Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

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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