Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for May, 2011

Resto Days at l’Atelier de Michel D

Posted by rachelinbxl on May 15, 2011

The second location I tested in the RestoDays crazy week was l’Atelier de Michel D. The chef, Michel, won a prize as Belgium’s top chef – as described on the webpage (see the end of this blog), so I was excited to try his creations. The location is not-central, kind of out-of-the-way really.. but the place is nice. The kitchen is surrounded in glass, so you can watch the artists at work. Unfortunately I misunderstood the menu pricing and thought that drinks were included in the meal menu (on the restodays site). This was reinforced at the restaurant with the restodays menu being presented with a slide in sheet about the all-in wine, water, coffee at 28 euros (the same as the food). We got a nasty shock at the end of the meal when we discovered that it was 2×28 euros per person. Quite frankly I would not have selected those wines, nor paid 28 euros for them per person. I was shocked at the lack of clarity and it left a rather bitter taste in my mouth. We felt it was rather underhanded dealings and that it was deliberately done. This was perhaps not the case, but I left my review on hold until I calmed down a little. So, here goes:
This restodays menu left no room for choice. The starter was called Salmon canneloni with king crab, asparagus guacamole and acidic apples. This is how it looked.

Starter

Salmon canneloni with king crab, asparagus guacamole and acidic apples

I saw the chef making this slip a slice in his mouth, so I knew it couldn’t be bad. Indeed this was a very good mix. The crab taste was somewhat lost in the asparagus and salmon flavours, but the wasabi mousse on the side was a huge plus point for the salmon. It was served with fresh-out-of-the-oven bread rolls (choice of brown, white or poppy seed). It was all melt-in-your-mouth texture and very refreshing. A good start after the glass of cava and a small mise-en-bouche of gazpacho, a tapenade pastry and an asparagus mousse thing.
The restaurant was busy, and not just with restodays customers. I had the impression that those eating the more expensive menus got priority, but I was enjoying watching the cooking, so we waited patiently for our quail – served with foie gras, roasted asparagus, sweet potatoes and a morel mushroom sauce.

Main

Quail with roast asparagus, foie gras, sweet potatoes etc

There were lots of different flavours on this plate. In fact, too many for my taste. I also didn’t really like the red wine we received with this course. I am not a fan of white asparagus, but this was cooked well and the morel mushroom sauce was rich and meaty. The fried ball of potato and cheese did nothing for me, so I gave it to my dining partner. The spinach was excellent – it had a smokey flavour that was very interesting.  It was not in the meal description and I noticed that diners late r in the evening didn’t get it – I felt glad we had.  The quail was very well cooked but did not have a strong flavour itself. The sweet potatoes were nice, but I just felt the dish didn’t gel together. Nothing really enhanced the flavour of another part.  I ate it pretty separately.

Dessert

Frozen fresh cheese with red fruits

The dessert’s description let it down – it was a highlight. I was expecting just a fresh cheese with fruit sauce – but this cubic creation has a thin layer of meringue at the bottom, then the frozen fromage frais, with a chocolate centre. The two fruit coulis’ were raspberry and mango and the fresh fruits were delicious. This was excellent and a good way to end the meal. The coffee was very welcome – to aid digestion.
Of course, I could have used a large glass of something stronger to help me digest the unexpected bill – but live and learn.
In all, this is not a restaurant I’ll go back to – but if you are looking for something different and daring, and have a large budget for it – then this is a place to test

L’Atelier de Michel D
Place de la vielle halle aux bles
1000 Bruxelles
Food: B
Atmosphere: B
Service: B
Price: C-
Languages: French

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Resto Days at Tour d’Yvoir

Posted by rachelinbxl on May 10, 2011

I spoke about Resto Days last year. The idea is that restaurants (Primarily the expensive ones) offer a 3 course meal at the fixed price of 21 euros for lunch and 28 euros for dinner. This encourages people to test the place, love the food, and go back when its more expensive! I blogged about a trip to Cite du Dragon last October, and this spring I signed up to try 3 different restaurants with 3 different friends. The first was last night, at the Tour d’Yvoir on the Grand Sablon. I actually hadn’t realised that the tower outside this place wasn’t related to the ground floor establishment – which is a sort of serve yourself salad bar with a terrace. The Tour d’Yvoir is actually upstairs. Decorated with art from an affiliated art gallery, it is a beautiful location. On such a lovely day, the only thing I could reproach the cadre for was a lack of outside seating, and even of windows. We were sat at the back of the restaurant and there was no natural lighting.
The service was attentive without being overly intrusive. Every member of staff was incredibly friendly and even when the room got busy, the sound level was perfectly hushed.
So, what do you get for 28 euros in a restaurant where the normal menu is 50??

starter - scallops

Hot and cold scallops

The hot and cold scallops. The starter description had not prepared me for this: the pale white you see amongst the salad leaves is raw scallop – hence the hot and cold scallop salad name. They were marinated in something similar to shiso, a slightly spicy, peppery flavour that went well with the salad and really enhanced the flavour of the shellfish. The cooked scallops were unseasoned, and perfectly cooked. The whole thing was light and enticing – a real appetite opener. We chose an expensive bottle of Chablis to accompany our meal (I took guests from Australia along, so we pushed the boat out). The waiter’s suggestion was impeccable, but then wine should be for 30 euros.  On to the main dish:

Main

Sandre with tagliatelle vegetables

The zander (pike-perch) and tagliatelle vegetables. I had not heard of sandre and had to look up which fish it was. It’s a freshwater fish related to perche and pike. It has a meaty texture and was well prepared. The tagliatelle vegetables meant leeks and carrots cut into fine strips – like tagliatelle. A beautiful idea but leek is challenging to eat in this format, and cutting through the stringy vegetables wasn’t easy either. Perhaps not the best idea. But fun. The sauce was just right – creamy enough to flavour the fish and vegetables but not too heavy or overpowering in flavour. The portion size was just right – I loved this dish. The pause between fish and dessert was also well judged. We were just feeling the need for sweetness.  There were actually two menus available for restodays, but both were listed with Tarte a la Biere as dessert. In fact the one diner who took the pork dish got a duo of chocolate mousse and ice cream instead. He looked a bit disappointed, but actually both were good….

Dessert

Beer Pie

‘beer pie’.. seriously.. tarte a la biere!

The pastry was incredible. Crumbly and buttery, but not overly rich. The filling is similar to sugar pie that is popular in Belgium, but the sugar had clearly been boiled in beer. It was excellent. Adding strawberries was a brilliant way to cut through the excess sweetness. The ice cream wasn’t necessary for me (eating hot and cold things together is a challenge!), but it was pleasant enough. This was a perfect ending to our meal.

All in, this restaurant is well worth a visit.  Not sure I would pay 50 euros to come back, but if they do restodays again, it’ll be on my list. The food was good,  the place pleasant and well situated on the Sablon, the staff were excellent and we had a great evening.

La Tour d’Y Voir
Place du Grand Sablon,
1000 Bruxelles

Food: A
Atmosphere: B
Service: A
Price: A- during resto days!
Languages: French, English

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