Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘Leuven’

All aboard for sushi in Leuven

Posted by rachelinbxl on September 2, 2011

  I think I have mentioned how much I adore sushi. I also used to live in Leuven, a pretty student town just 20 mins outside Brussels North station. Worth a visit, if you’ve never been, and home to my favourite sushi resto in Belgium (so far!) A friend of mine finished her Phd this year and was celebrating her last weekend in Belgium by eating in a few of our favourite places, so this is the 3 person boat from Inari sushi in Leuven. The spicy tuna is amazing – lovely the sesame and coriander dressing. They deep fry (tempura) some of their sushi rolls, as well as doing a roll with tempura shrimp (ebi) inside. The salmon and tuna sashimis are to die for, and the other couple of (unidentified) sashimi were interesting. One was more smoky – the other had a strong flavour and texture that was not really to my taste, but some might like it. There was far too little ginger on the boat, but they provided a large bowl on request, and your green tea is topped up with hot water for free (ask earlier, as it gets strong near the bottom, if like us you are taking a while to demolish the contents of the whole boat!). The service is friendly, the price is very reasonable for the great sushi on offer, and there is a good selection of non-fish dishes for the non-sushi lovers in your group (why, oh why though !)…

Reservation is a good idea. Promise to get back to Brussels cafes and restos soon, but in the mean time ‘Itatakimas!’

Inari Sushi
Parijsstraat 18
Leuven 3000

Food: A+
Atmosphere: B
Service: B+
Price: B
Languages: Dutch, English

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Test all the restos at once!

Posted by rachelinbxl on August 23, 2011

The first weekend in August, Leuven hosts Hapje Tapje – a name meaning small drinks and snacks. Restaurants have stands in the streets and vie to make the best tasty morsel to tempt the passers by. There is even a prize for the best snack.
It has become quite the institution and people go for lunch and dinner, eating at the small tables in the streets, as well as on any green patch of grass. Snacks vary in price from 1-6 euros. Some are hot, some are cold; some are better value for money than others.

The main restaurant stands are in the Muntstraat, the Hogeschoolplein and the small street between the two, as well as the start of the Naamsestraat. Old favourites are Mykene and Kokoon, who always have something interesting to test (this year ZEBRA with wok noodles!)… we also enjoy comparing samosas from all the Indian/Nepali restaurants, though were most disppointed in 2008 when our winning restaurant closed down soon after. EverestBasecamp is also reliable though, and De Werf’s desset buffet is always insanely popular.

The Oude Markt hosts the annual bar man race – which is worth a visit. The winner from last year starts the race, and the bar(wo)man who completes the fastest circuit of the packed Leuven streets with the most beer still in the glasses on their trays is the winner. Some take it more seriously than others – but onlookers certainly have a laugh!
This year, for the first time, the Oude Markt had Hapje Tapje glasses for rent (we kept ours), meaning one could take smaller (cheaper) beers. The selection of beers is always better than for the rest of the year, with some interesting breweries attending. This year we also tested Belgian wine (not so impressive).

I heartily recommend the Hapje Tapje experience to all foreigners – and Leuven is a must see in Belgium anyway!

Hapje Tapje (in dutch)
All over Leuven
First weekend in August each year

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Belgian sophisticate

Posted by Pi on November 13, 2009

Their cold carpaccio of scallops had an exquisite taste, slightly salty and even more slightly sweet, but the roasted salmon really impressed me more. The salmon meat was still tender as if cooked slowly under low heat, and the rich flavor was excellent. It was served with sides of herbed rice with a kind of melted cheesed mixed in. The buttery flavors matched well, and together with the appetizer/entree, wine, and dessert, it made a very good meal (50 euros).

The gimmick had been that we could taste three very different mystery white wines before our first course and choose the one we liked best. Then we did the same for red wines during the main course. It was like a game, as if we had to choose the right one, and for wine connoisseurs it could be interesting. I left the critiquing of complex smoky aromas to the Belgian wine specialists but did my share of tasting, followed by inarticulate commentary.

We had settled on majorities in favor of a French white and Spanish red, although by the end of it we must have had about five times as many glasses on the table than we needed and looked like a bunch of drunks. I’m not sure that it matched the warm and elegant atmosphere that surrounded us, with its wooden plank walls full of Belgian and Congolese art, but in the end it had been a good night there, which ultimately was most important.

Jules Vandembemptlaan 6a, Heverlee

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

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Good Greek in Leuven

Posted by Pi on September 27, 2009

The relatively new Greek restaurant Zita over in Flemish Brabant had romanced me with its roasted lamb chops and spiced orzo platter (20 euros), but it was the service that really won my heart.

Considering that the fried calamari (13 euros) was nothing special, and that the orzo seemed too run-of-the-mill and a little too salty, the lamb easily was the second-best part of the experience.  Those chops were cooked perfectly for me, tender and full of that deep, unique flavor that only lamb can have.  Maybe authenticity is not the primary goal of the place, but the food was good anyway.

If the menu was secondary, then the very best part was our waitress, who rolled with the punches of serving a large table of guests and brought out all sorts of dishes for us with an unusual proficiency and laid-back humor that I can appreciate.  She was an education student at the local university, so I suppose that’s no surprise.  Her future colleagues will be lucky.

Tiensesteenweg 347, Kessel-lo

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

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Don’t eat this eel

Posted by Pi on April 15, 2009

I thought I should let you know: I tasted the eel with green herbs (~24 euros) over at a Greek restaurant in Leuven, and for the record if you go there, don’t get it.  I’m used to fried eel from some Chinese places without the prickly spine and with much stronger flavor.  What “green herb” was it, too?  I suppose the enormous eel spine should have gotten me more worried, but a meal sopping with that much green stuff shouldn’t taste so bland.  At least it wasn’t marijauna.

The mixed grilled meat plate was much better.  They had tons of other great options, too, which you could order while sitting on their immensely peaceful backyard stone terrace.  Oh well.  Live and learn.

Munstraat 44, Leuven

Languages: Dutch, English

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