We started with Kabuki, beside the Casino. Because it has a sushi belt, so we could just select a few small items and then make a run for it. We were there early, so it was quiet and the trains (yes, trains) running round the conveyor were not all full. The salmon sashimi was excellent – really good melt-in-the-mouth fish. But we took the only plate on the train, and another was not placed on it in the 30mins we sat there. We tried 2 special rolls, one with rocket wrapped around the outside of the rice, which was very interesting, but rather overpriced for the quantity of fish, and one with herbs on top, that was also pleasant. The tea was hot and fairly good. Moan: the ginger was not on the small plates, so we asked for it separately. Advantage: she brought a huge plate of it! 4 small plates and almost 20 euros down, we moved on to…

Anata. This is indeed the BAD sushi place on Blvd Anspach. The staff were not welcoming and the downstairs is cramped. We were at least seated right next to where the sushi was being prepared. The waitress was very shocked that we only wanted to order two small items a la carte. But she allowed it However: the tuna nigiri were only tolerable and the salmon futomaki… well, this is the first time I have left sushi on the plate. The rice was too cold, and the fish was not of the best quality. They had also added a leaf (I believe its called shiso), that is extremely bitter. It was wrapped around the salmon inside the rice, so even removing it left the taste on the rest of the roll. Neither of us could finish it. We didnt even bother to try their tea, but had to hope that the next place would be better…

The third and final sushi place near the Bourse that we tried was called Sakura. Cherry blossom. After Anata, the atmosphere was calm and welcoming. The one waiter was very polite and the other customers definitely of a different genre. He didn’t blink an eye at us only wanting to order the tuna nigiri and their tempura roll. The nigiri had a thin slice of fish, unfortunately; but it was good. The rice was also much much better. The tempura roll was excellent. There were small pieces of puffed rice distributed within the roll and the fried ebi in the middle was really good. We were so pleased that despite being full we asked for a mix of sashimi. They dont have this on the menu (you can only order by 10 pieces) but he was willing to do half tuna and half salmon. We savoured this with the excellent tea that Sakura makes. It approaches Genmaicha, with rice in the tea, but is not as strong. I should have thought to ask which tea it was. Only disadvantage was that it came in a cup, not a pot! This restaurant had the nicest atmosphere of the ones we tried, with the sushi chef doing his thing near the door, and the hot food cooking going on behind screens at the back. The waiter was Malaysian, very sweet and friendly. I will be going back!

Kiekenmarkt 32

Food: B
Price: C
Atmosphere: B
Languages: French, English, probably Chinese

Boulvard Anspach 74

Food: D
Price: B
Atmosphere: C
Languages: French

Rue du Pont de La Carpe

Food: B+
Price: B
Atmosphere: B+
Languages: French, English

Posted in Tourist Traps | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Passing time at the Horloge du Sud

Posted by rachelinbxl on February 23, 2010

A friend and I have been looking for a good African restaurant in Brussels to replace Isimbi that moved out of Leuven. Kokob and the equally good House of Labilela (Leuven) are good Ethiopian places but we were looking for a more eclectic mix. An internet search revealed Horloge du Sud as a good place to start testing. On the corner of Chaussee de Wavre and Ave du Trone, it is well placed. The large clock on the facade makes it easy to spot. The inside looks a bit too much like a bar, certainly when we arrived early at 1920! But, the staff were incredibly friendly and the food smelt amazing from the minute we entered.

We tried the pastelles starter (we ordered vegetarian but got a meat version). We had to check it didn’t contain pork for my friend, and from then on we were teased by the waiter about things containing pork and alcohol! We also had the soup of the day, which was a creamy broccoli number. Nice, but not very african!

So far so good, except that the service IS slow. This didnt bother us as we were enjoying people watching and guessing which of the other yummy options on the menu our fellow diners had ordered.

So for the mains, we had the lamb cooked in cocoa, and the fish stew with seafood in coconut milk. The sides are not included, so we tested the fried plantains and the couscous made from manioc root. The lamb and its tomatoey-sauce was really good. The meat was stewed into submission and the sauce had bay leaves, star aniseed and cocoa in it. If we were to add one criticism it would be that it was slightly too salty.

My fish and seafood dish was mainly fish, with 2 shrimps added; but it was excellent. The coconut milk was rich and delicately spiced (we think turmeric mainly). The manioc couscous was interesting (a slight lemon flavour, perhaps?), but the fried plantains weren’t quite hot enough. We stil thoroughly enjoyed both dishes though.

For dessert we tried the mango creme brulee with the ‘Green Rooibos’ tea. The creme brulee was actually sans mangue… which we pointed out to our good-natured waiter and he was amused. Definitely not a resto that takes itself too seriously 😉 The tea was excellent. Not at all green; in fact very dark for a rooibos. A delightful grassy flavour behind the normal rooibos sweetness. We also recommend their mango juice and their pissap (hibiscus juice). Next time I try their cocktail with Baobab juice!

Troonstraat 141, 1050 Elsene

Food: B+
Price: B
Atmosphere: A
Languages: French, maybe others…

Posted in Chill Corner | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The magic shrooms of St. Gilles

Posted by Pi on February 21, 2010

The regularly changing niche menu at Café des Spores may be a little pricey, but mushroom-lovers should gladly foot the bill once in a while.  We tasted Belgian shitake mushrooms stuffed with beef and lined with wispy flakes of a dried fish (~14 euros), which for me was easily the best dish of the night.  I adore these rich types of black mushrooms, and all the salty and dark flavors here combined so well.

Then there was the semi-melted Saint-Marcellin cheese with morels and a crusty potato underside (~13 euros).  This tasted good, too, but the cheese and sauce pretty much killed any taste of the mushrooms, so I was disappointed.

Lastly we tried a gnocchi, made with blended fish — la bottarga — and mixed with arugula/roquette, and forest mushrooms (~15 euros).  This one had a very gentle flavor, so we should have eaten this first.  Unfortunately it got kind of drowned out by all the cheese, butter, and soy sauce of the earlier dishes.

At least the wine collection can easily accommodate the shifting menu.

Portions are small, like the building, so don’t be surprised.

Café des Spores
Chaussée d’Alsemberg 103, St. Gilles

Food: B+
Price: C
Atmosphere: A
Languages: French, English

Posted in Hot List | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

New Contender in the Burger Wars

Posted by Pi on February 11, 2010

I just had my first Schievelavabo XXL burger with salad and fries (~11 euros) over at Place Jourdan, and given the location, atmosphere, price, quantity, and, of course, flavor, I’d say I just found a new burger joint in Brussels.

The thick double beef patties were stacked on top of each other, with a mustard sauce on top, and although the meat wasn’t as juicy as at Fatboy’s, it still was pretty good, all things considered. Definitely better than the Cheescake Corner or La Terrasse. The place wasn’t so packed during this weeknight dinner hour, and it had the perfect cozy and relaxed atmosphere with which to end the day after the gym. This little chain also has restaurants in Uccle, Forest, and Woluwe, so I wonder how they compare.

Chausee de Wavre 344, Etterbeek

Food: B+
Price: A
Atmosphere: A
Languages: French

Posted in Bang for your Buck, Chill Corner, Drop By, Frite Off!, Home Sweet Home | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »