Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘Asian’

Japanese Noodles

Posted by rachelinbxl on October 27, 2013

Another interesting eatery has sprung up on a corner of the Flagey square. This is a really good area for choice of food. The Walk in Thai is a great, cheap thai eat-in/takeaway place, there’s Mama Roma’s, Les Super Filles du Tram (burger joint) and Quartier Libre (tapas), as well as Slurps and Dolma for the vegetarians.
The latest addition that we have tested is Unamido. Opened by a Belgian with a penchant for Japanese cuisine, this focuses on Ramen noodles – in their traditional broth. There is a veggie option, but the rest are served with pork neck and half a (perfectly) soft boiled egg. One can choose the addition to the broth – miso paste, soy sauce, spicy miso, pork fat etc. There is also a ‘Ramen of the week’. This was autumnm chestnut yesterday. I stuck to traditional – and went with miso. My friend took soy sauce.

Soy Ramen

Soy Ramen

Both were excellent. The noodles were al dente and freshly prepared. The pork neck is cold and added to the broth like that. There’s a lot of fat in it, but tasty. The egg, as mentioned, was perfectly cooked. Diners get chopsticks and a spoon in order to enjoy the broth and the contents. In addition to the basics, there were mangetout, spring onions and a few leaves of spinach. The broth was not overly salty (though the soy sauce one was clearly more salty than the miso), and well balanced in flavour. The portions were generous without being impossible to finish.

Miso Ramen

Miso Ramen

 

They serve a selection of Japanese beer, as well as hot or cold sake, but we didn’t sample those yesterday. The service was speedy and courteous and completely bilingual (in fact, the waitress and chef were discussing in English). The basic noodles are 13 euros per bowl. There was a lunch menu advertised with 3 gyozas and a bowl of ramen for 12 euros. Shame I can’t get to Flagey for lunch.
The chairs were not particularly comfy – one is not meant to sit and chat all evening. This is a quick eat joint – they do not seem to do takeaway. There was only one dessert option. But with Capoue ice cream next door, do you really need more?

In short – a good stop for Japanese noodles with no fuss. I only didn’t give As because I think it could be cheaper for a quick meal, or more comfy if you are meant to hang out longer. But it goes on my list of reliable places for good food near Flagey. It’s quite a long list..

Unamido
1 Chausee de Vleurgat, near Flagey
1050 Ixelles

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

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Thai food AND massage

Posted by rachelinbxl on June 6, 2013

Well, this post is about gettin the best of both worlds – a Thai massage and thai food – prepared by your masseuse no less!

I discovered Luang Pak Dee spa at the Thai festival held out in Stoekel last year. They had stands from many Thai restaurants across Brussels and cooking demonstrations from chefs. It was a meltingly hot day and we were tired from the trek out there, so we stripped off to test one of the many Thai massage stands. For the same price, the 3 of us got very different massages, but we were all impressed, so I booked for a friend and I to test a full 1 hr massage. The spa is very near the Grand Place, in a somewhat seedy street near the Casino. Inside, you are transported to Thailand with magnificent furniture and decoration. They speak all languages, but none well. The guy upstairs seemed confused that I had booked and had to get someone on the phone. Shortly afterwards, 2 women came running up the street wearing not enough clothes for such a cold day. He took us downstairs to get changed into the supplied massage clothing. I chose traditional Thai massage that is a mix of pressure point and almost chiropractic manipulation and stretching. If you choose aromatherapy with oil, I imagine the massage is conducted without clothing.

In Thai massage, your masseuse gets on the table with you and pulls you into various positions. Neither of them spoke English or French, so we communicated in sign language when she needed me to turn over, to lace my fingers, to resist or go with her motion. The pressure point massage is tough. They really go for it… I almost screamed a few times, but came out feeling like I was walking on new legs! My friend had a similar experience. I prefer focus on the neck and shoulders, where I tend to keep my stress, but I let them do their thing – and they do focus more on the legs, without ignoring any part – they do your head, face, back, arms and hands.

For me, the major advantage of this spa is that it is open on a Sunday. It is 50 euros for a 1hour Thai massage and the reason this is making it onto a restaurant review blog… is that they also run a Thai restaurant nearby. It’s called Thai Talks and is more of a snack bar than a long relaxing sit down dinner…. and our meals were prepared by our masseuses. They clearly had been summoned from there when we arrived and they left before we were dressed… so I am moved to wonder who was cooking during our 1 hour massage – as I saw noone else working there.

I have no photos of our food, as I did not take a camera with me for a massage! I chose the typical Phad Thai noodles – served with 2 giant prawns, chicken, peanut and tamarind. This was delicious, if a little sweet from the tamarind. Not too spicy, and a good serving size. The noodles were well prepared; in short I really liked it. My friend took the red curry with mixed seafood and this was nicely spiced. The seafood came from the freezer (we could watch the preparation, so we know)… but they were good quality. We hesitated on drinks, so our waitress recommended ‘Thai Ice Tea’. This is homemade with longan fruit. It is sweet, with a prune-like flavour. I found it refreshing with the meal and very pleasant. The whole thing was very good value (we paid 30 euros for the two of us). The service was very much ‘leave you to it’. Given the basic language skills, this was optimal.. we were in the back room and could chat comfortably while they chatted to each other (it was quiet time.. we were alone in the resto). We did not wait long if we needed anything, but they didn’t come on check on us. I prefer this sort of service in a snack bar anyway!

It’s not a big place; nor overly comfy. The chairs were basic and the toilet was down a spiral staircase through the kitchen.
I was just amused that you can get authentic Thai massage and cuisine from the same woman in 2 short hours, near the grand place, for a good price. So, I recommend it to you, dear readers.. if you fancy a massage or a thai snack!

Luang Pak Dee
22 rue Duquesnoy, 1000 Bruxelles

English and French spoken at reception, masseuses use ‘sign language!’

Thai Talks
Rue des Pierres 51, 1000 Bruxelles

Food: B
Atmosphere: B
Service: A Very friendly
Price: A
Languages: English of some sort,…?

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Jaipur in Uccle

Posted by rachelinbxl on February 20, 2013

Previous posts will attest to my addiction to Indian food, and my sorrow at finding a poor selection in Brussels (well, I’m a Brit, I have high standards). There is one right near my office that I have never tried, however, and a group of colleagues and I set out to rectify this one Friday. One colleague had already tried it a few times and had been satisfied with the food – nothing amazing…. but good. Reviews on the websites told of very long waits for deliveries, and inaccurate order content. I was rather apprehensive.

We went at lunchtime and were the only people in the restaurant. The greeting was slow to come and very cool. We did not feel welcomed. The menus were haphazard (mine was almost empty, I had to share with my neighbour). They took a long time to come and take our orders and were rather uninformative on the fixed menu of the day (chicken tikka masala according to the blackboard outside). Orders placed, and drinks delivered, we settled down a bit more. We waited almost an hour for food. During this time we saw 2 deliveries leave and pondered calling in our order to see if we could get it faster! When the food finally arrived, it did not all arrive together. One colleague had taken the menu and got her curry but no rice. This took an extra 10 minutes to arrive, so we shared out other rice to compensate. A friend and I were sharing 3 ‘side dishes’ and the last one came so much later, we had finished the first two and most of the naan. No apologies were offered.

Naan bread

Naan bread

All that said.. what about the food. Well, these are the naan. Not bad, but not great.

Aubergine curry

Aubergine curry

This is the aubergine curry we had, which was pleasantly spiced, tomatoey and fresh.

Mushroom curry

Mushroom curry

The mushrooms with curry leaves was a creamy delight – my favourite dish at the table. Nothing was very spicy, most of the sauces were too sweet and the whole meal felt unsatisfying due to the long wait and the lousy service. I’m afraid we did not tip and I will not be going back. Maybe a delivery… but I’ll order 1 hour before I want to eat!

Jaipur
Ave de Fre
1180 Uccle

Food: B-
Atmosphere: C – more atmosphere in a takeaway joint!
Service: D
Price: B
Languages: French, English

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All you can eat Curry

Posted by rachelinbxl on April 15, 2012

I have posted in the past about my difficulty to find satisfactory curry in the ‘Gourmet Capital of Europe’.  See Desperately seeking curry and Indian Welcome.  I had been meaning to try Sawad and Anarkali for a while. This post is about the latter, which was easier to get for for a few friends who decided to join me for curry.

I hear they used to serve a la carte.  It is now exclusively a buffet restauarant. The lunchtime buffet is just 12 euros, and in the evenings it is 18 euros. There is a reduced selection available mid-week for a bit less, I believe, but we were there on a Friday. The 18 euro buffet price includes a dessert and a tea or coffee… beers are 3-4 euros extra, as are lassis. I had a beer, so I can’t comment on the quality of the lassi.
The service was a little patchy. I arrived first of the party and since we hadn’t reserved I went inside to squat a table for 4. The waiter brought me poppadoms and a plate with various dips and chutneys, but didn’t ask if I wanted a drink. 2 more guests arrived and he was still nowhere in sight. The fourth arrived and she hardly got her coat off before he wanted to know what we wanted to drink!

One friend almost immediately spilled his beer over the table, the poppadoms and the chutneys. The waiter could only supply serviettes to clear up the mess, but was decent enough to supply a spare beer. He did not clear away the beer soaked napkins or plates until the end of the meal, however.
While we were on our first tour of the buffet, 4 legs of chicken appeared at the table (no idea which one this was, it was slightly spiced grilled meat). A naan appeared shortly afterwards. It was an excellent naan, hot, buttery and fluffy… but getting another proved to be impossible. Good thing there was plenty of other things to try.
I tested the lady’s fingers (okra): OK, not too spicy.. I’m still not an okra fan
The chicken with mango and pistachio was in a creamy coconut sauce. Tasty, but only in small quantities.
The tikka masala chicken was made with tandoori chicken (breast roasted in a very red marinade. The sauce was a bit liquid and not balanced enough on the various spices for my taste).
The lamb vindaloo was my first attempt at the spiciest curry on the menu. It was spicy. The first mouthful felt fine, the second was still flavourful (though no way to detect the cardamoms that were floating in the sauce and were listed as a prime ingredient), the third mouthful was with lots of sauce.. and I suffered afterwards. Burning lips and throat. Thanks goodness for rice, naan and beers!
The pilau rice with cardamoms was fair, but I was trying to restrict the starch intake to be able to test the curries
The daal was pleasant, not very spicy. The chana (chick pea) curry was also good, with bay leaves. I enjoyed the cold chick pea salad more though – more coriander.
The mixed vegetable curry was not too spicy, but the vegetables were inevitably a little overcooked. The vegetable samosa was a highlight for me. I couldn’t find the pakora/bhajis that were on the menu, which is probably good as I adore those and would probably have truly overeaten!
As it was, after 2 visits to the buffet, we were all sated and couldn’t contemplate trying any more, though there were still flavours left to explore (after the vindaloo, not much was registering though).

We didn’t wait long for him to come and ask if we wanted dessert. I ordered kulfi, and one of the party tried simple ice cream. We all took chai; I checked it was made with milk, but forgot to ask if it was masala chai (spiced) or plain. It turned out to be plain, and made without sugar, rather unusually.. but quite pleasantly less rich after all the food. The kulfi was good.. cardamom and pistachio and a bright green colour. The chocolate ice cream came drowned in cream and with little pieces of the candy that you find in the Indian digestive spices chewing kit – which came with the bill and that I enjoyed. This was the first time I have been served that in Belgium.

All in all, for 21 euros, I felt that the choice and the quality was satisfactory. Next time I am craving curry I may just stick to one flavour! But next time, I may have to test Ashok’s (see below).

I never know how to photograph buffets. Does one walk along, opening each bronze coloured bain marie and photographing the content? Or does one take a picture of a mixed plate and try to identify the mixed content? This time, despite having my camera with me, I opted not to take pictures. Buffets are eaten with the taste buds, not the eyes. No plate with a mix of curries looks appealing. So excuse the lack of photos on this blog.

Anarkali
Rue Longue-Vie 33 – 1050 Brussels
Food: B
Atmosphere: C
Service: B-
Price: B+
Languages: French, English

Cycling back from the japanese supermarket Tagawa today, I went past Ashok’s, which I hadn’t heard of. Another to put on my list of places to test! Perhaps Brussels will make it to a good curry this Brusselicious year!

Posted in Feeling Carnivorous? | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Uccle Punch

Posted by rachelinbxl on April 1, 2012

A guignol is a sort of puppet, a punch character of punch and judy fame. The waitress who welcomed me to this restaurant in a rather out of the way part of uccle reminded me of a puppet show in that she was tiny, but with a large mouth, loud voice and plenty of witty repartee!!
i headed the wrong direction to use the toilets and she informed the chef i was here to make desserts and do the washing up. She asked me if i wanted a drink while i waited for my friend and i answered that i would give him 5 minutes. She came back with “but not 6 right, because then he missed his chance”
But either way the resto is a place with character, and a huge choice of dishes, even before the suggestions.
I went for a risotto with shrimps and mushrooms, which was salty but tasty, with large pre-peeled prawns in it, and my friend for the traditional onglet a l’echalottes, with croquette potatoes.

The meat was definitely only just medium for the cuisson, but the sauce was tasty.
The pinot noir half bottle was overpriced, and rather mediocre. Perhaps a glass of the house red would have been a better budgetary choice. The beer selection is not wide, so wine is definitely more tempting.

For dessert i opted for the tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream, which my friendly judy waitress offered as tarte flambee. I grinned and acquiesced. I wasnt expecting to pay 3 euro extra for the calvados or equivalent that she poured, rather belatedly over the thin pastry and barely caramelised apples, making my ice cream melt rather precipitously. Unimpressed with dessert. My friend’s moelleux au chocolat was ok, but not amazing. Not dark enough in cocoa, perhaps. We didn’t leave a tip.

Le Guignol, Uccle

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

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