Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for March, 2010

The Ultimate Atom?

Posted by rachelinbxl on March 23, 2010

29/4/2011 I’m afraid I have to update this post as I ate here again last night with 2 friends and we were bitterly disappointed with the food. The place still has a very good choice of beer and wine, and I love the decor… but we tried the traditional beef carbonnade and though it was good, I have had better – the sauce was very runny… we also had two of the daily specials: swordfish mille feuilles which was served in an awful sweet cinnamon sauce and a very dry portion of gratin dauphinois that was charged extra. My ‘solettes’ (mini soles) in vine leaves and green curry was a sort of cooked sushi rolled in vine leaves rather than nori and served with a heated out of the pot of DL curry sauce (nothing even remotely related to proper green curry!). The desserts were also disappointing – the lemon meringue pie the least so, but the tarte tatin wasn’t half what it was last year and the tiramisu was really poor. Will not be eating here again…. what a shame!

23/03/2010 There have already been posts on l’Ultime Atome here on BiteMeBrussels. In fact, that is why I went. It intrigued me. The place has always caught my eye – its a nice building in a nice area. It’s much bigger inside than it seems from the outside. A positive tardis for food. We arrived for an early saturday lunch; most people were still on their morning coffees, so the waiters were running around with the little Illy cups and there were plenty of tables free for lunch. We didn’t really bother investigating for a good location, just took the nearest table in the non-smoking area. I realised later that this is huge.

The service is good – attentive and fast enough for such a large location. We were served by 3 different girls, but each got everything right.

I chose the lamb glazed with honey and thyme, served with potatoes. Boy was that a good choice. Cooked’a point, I don’t like my lamb too bloody.

Lamb brochetteLamb brochette glazed with honey and thyme, served with oranges, grapefruit, almonds
Gratin dauphinois

The most amazing Gratin dauphinois I have ever tasted

The meat was tender and not too sweet, despite the honey. The idea of adding the oranges and grapefruit to offset the sweetness was good, but I would have appreciated a few vegetables. However, they won me over with the potatoes. There were two ‘portions’. One looked like a slice of tarte tatin, and was just normal potatoes. The other was a true gratin dauphinois, without too much creamy sauce, but with layers of sweet potato in with the normal. Cooked to perfection and truly amazing. I confess I didn’t let my friend try much!

Vegetable linguine with fresh goats cheese

Vegetable linguine with fresh goats cheese

He had the vegetable linguine with fresh goats cheese. It was a huge bowl but he ‘just had to finish it, because it was so good’. A good mix of fresh tomato pieces, mushroom, spring onion, parsley and a light cream did indeed go well with the al dente pasta. A good Belgian edition of an Italian dish.

We shouldn’t have taken dessert too, but since my friend had just driven me to Decathlon and Aveve I decided I owed him dessert too, so I insisted. We couldn’t choose one to share, so we took two to share 😉

Cheesecake

The Ulitmate Cheesecake

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

We chose the Tarte tatin and the speculoos cheesecake. We were not disappointed. The tarte tatin was hot, crispy and melty. It could have had a touch more caramelised butter, but I felt it was better not overdone. The cheesecake was amazing. Speculoos biscuits add a real luxury touch to cheesecake. I wont go back to digestives now. The topping was rich and creamy. It even outdid the tarte francois cheesecake I had at Quartier Libre last week (see previous post). I was impressed. So was my friend. We even wondered about distracting the large number of staff and trying to make off with the entire cheesecake in the fridge by the door. But we resisted.

All in all, for 20 euros per person, an amazing meal. I will be coming back to try the hot chocolate….

L’Ultime Atome
St. Boniface

Food: A-
Atmosphere: A
Price: A-
Service: A-

Languages: French, English

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Quartier Libre – the free area?

Posted by rachelinbxl on March 18, 2010

On the recommendation of a friend, three of us booked a table at the ever popular Quartier Libre. Even on a Wednesday, every table was reserved.

It’s a tapas place, with a rolling menu that was very different from the last time my friend had been.

The principle is simple: at lunchtime, 3 dishes for 9 euros; in the evening, 4 dishes for 14 euros. You get a pad of paper with 16 squares on it, organised by veggie dishes, ‘chefs choice’, ‘starters’ and.. meatier items. You put your name at the top and 4 crosses on the paper. Which items will you pick? Each box contains just one word, and the full descriptions are on the blackboards on the wall.

Between us we covered a fair part of the selection

My selection of 4

This is my selection: bottom left the shitake mushroom parcel in truffle cream. Then the white fish ravioli in white wine and coriander sauce. The top two are a salad of artichoke and rocket, and a spring roll with chicken. My favourite was the shitake parcel. The crunchy dough was a delicious offset to the soft mushrooms. The cream was, well, rich and creamy. The only problem was that there was only 1 parcel! The ravioli was good. The fish was bland, but well matched with a white wine and coriander sauce. The fresh pasta was al dente. Very good. The artichoke salad was perhaps the biggest disappointment – the artichoke hearts were good, but they were served with simple tomatoes and mixed leaves, dressed with pine nuts and vinaigrette. I didn’d detect high quanitities of rocket. I felt that this was something I could have prepared simply at home, with a can of artichokes. It was a nice balance to my creamy dishes, but not as outstanding in its flavours. The spring roll was good, but the sauce on it was a little sweet to my taste.

Antje's dishes

These are the pumpkin and ginger soup, the salmon and goats cheese roulade, the potato gratin (with reblochon) and the chicken drumstick. The soup was nice and gingery –  a good warming soup, though this was just about the first day of the year when we didnt need this in Brussels. The potato gratin was another highlight. Really excellent potatoes with the rich reblochon cheese. MMMM. The chicken came off the bone easily and went well with its olive dressing. The salmon roll was perhaps not the best match to these flavours, but in itself was a nice starter.

Carpaccio

The chicken carpaccio was intriguing. We were slightly worried that it would be raw, and our waitress actually checked with the chef for us, and laughed that he thought she was crazy to ask! It was smoked, of course, and was very pleasant.

Another delightful discovery in this friendly place, with very good service, was their attitude to wine. We were hesistating on whether to order by the glass or take a bottle. Our waitress said that we could order the bottle and just pay for what we drank. I’m sure that this generally means that most people finish the bottle, but with only 2 of us drinking, we most certainly did not. And come the bill, indeed we only paid for the half bottle we had drunk. Fantastic! Tapas in every sense of the idea… even for the wine. A little of everything gives you just enough!

Quartier Libre’s chefs do not prepare desserts, but there is a dessert menu. They are bought from Tarte Francois, a place that really deserves a blog entry in itself. We had the cheesecake, which was so good I started eating before I remembered to take a photo.

It was excellent, as are all cakes from Tartes Francois.

All in all, I highly recommend Quartier Libre. There are two in Brussels, though the other is only open at midday. You should always book ahead.

Quartier Libre

Rue Lesbroussart, 16, Brussels 1050, Belgium

Food: A-
Atmosphere: A
Price: A-
Service: A
Languages: French, English

Posted in Chill Corner, Drop By | 3 Comments »

BMB is on a fact-finding mission

Posted by Pi on March 17, 2010

A portion of the staff of the Bite Me Brussels blog is on a culinary research assignment outside Belgium until August 2010.  We will be logging some foods in other parts of the world that we’d also like to have in the cozy heart of Europe.  If we are to lobby the capital properly for the foods we want, we need our supporting data!  Follow the pictures at our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bite-Me-Brussels/69742516288

Brussels food will still be posted here as usual from our other contributors.  Thanks for reading, fellow expat Bruxellois!

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