Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for February, 2012

Japanese supermarket near Flagey

Posted by rachelinbxl on February 26, 2012

** Update April 2012 ** Due to overwhelming requests the supermarket has changed its name back to Tagawa and put the old sign back up outside.. so don’t look for Nagomi anymore! I went back today to test Black Sesame as well as Green Tea ice creams (both chilling in the freezer). I explored upstairs -which is far roomier than downstairs and found yuzu marmelade! Also tried the yuzu and green tea financier selection – EXCELLENT!

In a post from 2009, Pieguybxl gave you an overview of the Kam Yuen supermarket near the Bourse, which for a long time has been my go-to location for all things for my Thai curry, Japanese sushi attempts and also indian curries. I love browsing the selection of utensils nd china at the back, the unknown products in the freezers, the tea, the spices, the fresh vegetables. I love the fact that it is open on Sundays!

But, for the Japanese side of things, I have finally found a competitor! On google maps it shows up as Tagawa, but when you are on Chaussee de Vleurgat, you find Nagomi. It looks like the entrance to a garage, or interior hall, but just keep going towards the back and you will find this tiny, often busy, supermarket. Nearer the street entrance there is also a small tea/china shop with beautiful Japanese imports also.

But Nagomi is a Japanese store, with an in-house sushi slicer! You can order your fish by phone, saying whether you want it for nigiri or maki, and he will prepare the fish. They also have pre-made sushi on site, as well as seaweed salads, sake, and the amazing Belgo-Japanese collaboration OWA beer. Try it! It’s a very good beer! They stock ingredients for far more than just sushi though. I was just passing through, to see what they had so didn’t have time to explore all the freezers and the recipe section upstairs. I will be back for a tub of the black sesame ice cream however!!! Our visiting Japanese researcher swears by this shop, and I think I may become a fan too!

Chaussée de Vleurgat 119
1000 Bruxelles

02 648 59 11

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Kung Fu Noodles

Posted by rachelinbxl on February 25, 2012

There is a cheap eatery right in the heart of Brussels, that is NOT fries! It’s called Au Bon Bol and it’s down the street to the right of The Meridian hotel opposite the Bourse. Just before the giant Asian supermarket (worth a look in if you want to try and prepare this at home). You can often see them preparing the noodles in the window, stretching, spinning and bouncing them into shape. These are tossed, briefly, into hot water and then served in a steaming bowl of broth, topped with either pork, beef, vegetables or prawns. They can also be made spicy, but there is Sriracha sauce on the tables, so you can also choose your own level of pain (I mean spice).

However, last time I tried to go there the small, cramped, of uncertain health and safety standards, eatery was closed for refurbishment. There was a sign on the door saying ‘Kung Fu’ served the same noodles. Well, this is on the square of the Bourse itself.  Next to the Cirio (almost).  Certainly next to the Grand Cafe. I hadn’t noticed this place before, so maybe it’s a new branch. It is quite clean and spacy inside, compared to the ‘original’ and serves the same quick bowl of noodles.

Shown here is the veggie version – which is more generous on veggies than the meat version is on meat. It’s also the cheapest at 10 euros. This is an entire meal! You can choose to go with chopsticks or cutlery. Serviettes are on the tables, the toilets are quite decent and the service is efficient, if not exactly friendly.

My friend tried the stir fried noodles with chicken, which were more generous with chicken, but slightly more expensive. Still decent value for money near the Bourse though… really! Fresh, hand made noodles, open almost all day, you can get chinese beer, or tea, or soft drinks. A good place for a warm up snack, a sit down and a toilet stop.

Au Bon Bol, Paul Devauxstraat / Kung Fu, Rue de la Bourse

Bourse, 1000 Bruxelles

Food: B
Atmosphere: B
Service: C
Price: A
Languages: French, Chinese

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Cellars and lofts in Ixelles

Posted by rachelinbxl on February 11, 2012

My Christmas present to myself this year was 2 books on Belgian beer. The first – Best of Belgian beers and where to drink them in Belgium… the second, 100 Belgian Beers to Try Before You Die!!
A rather dramatic title.. but gives the highlights in each category of beer, and doesn’t just focus on Westvleteren 12 (tried it, it’s good.. but so is Watou, St Bernadus and others from the area with similar recipes 😉
BUT.. as usual.. these ‘best beers’ are not on tap (or even in bottle) at most of the bars in Brussels. Moeder Lambic and Delirium are well known, and rightly so.. but rather popular.. and one needs a change now and again. So, when a friend suggested we test L’Atlier in Ixelles which has 150 beers on the menu, I was all for it! It’s near the Roffian tram stop, so easy enough to get to (and home from, as most of the Beers To Try Be4 you Die are strong enough to kick a few years off your life, certainly if you try to cycle home in the snowy February weather we are having)…. so off we went. It happened to be a Thursday, and in Ixelles near the university, this means lots of students. This meant the bar was busy.. but be warned that it still LOOKS closed. In fact, you could walk past without really realising there is a bar in Rue Elise. It’s got a sign out, but the door looks like a garage door, and the friend I was meeting actually called to say it was closed and was surprised when I said I was inside! Just push!
The permanent beer list is sorted by category and alphabetically. There are also black boards with specials. The service is fairly slow on a busy night, and the beers do not all come in their own special glass (somewhat sacriligeous in Belgium), but the choice is wide and I could tick two more of the list of 100 I must try (now up to 31 of them). The bar is cosy enough, in the typical hard wooden stool and table Belgian style; the toilets are down some steep stairs. Worth a try for the beer lover in Ixelles. Beer makes you hungry, however… and just round the corner we found a pleasant resto to test.
L’Atelier
Elizastraat 77, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium
Beer: A
Atmosphere: B
Service: B
Price: B+
Languages: French, English

Le Grenier d’Elvire has a very French feel to it – the curtains to keep the cold out, the menu, wine by the glass. The prices are a bit above normal for Brussels, but fair given the portions. My companion took the cheeseburger and fries. Apologies for the quality of the image – I only had my mobile phone with me, not the real camera.
Cheeseburger and fries
This was polished off in double quick time, so I didn’t get to test.. but the meat was not overcooked, but not bloody, and there was a good portion of fries.
Goats Cheese Salad
My goats cheese salad was a little light on the actual green leaves, but very tasty with the lardons, honey vinagrette and the toasted cheese on bread. The service was fast and friendly. When we arrived, it was empty, but by the time we had finished it was definitely filling up – clearly a popular address in the area. Maybe I should pop back and see if they make a good tartiflette. It was on the menu.. but I couldn’t quite face it after 2 beers!
Le Grenier d’Elvire
Chaussée de Boondael 339/A, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium
Food: B
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Price: B
Languages: French, English

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