Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘chic’

Resto Days at Jaloa

Posted by rachelinbxl on October 10, 2012

I spoke about Resto Days last year and the year before. 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! After a particularly bad experience last year where we misunderstood the wine menu price, we were less enthusiastic this year, but Jaloa had spaces left at the last minute, so I seized the chance to try this seafood place at St Catherine. The fixed restodays menu did not leave room for choices:

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Wild duck and goose liver carpaccio, baby spinach and hazelnut oil
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Seared albacore tuna, vegetable spaghetti, fresh herb potato puffs, soy and yuzu (Asian citrus fruit) vinaigrette
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Crepe Suzette (thin pancake flambéed with orange liqueur) and vanilla ice cream

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but the whole thing sounded fantastic. We dripped in from the rain and were welcomed rather brusquely. Other tables had their coats taken – we did not. But we got a nice round table where we could view the bar and see the guy outside opening oysters. A table near us had a tower of shellfish that they were attacking, which was fascinating but I didn’t dare to take pictures, sorry.
We went for the house red – liver needs red and the tuna could handle it – because we all prefer red and because the house wine was the only affordable bottle on the menu. It was a Cab Sav from Carcassone that was rather light before food, but handled both dishes tolerably. I’m sure the waiter could have picked out a better option but if the meal is 28€, I object to spending more than that on the drinks!

Liver carpaccio, spinach, hazelnut oil

The first course arrived fairly quickly and was an excellent starter. The liver was beautifully prepared and I loved the delicate hazelnut flavour. The fresh bread went well with it and we polished it off quickly. Our mistake, as we had to wait a while for the main course. We saw other tables get theirs, and knew they had been waiting a while. Luckily we couldn’t drink too much while waiting as the bottles of wine are stored at a table where only the waiters can access them – so he restrained us by not serving more – unlike the overzealous habit of some to keep topping up your wine, which can get very annoying. We had control of our bottle of water, which was the wiser choice.

Tuna, Potato puffs and vegetable spaghetti

The main dish was fantastic. The tuna was char grilled and had a light smoky taste. The vegetable spaghetti was a mix of carrot, bean-sprout, green and yellow courgettes and had a very light spicy kick. The yuzu sauce was perhaps light on taste, and the beetroot painted decoration on one diner’s plate was so thin and hard that he couldn’t test it; the potato-herb puffs were fried in truffle oil – which was a very strong flavour (certainly more than the potato or herb), but went well with the smoky tuna. We each argued over what was our favourite part of the melange of tastes. It was a superb plate of food, and a good serving size. Once we had finished we were allowed to have the wine bottle on our table to decide who got the last few mouthfuls.

Crepes Suzette

After this I could have done with a longer break before dessert arrived, but the crepes were served fairly rapidly. They were cold, not too sweet, with a pleasant orange after-taste. The ice cream wasn’t anything special.
The restaurant was definitely emptying out (10pm on a Monday) when we got the bill. Nobody wished us goodbye until we got outside, where our waiter was on a cigarette break, explaining the calm inside. All in all an excellent meal, and Jaloa will be on my list of places to take people who offer to buy me dinner!

Brasserie Jaloa
Place St Catherine 5-7,
1000 Bruxelles

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

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Resto Days at the 830

Posted by rachelinbxl on October 10, 2011

RestoDays are here again. This time my kitchen is being replaced, so I cannot cook myself, so it seemed the ideal moment to have Sunday lunch. So I was looking for something not too far away, and something fairly traditional. I found le 830. It’s quite far out in Uccle on the Chaussee de Waterloo. I guess the tram 7 to near Bascule would be the easiest Stib connection. Or the 38 bus. I went by bike, but arrived rather damp. The ambiance is cosy – there is an open fire, large mirrors that increase the impression of space, but the walls are covered in drawings and caricatures that I think have been drawn by guests for the owner/chef. Some are very good! All are interesting. The location is old – as their website explains and all food is prepared fresh from natural ingredients.

l'ambiance
The resto days menu started with wild boar terrine, served with onion jam and some cranberries. In fact we also received an appetiser of black and white boudin (cold) and fresh bread.. but I didn’t photograph that. It was not bad, but I’m not a real boudin fan. The terrine was good – there was a lot of it. One slice would have been enough for me! I couldn’t tell it was boar – but it would certainly have needed to be high quality pork to give so much taste. The onion jam was excellent and married well with the flavours.

I checked later and found that this was entitled Filet de bar, puree Alexandre et coulis de potiron. So we have a filet of perch served with Alexander potatoes (this is mash with endive and onion caramelised on top) and a pumpkin sauce. The fish was excellent. Cooked to a crunchy skin and piping hot. This is the firs time I have managed to ingest endive. I really hate the bitter aftertaste of this adored Belgian vegetable, but with caramelised surface and sweet onion to offset the taste, it went well with the creamy mashed potatoes and was quite edible! I made the mistake of eating a particularly large piece last, however, and really regretted that. Luckily I could eat a parsley leaf to take away the after taste!
The pumpkin sauce didn’t have a strong flavour, but added colour to the presentation. The whole dish was a pleasure, but I did wonder if a stronger sauce would have added even more!
Main dish

The dessert took a long time coming – in fact the table nearby complained as they had ordered one for their daughter along with their coffees and they were waiting to leave! But it is clearly cooked fresh. I took a photo having taken a spoonful to show how the raspberry heart fell out of the fondant chocolate case. This was a beautiful dessert. Thankfully small, as we were very full by this point, not too sweet (especially the chocolate part), and deliciously decadent. I would go back just for another one of these!
Dessert

So the menu was good, how about the service? It was not the best, but not the worst. Each table in this restaurant has a small stand with a button to press for service (and to cancel the call). This was not necessary for the restodays menu. Each dish came a good 20 minutes after the previous one, which is fine when you need time for the previous one to settle and leave space to appreciate the next. After dessert, however, the restaurant was getting empty and no one came back to check on us at all! I ended up ringing the bell to get coffees (truly lovely decaf, most unusual!), and the girl appeared immediately. No bad feelings that I had rung at all.
The water and beer we had had with dinner were pricy (4 euros and 4.50 respectively), but this still brought our dinner up to less than the usual 29 euros for 3 course menu of the month (which was very similar to the resto days menu, but hey!).
A place to recommend if you are in the area – quality food, prepared fresh and a nice place to sit on a cold autumn day!

Le 830 (watch out it plays a video! and is generally a very poor website)
Chaussee de Waterloo 830
1180 Uccle

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

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Resto Days at Millesime

Posted by rachelinbxl on July 10, 2011

Ooops, I forgot to finish this post and put it online. My third resto days experience was at Millesime in Ixelles. The restaurant is lovely inside, most unexpected. The service was good, but not better than that. I forgot to photograph my starter – which was an excellent carpaccio of salmon and scallops, somehow rolled together and sliced thinly. It was a small plate, but very rich in flavour and I was glad my fellow diner could help me out. We then both took the dorade, which was a good piece of fish, well cooked and well presented with its simple potatoes and vegetables.


Main dish

Dorade


This went well with the wine we had (a half bottle that was almost the price of a full bottle but definitely better quality – I’ve now forgotten what it was called).
There was a welcome break before dessert where I had the duo of dark and milk chocolate mousse that was pleasant but ‘sans plus’. It was also quite rich and I wasn’t really in the mood for it. My friend had the bavarois which was fluffy and fresh and she was happy.

Dessert

Chocolate mousse

Bavarois

We checked the normal menu prices and it’s not exorbitant. It’s pricey, but a place I’d recommend for a chic evening out – maybe if your boss is paying?
Millesime
Rue Eugene Cattoir
Ixelles

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

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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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