I headed downtown last night to check out the new Barbeton. This is the latest bar from Frederic Nicolay, who has brought us Belga, Bar du Matin and Potemkine, among others. It’s a cozy, clean space, located on the corner of Rue Dansaert and rue de Rempart des Moines. The wrap around windows and mirrors at the back almost make you feel like you’re sitting outside.
The bar is made of cement (beton in French, hence the name) and there are a few small tables around the edge. The service was great and the barman made me an excellent vodka gimlet. For opening night, they had a 2-for-1 drink special and free tapas, so we had two drinks a piece and a snack for only €14. Sorry for not having any pictures of the interior – I guess you’ll have to go see it for yourself. 🙂
We then walked over to Rue de Flandre for dinner at Le Selecto. With its modern brasserie-style interior and trendy location, I was expecting good things.
The meal started off well enough. We were greeted with a smile, shown to a nice table and promptly offered something to drink. The waitress brought some yummy aubergine dip and bread as an amuse-bouche. We ordered and our starters arrived quickly thereafter. I had the soupe au pistou (vegetable soup with pesto) and my dinner companion (aka the husband) had the Goujonnettes de sole de Zeebruges (fried pieces of sole with salad). Both were lovely.
Then the trouble started. Although the service was well paced up until then, it took nearly 45 minutes for our main course to arrive. And once it did, it was nothing to write home (or blog) about. My dish filet de porcelet (young pork stuffed with bacon, accompanied with aubergine stacked with tomato sauce and parmesan) was just okay. The pork was a little undercooked and a bit tasteless, but the Italian-style aubergine side was better. (Please excuse the bad picture with my phone below). The husband’s dish (filets de rouget) however was terrible – soggy fish with greasy, bland mix of couscous and vegetables.
When the waitress came to clear are plates we made our disappoint clear. She was apologetic, explaining that it was a new menu which was causing some delays and trouble in the kitchen. We didn’t stick around to try dessert so can’t comment there. The one saving grace – they didn’t charge us for the main dishes. The price of a two course menu is €33 but we got away with just paying around €40 for drinks and starters.
It’s a pity, as I had high hopes for this place after reading good thing about it and looking at the menu online. Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time I try some place new. Otherwise I know I’m safe going back to Barbeton for a liquid dinner.