Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘italian’

Wine and dine in the Marolles

Posted by rachelinbxl on June 29, 2013

This Bite Me Brussels contributor is a big fan of beer and wine, as well as good food. Of course, this is also due to the delightful way wine and beer can complement food. I joined a Meetup group that goes wine tasting twice a month, and my first attendance was a delightful discovery.
I already like the Marolles area of Brussels, below the Palais de Justice, really just two parallel streets of antique shops, the giant flea market and vintage shops that spring up around it, endless brunch possibilities and it’s open on Sundays. What’s not to like?
But I have never been there in the evening during the week.
So, Wednesday evening in the Marolles, this Meetup took 20 wine fans to the relatively new ‘Studio 126’. This opened in March 2013 and is run by a lovely Belgian-English-Italian couple. He is an oenologist and makes his own wine (in italy). He takes care of the wine side of the shop. She is an interior designer, hence the lovely wall painting, and takes care of the ‘knick-knacks’ side of the shop.

Our oenologist and the lovely interior design of Studio 126

Our oenologist and the lovely interior design of Studio 126

The wine selection is modest, but well chosen for variety and price range. It is not exclusively Italian, but does concentrate on Italian wines.
There offer tasting by the glass on a selection of bottles (price varies according to the price of the bottle). They also have Italian charcuterie and cheeses to go with the wines (all excellent in their own right, and hard to get hold of in Belgium).
So.. one can drop by for some excellent council in Italian grape varieties, styles, regions and flavours… taste a glass … try some Italian treats, and maybe buy a bottle for later.
Every other Friday evening, they serve an Italian aperitif, with a dish and a glass of wine at a fixed price. They also offer 3 small tables during the weekend and serve pasta or risotto, again with wine. The offerings are typically Italian, so you might want to call and check if you don’t want to try squid or intestines.

In short, I went to a wine tasting and discovered a place that I want to go for a Friday night apero, or a Sunday meal! Guests are welcomed as friends and the mix of wine and interior design makes for a lovely setting to discover some sunshine in a glass. Really necessary this June in Belgium!

My favourite of those sampled

My favourite of those sampled

Studio 126
Rue Blaes 126, 1000 Bruxelles (in the Marolles area)

Food: not yet tested
Wine: excellent
Atmosphere: A
Service: A  very friendly and knowledgeable
Price: B
Languages: French, Italian, English, a little Dutch

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Bite Me in Rome

Posted by rachelinbxl on October 3, 2012

Rachelinbxl has been quiet of late – lots of travelling and not much time to test restaurants in Brussels. Have mainly eaten in old favourites with visiting friends. So, I decided to add a restaurant from Rome. Bite Me does this sometimes on our travels, but this is my first posting from abroad. I’ll spare you the delights of Indian cuisine that I sampled on a recent trip and stick to something you might get to try.

We discovered, quite by accident, in the back streets of Rome, a Mozzarella bar. Intrigued by what this could mean we scrutinised the menu while it was closed and decided to come back when it was open. You can try various types of this AOC cheese (i.e. it must be made in a certain place).
I like mozzarella – on pizza, or in a salad with tomato and basil – but it doesn’t have a strong taste. Of course, we get the not-so-good stuff. Here, at the bar, one can choose from the milky white balls, each in separate tanks – like selecting a fish or a lobster in a seafood restaurant! They list the options as:
Paestum (delicate taste)
Pontina (strong taste)
Affumicata (naturally smoked)
Burrata (deliciously creamy)
If you want a tasting menu you can have two. We went for Pontina and Affumicata. We chose to have freshly made focaccia with it rather than a simple bread basket. Also known as pizza bianca, this was the best focaccia I have ever tasted – with rosemary and flakes of sea salt in its crisp, thin layers. Not spongy and thick like focaccia in Belgium!
The waiter was a little bit useless – forgot what we ordered to drink and got very confused, but he could at least advise us to start with the Pontina and then try the smoked. They come on a bed of young spinach and cherry tomatoes with a few (rather poor) black olives – but I wouldn’t call this a salad! The dish was easily enough for 2 to share however, as the cheese is very filling.

Focaccia (pizza bianca) and Mozzarella


I loved the pontina. So much flavour in such a fresh cheese! It was so good we didn’t try the olive oil or balsamic vinegar available on the table. Once we did, we couldn’t stop with those either. The quality is totally different, superior even to most of the olive oils I have had in Italy.
The smoked was totally different – overpowering and more sickly. I was glad I only had to eat half. I also enjoyed it, but half was enough. My friend preferred this one…
We didn’t have space for dessert and at lunchtime on such a hot day we didn’t sample their excellent selection of Italian wines. I looked up where the one in London is, for my next trip ‘home’. I intend to buy a bottle of that excellent olive oil, when I don’t have Ryanair hand luggage restrictions holding me back!

Obika has branches in Italy, New York, Tokyo, Istanbul but also now in London and soon – who knows where!
Obika, Rome
Food: A
Atmosphere: B (street bar in Rome – can’t guarantee they are all the same)
Service: B
Price: B (pricey for cheese and bread)
Languages: Italian, English

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Positive Pasta Tastings

Posted by Pi on May 3, 2010

Does Le Patty Pâtes suck?  That was the controversy, as I had heard from multiple sources quite different opinions on the food.  Since fresh pasta is hard to come by, especially in Brussels, we finally went there for lunch the other day to add our vote.

First came the homemade “Nina” plate (~15 euros), with basically a bolognese and mozzarella.  This was one of the few dishes without a cream sauce, too, if you care about that.  When I got the plate, I was skeptical, but the relatively simple dish really impressed me.  I loved the meaty and flavorful sauce — although it was slightly saltier than in other places, this perfectly complemented the fresh and filling tagliatelle underneath when mixed together.

Then there was a chicken-and-mushrooms dish over the same type of pasta, with bits of ham.  Although my friend thought it was delicious, in the end he found it a bit heavy from the cream and couldn’t finish everything.  Of course, if it were gluttonous me, I probably would’ve eaten it all.

Apparently the place gets packed by 1pm on most afternoons, and it’s not open for dinner all the time, so getting a place may be difficult.  However, if you get the chance, I recommend trying it, as I enjoyed the meal.  The fresh pasta mainly sells the place, and the dense flavor of my tagliatelle definitely was better than in the average Brussels pasta bar.

However, the contradictory reviews I had heard beforehand suggests that eating here could be a risk, as the experience might not be consistent, and some may find nothing special about it.  Maybe the inconsistency is just a reflection of hand-made food in general?   Pasta fans should go there and find out.

Le Patty Pâtes
10, Rue Ernest Solvay, Ixelles

Food: A
Service: A-
Atmosphere: A
Price: A-
Languages: French, maybe English

Posted in Drop By, Hot List, Pretty Pictures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gelato limone

Posted by Pi on May 14, 2009

Venezia1

Sorry for the hiatus, folks, but we expats take vacation on a Belgian schedule, too, sometimes.  Before we come back, take a look at this great cone of creamy lemon ice cream I tasted recently over in Venice, something very different from all the icier sorbets and sherberts I’ve had in the past.  Excellent stuff.

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Carbonara pizza

Posted by Pi on May 4, 2009

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Simply delicious.  An egg baked directly into a hot pizza full Parmesan cheese and bacon really hits the spot, especially when in the middle of Venice.  It was a masterpiece of flavor painted into the dough, and the rich yolk in the center completed it.

Does Mamma Roma’s have this sometimes?

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