Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Posts Tagged ‘wine’

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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The magic shrooms of St. Gilles

Posted by pieguybxl on February 21, 2010

The regularly changing niche menu at Café des Spores may be a little pricey, but mushroom-lovers should gladly foot the bill once in a while.  We tasted Belgian shitake mushrooms stuffed with beef and lined with wispy flakes of a dried fish (~14 euros), which for me was easily the best dish of the night.  I adore these rich types of black mushrooms, and all the salty and dark flavors here combined so well.

Then there was the semi-melted Saint-Marcellin cheese with morels and a crusty potato underside (~13 euros).  This tasted good, too, but the cheese and sauce pretty much killed any taste of the mushrooms, so I was disappointed.

Lastly we tried a gnocchi, made with blended fish — la bottarga — and mixed with arugula/roquette, and forest mushrooms (~15 euros).  This one had a very gentle flavor, so we should have eaten this first.  Unfortunately it got kind of drowned out by all the cheese, butter, and soy sauce of the earlier dishes.

At least the wine collection can easily accommodate the shifting menu.

Portions are small, like the building, so don’t be surprised.

Café des Spores
Chaussée d’Alsemberg 103, St. Gilles

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

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Belgian sophisticate

Posted by pieguybxl 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.

Voltaire
Jules Vandembemptlaan 6a, Heverlee

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

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Scallops with cheese and honey and irritating service

Posted by pieguybxl 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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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BelgoBelge
Rue de la Paix, Brussels

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

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Beer by the pitcher

Posted by pieguybxl on March 29, 2009

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Foreigners who want a full pitcher of beer in Brussels may be hard-pressed to find one, but at least you can always do it at Belga.  Maybe we just aren’t as classy as Belgians and their individual bottles, but who cares?  Sometimes you just want a lot of beer for everyone.

This popular large cafe at Flagey in Ixelles recently went non-smoking, too, which also adds to its appeal.  The pitchers make the place that much more familiar.  Though sometimes crowded, it doesn’t get hot.  Like most bars, at night the music gets turned up, so talk louder or just start dancing.

Café Belga
Eugène Flageyplein 18

Atmosphere: A, non-smoking

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