Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘Saint Boniface’

African sunshine

Posted by rachelinbxl on August 11, 2013

One of my favourite places to eat in the summer is the Matonge. This area, near St Boniface, is full of life, character(s). warmth. good food and cheap beer. Their spicy chicken wings get your fingers sticky and you can smell Africa even the next day. The terraces are heated. You share long tables with other diners and everyone is enjoying themselves. Once Brussels jazz kicks off, I have to go to the Matonge for my dose. My boyfriend would go every week if he could.
I won’t pick out one particular restaurant, as “rue de la longue vie” has many and they intermingle. They all serve chicken with onions or peanut sauce, mafe and spicy dip. They also all have tilapia (a fish that is fantastic grilled), goat, plantains, rice. samosas (vegetarian or not) and giant bottles of jupiler served at the table with tiny little glasses. The tables out on the terraces have boxes of tissues to clean your fingers and bowls of insanely hot red chili sauce.
The food is not haute cuisine… and one cannot really go and sit there alone and expect to be left alone.. but everyone is friendly, the food is never bad (though the plantains have been very dry on occasion). Food is cheap. the company is good and you come home feeling warmer just for having been there. Try a mixed plate that features samosas, chicken wings, plantains, rice and peanut sauce (at last testing not very peanutty)….

Tilapia,  plaintain and some leaves

Tilapia, plaintain and some leaves

Their opening hours are indiscernible. Whenever the weather suits eating on a terrace… and they are busy from 12 noon through to 12 midnight!

Anywhere in the Matonge, especially Rue de la Longue Vie
1050 Ixelles
Food: B (varies down to C if you are unlucky)
Atmosphere: A
Service: B Friendly but disinterested.. but that’s OK!
Price: A
Languages: English  and French, or a sort of mix

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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.

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!

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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

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The Ultimate Atom?

Posted by rachelinbxl on March 23, 2010

29/4/2011 I’m afraid I have to update this post as I ate here again last night with 2 friends and we were bitterly disappointed with the food. The place still has a very good choice of beer and wine, and I love the decor… but we tried the traditional beef carbonnade and though it was good, I have had better – the sauce was very runny… we also had two of the daily specials: swordfish mille feuilles which was served in an awful sweet cinnamon sauce and a very dry portion of gratin dauphinois that was charged extra. My ‘solettes’ (mini soles) in vine leaves and green curry was a sort of cooked sushi rolled in vine leaves rather than nori and served with a heated out of the pot of DL curry sauce (nothing even remotely related to proper green curry!). The desserts were also disappointing – the lemon meringue pie the least so, but the tarte tatin wasn’t half what it was last year and the tiramisu was really poor. Will not be eating here again…. what a shame!

23/03/2010 There have already been posts on l’Ultime Atome here on BiteMeBrussels. In fact, that is why I went. It intrigued me. The place has always caught my eye – its a nice building in a nice area. It’s much bigger inside than it seems from the outside. A positive tardis for food. We arrived for an early saturday lunch; most people were still on their morning coffees, so the waiters were running around with the little Illy cups and there were plenty of tables free for lunch. We didn’t really bother investigating for a good location, just took the nearest table in the non-smoking area. I realised later that this is huge.

The service is good – attentive and fast enough for such a large location. We were served by 3 different girls, but each got everything right.

I chose the lamb glazed with honey and thyme, served with potatoes. Boy was that a good choice. Cooked’a point, I don’t like my lamb too bloody.

Lamb brochetteLamb brochette glazed with honey and thyme, served with oranges, grapefruit, almonds
Gratin dauphinois

The most amazing Gratin dauphinois I have ever tasted

The meat was tender and not too sweet, despite the honey. The idea of adding the oranges and grapefruit to offset the sweetness was good, but I would have appreciated a few vegetables. However, they won me over with the potatoes. There were two ‘portions’. One looked like a slice of tarte tatin, and was just normal potatoes. The other was a true gratin dauphinois, without too much creamy sauce, but with layers of sweet potato in with the normal. Cooked to perfection and truly amazing. I confess I didn’t let my friend try much!

Vegetable linguine with fresh goats cheese

Vegetable linguine with fresh goats cheese

He had the vegetable linguine with fresh goats cheese. It was a huge bowl but he ‘just had to finish it, because it was so good’. A good mix of fresh tomato pieces, mushroom, spring onion, parsley and a light cream did indeed go well with the al dente pasta. A good Belgian edition of an Italian dish.

We shouldn’t have taken dessert too, but since my friend had just driven me to Decathlon and Aveve I decided I owed him dessert too, so I insisted. We couldn’t choose one to share, so we took two to share 😉


The Ulitmate Cheesecake

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

We chose the Tarte tatin and the speculoos cheesecake. We were not disappointed. The tarte tatin was hot, crispy and melty. It could have had a touch more caramelised butter, but I felt it was better not overdone. The cheesecake was amazing. Speculoos biscuits add a real luxury touch to cheesecake. I wont go back to digestives now. The topping was rich and creamy. It even outdid the tarte francois cheesecake I had at Quartier Libre last week (see previous post). I was impressed. So was my friend. We even wondered about distracting the large number of staff and trying to make off with the entire cheesecake in the fridge by the door. But we resisted.

All in all, for 20 euros per person, an amazing meal. I will be coming back to try the hot chocolate….

L’Ultime Atome
St. Boniface

Food: A-
Atmosphere: A
Price: A-
Service: A-

Languages: French, English

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Scallops with cheese and honey and irritating service

Posted by Pi on November 1, 2009

These were scallops, goat cheese, honey, and some type of salad with a sweet and sour vinaigrette (~13 euros), with everything except the salad served up steaming hot out on the cold terrace of BelgoBelge on St. Boniface.  Interesting flavors, but not really what I was expecting since the scallops must have been about the same dimensions of a two-euro coin, while loads of melted cheese oozed out from underneath.  For a small but rich snack, though, it satisfied me:


Unfortunately there were lots of service problems here, as we were served two plates of food that weren’t ours.  At least there were mussels:


Also one of the red wines was listed on the white wine menu, apparently.  Not being wine connoiseurs, we didn’t know this until what we ordered to go with the mussels came out:


But in the end, food is food, even when it’s good and not great, so of course it got eaten despite the very, very late l’addition.


Rue de la Paix, Brussels

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

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